This study aimed at assessing the quality of urban soils by integrating chemical and ecotoxicological approaches. Soils from five sites in downtown Naples, Italy, were sampled and characterized for physical-chemical properties and total and water-extractable metal concentrations. Bioassays with Eisenia andrei, Enchytraeus crypticus and Folsomia candida were performed to assess toxicity of the soils, using survival, reproduction and growth as the endpoints. Metal bioaccumulation in the animals was also measured. The properties and metal concentrations of the soils strongly differed. Metal bioaccumulation was related with total metal concentrations in soil and was highest in E. crypticus, which was more sensitive than E. andrei and F. candida. Responses of the three species to the investigated soils seemed due to both metal contamination and soil properties. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.