Napoli

The city of Naples leaves you speechless.

What contributes to this fascination, which is difficult to summarise between the lines of an article, is not only the quantity of monuments and places of interest, the result of complex historical events, but the atmosphere one breathes in every alley, square, street of the city.

It is difficult to describe that mixture of theatrality, chaos and vital energy in which one is immersed as soon as one begins to explore its places: it is something absolutely unique, which one has to experience at least once in a lifetime.

In this article, we will try to take you by the hand to discover the beautiful city of Naples.

πŸ“£ We warn you: we do not pretend to be exhaustive.

There are so many things to see that thirty pages would probably not be enough to describe everything that is absolutely worth a visit. And if we wanted to add anecdotes, curiosities, traditions, famous people and traditional cuisine to the tourist attractions, the pages would reach at least ninety.

We will, however, try to take you to the most significant places, dividing the city into eight zones: each time, we will point out the ‘must-see’ monument and other attractions that you decide to visit according to the time you have available.

By the end of this article, you will have a clearer idea of the stages of your itinerary, whether you are planning a half-day getaway or an overnight stay in Naples for several days.

Ready? Let’s get going now!

How to get to Naples

If you are departing from other parts of Italy, you can reach the city of Naples either by plane or train.

βœ… From Naples station, you can proceed on foot through Piazza Garibaldi and Corso Umberto (the area commonly known as the ‘rettifilo’). Alternatively, you can use the ANM buses: in this regard, we recommend the R2 line, which from Piazza Garibaldi crosses Corso Umberto, via Duomo, via Medina and reaches Piazza Trieste e Trento.

It is impossible not to mention the Naples Metro: line 1 takes you to via Duomo, via Toledo, Piazza Dante and Piazza Museo, line 6 links the Fuorigrotta district with Mergellina.

πŸ“£ A curiosity about the Naples Metro

Don’t miss the Stations of Art, designed by internationally renowned architects. The most beautiful are found along Line 1. The most famous is at the Toledo stop, designed by Oscar Tusquets Blanca. Here you will also find a light installation along the escalators: a blue sky dotted with bright stars shining over the heads of passing travellers.

If you prefer, you can travel in one of the many taxis you will find at the station exit.

βœ… If you are travelling by plane, from Capodichino International Airport, you can take the ALIBUS shuttle bus to the city centre.

Alternatively, in addition to the taxi, you can travel in a collective taxi: you will recognise it because it says ‘Collective Taxi’ on the front windscreen. The fare per person is around €6 and includes luggage.

βœ… If you are departing from the Amalfi Coast, you must first reach the city of Salerno.

To do this, you have two options: you can either travel on board the SITA SUD buses, which leave approximately every hour from Amalfi and stop at all the towns along the Coast, or, from April to November, you can take advantage of Travelmar’s ferry services. The ferries leave from Amalfi, Minori, Maiori, Cetara and Vietri sul Mare and allow you to reach the city of Salerno more quickly, enjoying all the pleasure of travelling by sea.

Bypass the traffic, embrace the sea! Reserve your ticket

From Salerno, you can take one of the many trains (Regional, Intercity, High Speed), which will allow you to reach the city of Naples in a maximum of 50-60 minutes. For value for money, we recommend the Intercity: in about 40-50 minutes you can reach Naples spending very few euros.

Alternatively, from Via Vinciprova you can take the SITA SUD bus to Naples: in this case, the journey takes no more than an hour. If you want to explore the city straight away, we recommend the stop after the station: the one on Via Marina, from which you can immediately reach the historic heart of the city.

βœ… If you leave from Sorrento, the Circumvesuviana will take you to your destination in about 60/70 minutes. By hydrofoil, on the other hand, you leave from Marina Piccola and arrive at Molo Beverello in Naples in about 40 minutes.

If Naples is only part of a longer journey, which also includes a stop on the Amalfi Coast, we recommend downloading our free guide ‘How to get around the Amalfi Coast without stress’, with lots of valuable tips for getting around the various destinations and places of interest with ease.

Where to sleep in Napoli

Book your hotel now!

B&B

Maschio Angioino Suite

Napoli – Via Guglielmo Melisurgo
8.9
Fabulous –
1201 reviews
Hotel

Relais Della Porta

Napoli – Via Toledo 368
9.2
Superb –
1475 reviews
Apartments

Casa Pacifico Napoli

Napoli – Carbonara 20
9.3
Superb –
887 reviews
B&B

Dante Maison de Prestige

Napoli – Via Tarsia 64
9.3
Superb –
540 reviews
Apartments

Casa Napoletana

Napoli – Piazza Dante 89
9.5
Exceptional –
30 reviews
Hotel

Vomero High Hotel

Napoli – Via Privata Imperatrice G.7
9.0
Superb –
271 reviews

What to see in Naples

As we told you in the introduction to this article on Naples, we will proceed by dividing the city into eight areas.

Our aim is to provide you with a guide that allows you to decide for yourself where to start from and what to visit, depending on the time you have available.

We know: it’s not easy to choose between so many things to see!

For this reason, we will point out the most important monument and quickly list the other attractions you can visit in that specific area.

When composing your itinerary, take into account a few tasteful stops: the city of Naples is teeming with kiosks, pastry shops, stalls and places offering tasty and, in our opinion, unmissable street food.

So, don’t create a packed list of sights to visit: aim instead at the quality of the time you spend, while also thinking about enjoying the special atmosphere and energy you breathe here.

βœ… Plan at least one stop for a good coffee and sfogliatella, one for lunch to enjoy a pizza or a fried calzone stuffed with ricotta and cicoli, and a few moments of pure contemplation, among the alleys, streets and squares.

βœ… Be warned that you will find many street vendors and numerous picturesque characters who will try to sell you something, but don’t be intimidated by all the things they say about Naples: the rule of common sense is valid, as in any city in the world.

So, simply pay attention to your personal belongings: avoid putting your wallet, phone and tablet in your backpack, prefer a shoulder bag, make sure it is securely closed and avoid travelling with a lot of cash on you.

In short, we would like to make it clear that you are not risking robbery or being kidnapped, but that you simply have to pay due attention, just as you should when exploring the cities of Rome or Milan.

Having made our recommendations, let’s get on with exploring Naples

πŸ“ Zone 1: Piazza Garibaldi – Corso Umberto

A few steps from Piazza Garibaldi, you will see Castel Capuano, built in 1154, but enlarged and modernised over the centuries. From the courtyard, you can enter to visit the first floor, where the Cappella della Sommaria is located, and the Salone dei Busti, which will impress you with its vaults and ceiling frescoed in the 16th century by Pietro Roviale.

In this area, you can also easily reach Porta Capuana, with its two towers of Honour and Virtue.

The walk to Porta Nolana is very picturesque: walking up Corso Garibaldi, you reach Piazza Guglielmo Pepe and the ‘Fuori le mura’ market. From here continue along Via Carmignano and then reach Piazza Nolana, where the gate of the same name stands, bordered by two towers.

πŸ“£ Proceeding from Piazza Garibaldi to Corso Umberto, we also recommend visiting the following churches:

πŸ”Ήβ€‹β€‹ The Church of Santa Caterina, near Porta Capuana

πŸ”Ήβ€‹ The Church of San Giovanni a Carbonana, one of the most beautiful in Naples

πŸ”Ήβ€‹β€‹ The Church of San Pietro ad Aram, which you will find immediately coming from Piazza Garibaldi and entering Corso Umberto

πŸ”Ήβ€‹ The Church of the Annunziata

πŸ”Ήβ€‹β€‹ The Church of Santa Maria Egiziaca dell’Olmo

πŸ“ Zone Two: Piazza Nicola Amore and surroundings

Proceeding from Piazza Garibaldi and taking Corso Umberto, you reach Piazza Nicola Amore: you will recognise it by the four 19th-century buildings that frame it.

In this area, you can also admire the Fountain of Neptune: it is located in Piazza Bovio and was created in the 17th century by Domenico Fontana.

Proceeding along Corso Umberto, towards Via Mezzocannone, you will also come across the Palazzo dell’UniversitΓ  Federico II, an outstanding building constructed in the late 19th and early 20th century. Incorporated into the University building is the Chiesa del GesΓΉ Vecchio (Church of the Old Jesus).

Proceeding straight ahead, you will also come across the following churches:

πŸ”Ή ​Church of Saints Marcellinus and Festus

πŸ”Ήβ€‹ Church of Santa Maria Incoronata, in Via Medina

πŸ”Ήβ€‹ Church of Incoronatella, a few steps from the previous one

πŸ”Ή Church of Santa Maria la Nova

πŸ”Ήβ€‹ Church of San Diego

πŸ“ Zone Three: Piazza Municipio and Piazza del Plebiscito

The first thing you notice in Piazza Municipio is the Maschio Angioino (Castel Nuovo): it is located opposite the Beverello dock.

The building was built around the 13th century by Carlo I d’AngiΓ², from whom it takes its name, and was restored two centuries later by Alfonso I of Aragon: the construction of the Triumphal Arch, certainly one of the most artistically interesting elements of the entire building, dates back to this period.

Inside the Castel Nuovo you can visit the Palatine Chapel, the Hall of the Barons and the Civic Museum. A curious detail is the bronze door leading to the Castle, in which a cannon ball is embedded, allegedly fired by the French, who defended the castle from the Spanish invasion.

In Piazza Municipio you can also see Palazzo San Giacomo, a construction dating back to the period of Ferdinand IV and housing the offices of the aldermen and mayor.

Between Piazza Trieste e Trento and the Teatro San Carlo, which we will discuss in a moment, you will find the famous Galleria Umberto, with its neo-Renaissance features. In the centre of the gallery observe the decoration on the floor depicting the signs of the zodiac and a Compass with the cardinal signs. In the Galleria you can also take a short, pleasant break at one of the bars.

Galleria Umberto borders Piazza Trieste e Trento, where you can admire the Immacolatella fountain and the Church of San Ferdinando. Here you will also find CaffΓ¨ Gambrinus, one of the city’s historic bars.

In this area, you cannot miss a visit to the San Carlo Theatre, considered one of the most beautiful theatres in Italy. In this case, we recommend a guided tour, which you can take Monday to Friday from 10.30 to 12.30 and from 14.30 to 16.30. On Sundays, guided tours are only available from 10.30 to 12.30.

πŸ“£ Another unmissable stop is Piazza del Plebiscito, a true open-air salon. Here, you can admire the Basilica of San Francesco di Paola on one side and the majestic Royal Palace on the other, another mandatory stop on your itinerary.

Inside this majestic building, you will walk through arcades, courtyards and gardens that will take you to the spaces once occupied by the court and officials of Charles of Bourbon, who made it his official seat in 1734.

The most interesting rooms are undoubtedly

πŸ”Ή the Court Theatre,

πŸ”Ή the Central Salon,

πŸ”Ή the Throne Room

πŸ”Ή the Hercules Room, which together with numerous other rooms of the Royal Apartment form a true museum.

πŸ“£ The visit, between interior and exterior rooms, lasts about an hour.

Due to the large number of visitors, we advise you to book your visit to the Royal Palace in advance, otherwise you may have to wait several hours before you can access the tour.

The building is open for visits from 9am to 8pm, except on Wednesdays.

πŸ“ Zone Four – Piazza Mercato, Via Foria and Via Duomo

The famous anti-Spanish uprisings took place in Piazza Mercato.

The Church of Santa Maria del Carmine, with its slender and imposing bell tower, overlooks the square. The building was built in the 12th century and restored in the 14th century. We recommend you enter to admire the interior, rich in polychrome marble and works of art, such as the Monument to Corradino di Svevia, who was beheaded in Piazza Mercato at the hands of Charles I of Anjou.

πŸ“£ Other monuments to visit in the area

πŸ”Ήβ€‹ Church of Sant’Eligio Maggiore

πŸ”Ήβ€‹ Church of San Severino and Sossio

πŸ”Ήβ€‹ Pendino Fountain, adornment of the Piazzetta del Grande Archivio

πŸ”Ήβ€‹ Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli alle Croci

πŸ”Ήβ€‹ Church of San Carlo all’Arena

πŸ”Ήβ€‹ Porta San Gennaro, in Piazza Cavour, which for years was the only access to the city from the northern side.

πŸ”Ήβ€‹ Church of the Holy Apostles

πŸ”Ήβ€‹ Church of the Girolamini

πŸ”Ήβ€‹ Church of Santa Maria di Donnaregina

πŸ”Ήβ€‹ Church of San Giuseppe dei Ruffi

πŸ”Ήβ€‹ Church of San Giorgio Maggiore

More space is dedicated to the Cathedral, a precious treasure chest of works of art and the centre of the city’s religious life.

Naples Cathedral is dedicated to the Virgin of the Assumption and was built by Charles I of Anjou. The façade of the edifice, on which the neo-Gothic style prevails, has been rebuilt several times over the centuries: the last restoration dates back to 1951 and 1953 to make up for the bombing in 1943.

Inside the Basilica are numerous tombs of illustrious men, among them that of the first bishop of Naples, Saint Asperno.

Under the high altar is the Succorpo del Duomo, where the remains of San Gennaro are kept.

Inside the church you can enter the Chapel of the Treasure of San Gennaro, adorned with precious marble and silver.

Behind the high altar, two ampullae containing the blood of San Gennaro are kept in a safe. They are only displayed to the public twice a year: in September and on the Sunday before the first Sunday in May. On the same occasion, the reliquary bust, a fine example of 14th-century goldsmith’s art, is on public display in the Sacristy, where 44 other silver busts of the city’s co-patron saints are kept.

πŸ“ Zone Five: Piazza Cavour – Piazza San Domenico Maggiore

From Piazza Cavour go in search of the city’s ancient Greek origins: in Piazza Bellini and the nearby Via Duomo, you will find the remains of buildings from the Greek era. If you proceed towards the busy and lively Via dei Tribunali, walk along the ‘decumano maggiore’ of Greek Naples.

Today this area, together with Piazza San Gregorio Armeno, famous for its characteristic presepi (nativity scenes), is visited by many tourists and visitors.

In this area, we recommend that you first stop in Piazza San Domenico Maggiore, to admire the fascinating palaces that surround it (Petrucci, Corigliano, home of the University L’Orientale, Casacalenda, Sangro and Sansevero). The Church of San Domenico Maggiore also overlooks the square.

Proceeding along Via Benedetto Croce, you will find Palazzo Filomarino, famous because the philosopher Benedetto Croce lived and died here. He also founded the Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Storici here.

In Via San Biagio dei Librai, you can admire, a short distance from each other, Palazzo Carafa (15th century) with its splendid marble portal, and Palazzo Marigliano, a few metres from the previous one.

πŸ“£ A monument not to be missed is definitely the Sansevero Chapel, counted among the most interesting expressions of Neapolitan art. The fulcrum of the visit to the Chapel will certainly be the marvellous Veiled Christ, a work by Giuseppe Sammartino.

If in photographs this work leaves one astonished, in person it offers an indescribable emotion: the suffering impressed on the face of the dead Christ and the realism of the sheet that softly covers him, caressing his lifeless body, are impressive. Inside the Chapel, besides the Veiled Christ, you can also admire Corradini’s Veiled Modesty, Queirolo’s Disenchantment, and Paolo di Sangro’s Monument.

Inside the Crypt, on the other hand, you can admire two anatomical machines from the 17th century: two mummified bodies of a man and a woman with a foetus in their wombs, showing the arterial and venous systems.

Other monuments not to be missed in this area:

πŸ”Ήβ€‹ The Church of San Lorenzo Maggiore, (13th cent.)

πŸ”Ήβ€‹Church of Santa Patrizia

πŸ”Ήβ€‹ Church of San Paolo Maggiore

πŸ”Ήβ€‹ Church of San Domenico Maggiore, one of the most beautiful Gothic churches in Naples. Inside, in the Brancaccio Chapel, you can admire 14th-century frescoes by Cavallini.

πŸ“ Zone Six: Spaccanapoli, Santa Chiara – Galleria Principe di Napoli

Spaccanapoli is one of the symbolic streets of Naples: it is so called because it divides the city in half.

Originally, this street started at Piazza San Domenico Maggiore, which we mentioned earlier, and ended at Via Duomo. Later it was extended: first, the Romans extended it to Piazza del GesΓΉ, and later it was extended to the Quartieri Spagnoli.

We will tell you about it in this section, because from Piazza San Domenico you will walk along this always crowded street: you will notice on both sides lots of shops, clubs and shop windows displaying delicious and inviting food. The first thing you will encounter on your way, proceeding from Piazza San Domenico towards Via Toledo, is the Church of Santa Chiara, with its marvellous Majolica Cloister: needless to say, this is a must-see.

Inside the Church you will admire the Sepulchre of Charles of Anjou, counted as the largest of the monuments of the Middle Ages in Italy.

πŸ“£ Not far away is another monument not to be missed: the Church of GesΓΉ Nuovo, in Baroque style.

Admire also the Piazza del GesΓΉ Nuovo, with its Guglia dell’Immacolata, an example of Neapolitan Baroque, created by Matteo Bottiglieri and Francesco Pagano. Every year, on 8 December, the firemen lay a wreath on the head of the Immaculate Virgin that surmounts the Spire.

Proceeding towards Piazza Museo, you will find another place to stop by: the National Archaeological Museum, considered one of the largest museums in the world for the quantity of exhibits preserved.

From the National Archaeological Museum you will come out on Piazza Dante: here, after admiring the statue of Dante that dominates the square, you can decide to proceed towards Port’Alba and proceed to Piazza Bellini, where we recommend a visit to the theatre of the same name, located in Via Conte di Ruvo. The interior of the theatre is very special, with a horseshoe-shaped plan and a ceiling depicting Vincenzo Bellini carried in triumph by the geniuses of Music.

Also in the vicinity of the National Archaeological Museum, on Via Pessina, you can stop and visit the Principe di Napoli Gallery: inside you can see stuccoes depicting Victories, surmounted by a balcony, with coats of arms, friezes and ornaments.

πŸ“£ Other monuments you can visit in this area:

πŸ”Ή Church of Saints Philip and James

πŸ”Ή Church of San Nicola alla CaritΓ 

πŸ”Ή Church of Santa Maria Ognibene

πŸ”Ή Church of San Domenico Soriano

πŸ”Ή Church of the Holy Spirit

πŸ“ Zone Seven: Via Caracciolo, Chiaia and Posillipo

Between the neighbourhoods of San Ferdinando and Chiaia, facing Via Partenope, stands Castel dell’Ovo, dominating the Gulf of Naples. The visit offers a very interesting experience: you will observe the ramparts in yellow tuff, the Refectory of the monks and you will be able to admire the splendid panorama from the upper floors.

Since the Villa Comunale is just a short walk away, we suggest you drop in, accessing it from Piazza Vittoria. This villa was originally conceived as a place of recreation for the royals, who used to go there for relaxing walks. Today, it is full of Mediterranean trees, embellished with a glass and cast-iron Cassa Armonica, built in the 19th century, and a series of statues, busts and fountains. Also inside the villa are the Casina Pompeiana, the Zoological Station with the Dohrn Aquarium, the Press Club and the Tennis Club.

On the Lungomare, instead, admire the Fountain of the Immacolatella: it was built in 1601 by Michelangelo Naccherini and Pietro Bernini and is one of the symbols of the Naples navy, together with the Maschio Angioino and the Castel dell’Ovo.

In Via Monte di Dio, you can admire Palazzo Serra di Cassano, among the most important works of Giuseppe Astarita (18th century) and considered among the most interesting architectural works in Naples. Today this palace houses the National Institute for Philosophical Studies, which hosts conferences, events and humanistic projects with the participation of scholars and intellectuals from all over the world.

πŸ“£ Other places of interest:

πŸ”Ή Villa and Museum Pignatelli: interesting for its neoclassical layout and Pompeian style. It overlooks the seafront (the Via Caracciolo side) and the Villa Comunale.

πŸ”Ή The Museo Principe Diego Aragona Pignatelli Cortes and the Carriage Museum

πŸ”Ή Virgiliano Park: at the entrance to the Piedigrotta Gallery.

πŸ”Ή Church of the Ascension at Chiaia

πŸ”Ή Church of Santa Teresa at Chiaia

πŸ”Ή Church of San Giuseppe at Chiaia

πŸ”Ή Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli at Pizzofalcone

πŸ”Ή Church of San Carlo alle Mortelle

πŸ”Ή Church of Santa Maria Apparente

πŸ”Ή Church of San Nicola da Tolentino

πŸ“ Zone Eight: SanitΓ , Capodimonte, Vomero

For years, the SanitΓ  neighbourhood was stigmatised as dangerous. Today the area has been fairly re-evaluated, so we advise you to visit it, always in the traveller’s spirit: carefully and without being imprudent.

In this area (you can get there by Metro line 1 or 2), you will immediately notice a great deal of steet art created by more or less well-known street artists.

From Via Foria you catch a glimpse of the gate of San Gennaro, cross the street and you find yourself in Via Vergini, a street with a cheerful and lively market, where you can savour all the theatricality and joyful spirit of this city.

Proceeding towards Piazza SanitΓ , you will see at the centre of the square the Basilica di Santa Maria della SanitΓ , a seventeenth-century church that stands on an ancient cemetery area, the Catacombe di San Gaudioso, accessed from the crypt of the church.

πŸ“£ Here we open a short parenthesis

The city of Naples has an incredible amount of underground cavities (we will also discuss them in the section on experiences). There are at least 614,000 square metres of underground cavities. According to tradition, the first excavations were started by the Cimmerians, a people who lived far from the sun in cities excavated below the surface.

βœ…β€‹ Under the SanitΓ  district are, for instance, the Catacombs of San Gennaro, dating back to the 3rd century, and those of San Gaudioso, Santa Maria della Vita, S. Eframo Vecchio and San Severo, dating back to the 5th century.

βœ…β€‹ Another curious and extremely characteristic attraction is undoubtedly the Fontanelle Cemetery, which contains an impressive number of skulls, some of which are linked to particular and fascinating legends.

A particular ancient tradition is linked to these skulls: when the ossuary was opened to the public in 1857, it became the custom for families in the area to ‘adopt’ one of the skulls, cleaning it carefully and offering it votive candles and flowers.

Near the Fontanelle Cemetery, you can also access the Catacombs of San Gennaro, one of the most interesting examples of a Christian museum in southern Italy.

πŸ“£ Not to be missed: the Royal Palace of Capodimonte, inside which you can admire the Museum and National Galleries, housing works by Simone Martini, Correggio, Giovanni Bellini, Mantegna, Caravaggio and El Greco.

Take advantage of the park, known as the ‘Bosco di Capodimonte’, to take a stroll among centuries-old trees and silence.

βœ…β€‹ If you are an astronomy enthusiast, we remind you that you are close to a place that might interest you: the Capodimonte Astronomical Observatory, where you can admire many stellar observation instruments of artistic and scientific value.

βœ…β€‹ In the Vomero district, you absolutely must visit Castel Sant’Elmo and the adjacent Certosa di San Martino. The latter, located in a panoramic position, houses a quantity of paintings (Luca Giordano, Caracciolo, Ribera, Massimo Stanzione), making it comparable to a small art gallery.

Inside the Carthusian Monastery, you can also visit the National Museum of San Martino, with several sections, some of considerable importance, because they preserve paintings that tell the story of the city’s art between the 17th and 19th centuries. The section dedicated to the Neapolitan nativity scene is very interesting, with shepherds made by 18th-century artists.

βœ…β€‹In the Vomero district, also visit Villa Floridiana: a neoclassical villa surrounded by a romantic garden embellished with over 100 species of plants and numerous statues.

The villa is also home to the Museo Nazionale ‘Duca di Martina’, which houses a valuable collection of porcelain and majolica.

What to do in Naples

Curious traveller, adventurous, hungry for excitement?
Here is a selection of the best experiences to add to your travel itinerary!

Trekking and walking

πŸ“£ If you want to get away from the city and explore different landscapes, you absolutely cannot miss out:

πŸ“ The Campi Flegrei

You can get there by Metro line 2, getting off at the stop of the same name. Here you will visit the Campi Flegrei Regional Park, a vast area of volcanic nature where about 40 craters follow one another. It is an area of indescribable charm, to which the ancient vestiges of the Greco-Roman civilisation certainly contribute.

πŸ“ Vesuvius National Park

to reach this park with no fewer than 9 trails, you can take the bus to Pompeii and then the tram to the ticket office. By car, on the A3 exit at Torre del Greco and proceed following the signs. We recommend that you choose one of the possible itineraries in advance: certainly the most popular excursion is the one that reaches the ‘Gran Cono’, the mouth of the extinct crater. Alternatively, if you are a more experienced trekker, you can opt for the more difficult route, known as ‘Valle dell’Inferno’. We recommend that you plan at least half a day for this visit.

Experiences you can only do in Naples

There are so many things we have failed to mention in the previous sessions, but it is really impossible to try to describe this city, which proudly displays all the traces of a rich, complex and varied historical past.

If it is difficult to try to offer a summary that serves as an orientation guide to the city, trying to recommend experiences proves to be an equally arduous task.

In the previous paragraphs, we have already told you about the underground caves and how Naples hides a sort of underground city, where streets, alleys and mysteries unfold.

In this regard, one of the experiences that we think you really can’t miss is definitely one of these two visits: Napoli Sotterranea or the Galleria Borbonica.

In both cases, you will be led by expert guides to discover the secret and mysterious heart of Naples, on a journey that, between emotion and a hint of suggestion, will take you far from the sun kissing city and bring you face to face with its ancient roots and its most curious secrets.

Like the one concerning the ancient aqueduct of Naples, inside which the ‘Munacielli’, the people who cleaned the tunnels, used to descend.

Or you will see with your own eyes, inside the Galleria Borbonica, the spaces that were used as citizens’ shelters during the Second World War.

It is impossible not to mention, among the unmissable experiences in the city, those of taste: Naples offers an incredible variety of street food, tasty and cheap.

So don’t miss out on sampling the most famous delicacies, which can also be eaten on the street: the iconic pizza, the classic Neapolitan sandwich or the fried calzone, with ricotta and cicoli, the sfogliatella or frolla, the classic tarallo sugna e pepe, the pastiera, the babΓ  and so on and so forth.

If you really want to make sure you don’t miss out on the most famous delicacies and end up in the typical tourist traps, you can opt for a street food tour with a local guide.

Also for sightseeing, if you have little time and want to hit the most important stops, you can rely on the experience of the many local guides who every day, with love for the city and passion for their work, accompany travellers and tourists to discover its most interesting places.

Unmissable events in Naples

It is impossible to mention the events taking place in the city: there are so many that we advise you to check the events scheduled to coincide with the days you are in Naples.

βœ… If you are a fan of folklore, we recommend the festival dedicated to San Gennaro, the city’s patron saint, which is celebrated every year on 19 September.

Generally from the second week of September until the day dedicated to the Saint, the city comes alive with musical, culural and folklore events, culminating on the 19th with the solemn procession and the so-called miracle of liquefaction.

The typical sweet of the feast day is the lemon and cinnamon biscuits, but if you take a tour of the local pastry shops, you will discover that numerous confectioners invent a new cake every year to dedicate to their patron saint.

βœ… If you are a fan of manga and comics, we would like to point out another event that is not to be missed: Comicon, which takes place every year in spring at the Mostra d’Oltremare in Naples.

βœ… We would like to remind you that during the Christmas period, there are numerous shows and events scattered throughout the city, including living nativity scenes, craft markets, and folk and cultural events.

βœ… Not to be missed, if you are travelling at the end of the year, is New Year’s Eve, which every year transforms Piazza del Plebiscito and the Naples seafront into a huge, open-air disco.

Why choose Naples as a destination

It is difficult to answer this question without being tempted to write another endless paragraph on the beauty, peculiarities and complexities of this city.

Naples is pure energy, an authentic experience that leaves indelible traces in the memory: it is impossible to forget the energy in which one is immersed, the colour and warmth, the folklore and the theatricality that seeps into every small, tiny grain of life.

We don’t want to be rhetorical or pathetic.

This city manifests huge, crazy, indescribable contradictions: the vibrancy and energy easily turn into chaos, the theatricality and warmth can turn into brashness and intrusiveness, the topographical complexity mixed with the amount of people that animate and populate the streets can stress and tire.

But the absurd thing is that this is all part of its essence: there is no Naples without its contradictions.

So rather than give one or a hundred reasons to visit, we will limit ourselves to this: for us, this indescribable experience is always worth it, whether it is a one-day getaway or a three- or five-day full-immersion. Trust us.

πŸ“£ Choose Naples as your travel destination if:

πŸ”Ήβ€‹ You want to discover a beautiful city of art

πŸ”Ήβ€‹ You wish to have an unforgettable travel experience that leaves you not only with the memory of many beautiful things seen, but also with an indescribable vital energy

πŸ”Ήβ€‹ You are looking for a destination that is easy to reach and offers an incredible amount of experiences to enjoy. There is no best time to visit Naples: like all cities of art, it deserves a visit at any time of the year.

The best time to visit Naples

Any time of year is good to visit Naples.

πŸ“£ If, however, you want to choose the best time of year for you, here are some useful tips:

βœ… as you can imagine, winters are decidedly mild, except for a few days of the year when temperatures tend to drop. Generally speaking, even in winter, temperatures stay around 14-15 degrees, with pleasant days suitable for exploring.

βœ… In winter, Campania tends to be rainy rather than cold. Therefore, the only negative note to take into account when travelling during the winter months is the chance to find yourself walking around with an umbrella and a mackintosh for several days at a time.

βœ… In summer, on the other hand, temperatures can be quite torrid, especially during July and August. Walking around the city in very high temperatures can be unpleasant. This should be taken into consideration if you are travelling with children, suffer particularly from heat or have a particular medical condition. In any case, we recommend that you leave equipped with sun protection, a hat and suitable clothing (opaque, but cool and light).

βœ…During the period between the Christmas holidays and the spring and autumn weekends, the city is practically invaded by tourists and travellers. This means one basic thing: queues for access to almost all major attractions and cult venues.

πŸ“£ Our advice is to plan an itinerary of the attractions you are interested in and to book in advance: almost all the main attractions that require a ticket provide an access time, so you can optimise your travel time and avoid unnecessary waiting.

Interesting facts about Naples

βœ… It’s easy to say ‘Centro Storico’. The historic centre of Naples is the largest in Europe: it covers no less than 1700 hectares, stretching from the Vomero to the districts of Posillipo and Chiaia.

βœ… Naples in a Tom & Jerry episode The city of Naples is the protagonist of one of the episodes of the famous cartoon. To be precise, it was episode number 86 from 1954, in which the authors paid homage to the city with an entire episode in which a Neapolitan mouse accompanies the protagonists on their discovery of the city. The episode does not lack a tribute to Neapolitan music with an interpretation of a Roberto Murolo brando.

βœ… The oldest pizzeria in Naples A curiosity about the city’s iconic food is inevitable.

Pizza became popular in Naples between the 18th and 19th centuries. The city’s first pizzeria was the Pizzeria Port’Alba, which opened its doors in 1738, initially only allowing take-away service: the famous ‘Pizza a portafoglio’, to be eaten on the go. Later, in 1830, the pizzeria also started table service, serving it to the likes of D’Annunzio, King Ferdinand of Bourbon and Benedetto Croce.

Today, the pizzeria is still open and is located in Via Port’Alba.

History of Naples

The origins of the city of Naples are not certain. Probably an early settlement was of Greek origin, when some settlers from Asia Minor reached the coasts of Sicily and southern Italy. Presumably the first settlement, called Parthenope or Paleopolis, would be located near Castel dell’Ovo, by settlers from nearby Pithecusa (Ischia).

Around 340 BC Rome began to take an interest in Naples. Rome’s hegemony went from being at first an alliance and then a citizenship.

Given the cultural liveliness of a city that already had 30,000 inhabitants and the excellent climate and extraordinary beauty of the area, Roman patricians had their summer residences built here at Posillipo, Chiaia and in the Campi Flegrei area.

The cultural peak was reached during the Augustan age, when writers and poets such as Virgil, Horace and Catullus stayed here.

The situation changed drastically with the fall of the Western Roman Empire: from this moment on, Naples fell under Byzantine rule.

When Basil, the lieutenant of Byzantium, proclaimed himself Duke and became independent from Constantinople, another moment of cultural and economic ferment began for Naples: churches and monasteries developed, trade intensified and the construction of ports and infrastructure began.

After the Norman and Swabian domination, the Angevins took over. The founder of the Angevin dynasty was Charles of Anjou, who moved the capital of the Kingdom of Sicily from Palermo to Naples. From this moment on, the term ‘Kingdom of Naples’ is used.

During this phase, Naples broke away from Byzantine and Oriental culture: hence the Gothic style softened by Hellenistic and neoclassical influences, which characterised some of the most important monuments. While the Maschio Angiono became the symbol of the city and home of Charles I, the city was home to men of culture such as Boccaccio, Thomas Aquinas, Petrarch and Giotto.

After a bitter dynastic succession struggle, Naples passed under the rule of the Aragonese, who reigned there from 1441 to 1503 and opened one of the greatest interludes of Neapolitan culture and civilisation.

Spanish domination transformed Naples from an autonomous kingdom into a vassal state of the Spanish Kingdom: the city, at this historical moment, was subject to heavy fiscal pressure, aimed above all at financing the Spanish war.

A far-sighted viceroy turned out to be Don Pedro Alvarez de Toledo, who initiated the redevelopment of the city, building new roads (such as the famous Via Toledo, which takes its name from him), the Spanish Quarters, today’s Piazza del Plebiscito, and the National Museum.

Also worth mentioning in this period is the famous revolt of Masaniello, who became the spokesman for the Neapolitans’ malaise, becoming a symbol of freedom.

From 1707 to 1734, the Kingdom of Naples became the Austrian Viceroyalty: a short period, which nevertheless left a deep cultural mark.

In 1734, Charles of Bourbon took over from the Austrians: one of the most characterising dominations for Naples began.

The king became the interpreter of a profound need for restoration and started an administrative, economic and urban revolution: during Charles III’s reign, the Royal Palace of Capodimonte and that of Portici were built, as well as the Royal Palace of Caserta. In addition, a sort of industrial revolution was started, in the wake of what was already happening in England: thus the Opificio di San Leucio (one of the first in Italy) was founded in Caserta, and archaeological excavations began that brought to light the precious finds of Herculaneum and Pompeii.

Charles’ heir was Ferdinand IV, who became king at the age of eight.

During the reign of Ferdinand IV of Bourbon, a group of intellectuals imbued with Jacobin and liberal culture proclaimed the Republic of Naples in 1799. The revolution was suffocated in blood, with captures and death sentences.

In 1806, Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon’s brother, burst into Naples: the king took refuge in Palermo, while the throne was occupied by the general and Joachim Murat.

For about ten years, therefore, Naples became the capital of a kingdom that was a piece of France in the Mediterranean.

Only after the Congress of Vienna did Naples become Bourbon again. Ferdinand was succeeded by Francis I, Duke of Calabria.

We are in 1828 and the birth of the first Camorra organisations dates back to this period, which intertwined its relations with the institutions from then on.

Ferdinand II then ascended the throne and remained there until 1859: his was to be the last autonomous kingdom of Naples. During his reign, the Naples-Portici, Italy’s first steam railway, was built.

New industries opened, such as railway and metalworking workshops and numerous shipyards. A new road was also built: the Infrescata, which corresponds to today’s Corso Vittorio Emanuele.

On 7 September 1860, Giuseppe Garibaldi, having liberated Calabria and Sicily, arrived in Naples, looked out from the balcony of the Prefecture in Piazza del Plebiscito and was acclaimed as a new king.

From capital city to a centre full of contradictions, the history of Naples in the 20th century is a succession of political events that destroy what had been put in place by the Bourbons, albeit in an embryonic stage, causing a delay in economic development compared to other northern cities.

But in addition to this, there is also an intertwining of the lives of intellectuals, philosophers and men of culture, such as Benedetto Croce, Giustino Fortunato, Antonio Labriola, Scarfoglio and Matilde Serao.

In short, decades of lights and shadows, certainly intense and complex years that contribute to the profound contradictions that make Naples an incredibly complex but undoubtedly fascinating city.

Where to sleep in Napoli

B&B

Maschio Angioino Suite

Napoli – Via Guglielmo Melisurgo
8.9
Fabulous –
1201 reviews
Hotel

Relais Della Porta

Napoli – Via Toledo 368
9.2
Superb –
1475 reviews
Apartments

Casa Pacifico Napoli

Napoli – Carbonara 20
9.3
Superb –
887 reviews
B&B

Dante Maison de Prestige

Napoli – Via Tarsia 64
9.3
Superb –
540 reviews
Apartments

Casa Napoletana

Napoli – Piazza Dante 89
9.5
Exceptional –
30 reviews
Hotel

Vomero High Hotel

Napoli – Via Privata Imperatrice G.7
9.0
Superb –
271 reviews

NEI DINTORNI

Salerno


Located between the Amalfi Coast and the Cilento Coast, the city in recent years has become famous for the Luci d’Artista

Atrani


It sits on a narrow strip of land at the outlet of the Dragon Valley: It is the smallest municipality with less than 1,000 inhabitants

Cetara


A fishing village that still maintains its ancient seafaring tradition intact. Famous for its colatura di alici and its delicious tuna