The Quartieri Spagnoli or Spanish Quarter is the area of tufo paved streets running uphill to the west of Via Toledo.
It was built in the sixteenth century to house the Spanish garrison of soldiers whose job it was to keep the local population down. Almost immediately it became an area associated with prostitution and criminality.
In more recent times it has suffered from high unemployment, poverty and criminality and Camorra control.
As you might imagine, the Neapolitan language is stronger in this working class neighbourhood than anywhere else. Those classic postcard shots of washing hanging across the streets were all taken here.
It’s definitely an edgier area than others but in my opinion the biggest danger in the daytime is being flattened by a Valentino Rossi wannabe on a speeding scooter.
That aside, it’s one of my favourite neighbourhoods for just walking around and soaking up the atmosphere.
I love all the old shop fronts from yesteryear.
Please see my separate post on shrines in the Spanish Quarter.
There are several trattorias where you can get real Neapolitan home cooking for next to nothing (reviews here).