Stendhal thought that Naples was the most beautiful city in the Universe, Goethe said: See Naples and die. Naples is a special city, probably the only metropolis in the world which has half million inhabitants living at the slopes of an active vulcano. The panoramas from the city hills is amazing from the islands of ischia and Procida, the Sorrento peninsula to the island of Capri. Add also the amazing Amalfi coast and the archeological ruins covered by the famous eruption of the Vesuvius 79 AD. Here we tried to select the Top 20 things to see and to do in Naples but if you want more recommendations don’t hesitate to contact us.
Spaccanapoli & Via Tribunali
The real heart of Naples, this ancient roman street divides the city in two parts. Spaccanapoli in fact means divide Naples. The City Centre of Naples belongs to the Unesco list and is full of historical palaces, art museums, churches but also with small cafes, shops, pizzerias. Everything is framed by the colors of hanging clothes, voices of the people, noises of the children playing soccer with their Naples t shirts.
Lungomare Caracciolo & Castel dell'Ovo
Lungomare Caracciolo is a beautiful promenade along the coast with stunning views of the islands and the Vesuvius. Castel dell'Ovo is the most ancient fortress of Naples and represents the mythological place where the first city was founded with the name of Parthenope. This fortress takes the name from the French Chateu d'Oeuf. The legend says that the roman writer Virgilio hide here an egg under the castle. Lungomare Caracciolo is also the place where the Pizzafest takes place
The Cathedral of Naples is also famous for the chapel dedicated to San Gennaro, the holy special protector of the city. The chapel is a masterpiece of Baroque Art and preserves the relics of the saint. The popular tradition believes in a miracle that takes place 3 times every year. On the day dedicated to San Gennaro, the 19th September, the blood contained in a relic becomes liquid.
Piazza del Plebiscito
The square takes its name from the referendum that the people of Naples voted before the unification of Italy. In the square is also the Neoclassical church San Francesco di Paola and the Royal Palace. The colonnade reminds that of st Peters square in Rome whereas the dome is inspired by the Pantheon in Rome. The royal palace was the residence of the kings when Naples was the capitol of the Regno delle due Sicile before the unification of Italy 1861.
Cappella San Severo
It is a deconsecrated church with incredible statues and decorations of the baroque time. Cappella San Severo is a Masonic temple full of symbolisms with masterpieces such as the Cristo Velato by Giuseppe Sanmartino. It was commissioned and thought by Raimondo di Sangro, who wanted a chapel to honor his family
Eat a real Pizza Margherita
The Pizza Margherita was made for the first time to the queen Margherita Savoia in Naples. Naples is the city that offers you the possibility to taste the real Pizza Margherita. The tradition in Naples offers only two kind of Pizzas: Margherita and Marinara. For the best Pizza you should try Sorbillo, Lievito madre, Vesi pizzagourmet but you should also try the "Pizza a portafoglio", typical Napoletan street food.
The castle is called Angioino from Carlo d'Angio, the French king who ruled Naples in the 13th century. It is also called Castel novo to distinguish it from the other castles. At the entrance is a triumphal arch erected by Alfonso d'Aragona after he conquered Naples in 1443
Museo Archeologico of Naples
The archeological museum of Naples is a great collection where you can admire statues, mosaics, artworks of Egyptian and Roman time. Big importance have the collection Farnese and the collection from pompeii.
Posillipo offers one of the best views over the bay of Naples. Posillipo means in Greek "respite from danger". You can take the funicular from Mergellina to visit Posillipo and its beautiful broad views from Capri to Ischia.
Try Napolitan pastry
Babà is the typical pastry from Naples with a "mushroom shape" and Rum in it. In Naples you can also find 2 different Sfogliatella: riccia or frolla. Probably the sfogliatella was invented in Conca dei Marini by some nuns in the Monastery Santa Rosa but today is a must when in Naples. We really recommend Scaturchio. If you like ricotta Pastiera is a delicious pastry. The legend says there was a queen from Austria and she was called the queen who did't smile. Once her husband offered her a cake slice of Pastiera, and she couldn't refuse to smile. Another pastry typical from the area is the Caprese, which has nothing to do with the caprese salad.
Teatro San Carlo and Galleria Umberto I
The theatre of san Carlo is the most ancient Opera theatre in Europe. National Geographic nominated it the second most beautiful Theatre of the world after the Theatre La Scala in Milan. At the inauguration Stendhal was also invited. Near the theatre is the Gallery dedicated to the second king of Italy Umberto. A similar gallery is also in Milan and Rome.
Taste an espresso
In Naples coffee means espresso. For the Napolitan people espresso is a ritual. There is also an interesting tradition connected with coffee. When a person from Naples is particularly happy he pays also an extra coffee and this coffee is called caffè sospeso, suspended coffee. When a person in need comes inside the bar he/she can ask if there is a suspended coffee and enjoy an espresso without paying. One of the best coffee is at Bar Mexico.
San Gregorio Armeno
The specialty of this tiny street is the art of Nativity. Since the 17th century the people of Naples prepare for Christmas big nativity scenes with waterfalls, mountains, a lot of small figures and shepherds. Nowadays in this street you can also find small figures with politicians, soccer players and Hollywood's stars.
Take the metro Toledo
Toledo was nominated by CNN the most beautiful metro station of the world. It is a piece of art itself. You can get off at the Toledo station if you want to do some shopping in Via Toledo
Take the ferry to Capri, Ischia or Procida
From Naples you can take the ferry and visit the island of Capri, one of the most beautiful islands of the Mediterranean Sea, the island of Ischia famous also for the Thermal Baths and the small island of Procida
Visit Pompeii or Herculaneum
Pompeii and Herculaneum are two interesting archeological areas covered by the eruption of the Vesuvius 79 AD. In the area you can really see and understand how the romans used to live because you can see roman houses, thermal baths, ancient restaurants, streets, bars and shops. Pompeii is the most famous but Herculaneum is also rich of history.
Try the Neapolitan Street Food
In Naples the street food is tasty, delicious and cheap. The wallet pizza for example is the perfect meal during the day, it is called Pizza a Portafoglio (wallet), it is smaller than a normal pizza with less seasoning and a cheap price. Our recommendation is the pizzeria da Matteo, where also the American president Bill Clinton tried a delicious wallet pizza. You can also try a fried pizza from Da Fernanda, Isabella de Cham or 1947 Pizza fritta. In Naples you can also find cones with mixed fried, they are called Cuoppi, delicious are the fried fish specialties such as calamari and gamberi. If you like sandwiches you should try the panino napoletano (Antica friggitoria Masardona).
Reggia di Caserta
The reggia of Caserta was the residence of the Borboni family who ruled south Italy to 1861 when Italy reached the unification. The castle belongs to the Unesco list and is very similar to the chateau of Versailles. The gardens of Caserta are 3 km long and embellished by fountains, parks and Italian style gardens. The Reggia of Caserta was also the location for some movies such as Star Wars and Angels and demons.
Castel Sant'Elmo and Certosa San Martino
On the Vomero hill dominating the city centre of Naples, is a monastery dedicated to San Martino and a castle which are worth a visit not only for the stunning view that they offer. The castle is one of the most interesting examples of military architecture, the convent is one of the greatest examples of Baroque Art.
Museum and park of Capodimonte
The Museum at Capodimonte holds a beautiful collection of paintings and art among which paintings by Titian, Raphael and Andy Warhol. The park was nominated the most beautiful park in Italy 2014.