Visiting Naples – The complete guide
The history of Naples has origins since antiquity, in fact the first to settle in this territory were the Greeks. The city has lived countless different eras, with different populations that have left their mark both in the architecture, art, cult and traditions of the Neapolitans.
Let’s see together which are the 10 top things to do in Naples, so you do not miss any of the beautiful and unforgettable Napoli sights!
Visiting NAPLES | Must know
- Naples | The old Town
- Naples | Church of St. Clare and Cloister of the Clarisse
- Naples | Naples Underground
- Naples | Naples Archeological Museum
- Naples | Royal Palace and National Museum of Capodimonte
- Naples | Chapel of San Severo
- Naples | Museum of the Treasury of San Gennaro and Duomo of Naples
- Naples | Maschio Angioino
- Naples | Castel Dell’Ovo
- Naples | Teatro di San Carlo
Naples | The old Town
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995, the historical Centre is based on the same urban foundations as Greek architecture, with a road set on three broad parallel longitudinal roads (Plateiai in Greek, Decumani in Latin) intersecting a right angle from a number of narrower streets. The main roads of the historic centre of Neapolis (New Town), are Via dei Tribunali and Via San Biagio dei Librai, or commonly called “Spaccanapoli”, precisely because of the way in which it splits the city into two. We are located in the heart of Naples where you can admire all the beauty of this area, the markets, the pieces of history in every corner, colors and aromas tease your senses.
If you are looking for the best place to stay in Naples, for sure we will advise you to look for something in the historical centre so you can enjoy all the activities in Naples, Italy
Naples, the old Town
Naples | Church of St. Clare and Cloister of the Clarisse
At the beginning of our Spaccanapoli, mentioned above, is the church and the monastic complex of St. Clare. The building has had several changes over the centuries, from the Gothic of 1310 to the Baroque of the XVIII century. In 1943 because of World War II it was destroyed and rebuilt in 1953. The façade and the interior are very simple and is designed in Gothic style, formed by one central nave and ten chapels either side. The marble floor, with the seventh chapel, is the only thing left to be saved from the bombardment of ‘43, with baroque details and the Angioino crest in the centre.
The monastery of St. Clare has four cloisters, the majolica one which is also called the cloister of the Clarisse, is the jewel in the crown of this monumental complex.
The majolica of the cloister
Always of Gothic origin, it was then restructured in Baroque style by Antonio Vaccaro in 1742. The cloister has 72 octagonal pillars, interspersed with benches, and the whole structure is covered with handmade painted majolica created by Neapolitan tilers. The cloister is formed by two paths that intertwine with gardens, a perfect refuge to get away from the chaos of Spaccanapoli. This location is immersed in tranquility and is lushfully green, along with the seafront of Mergellina, it is probably one of the most romantic places and a must do in Naples.
Culture, history, art, landscape
Monday – Saturday 9,30/17,30 – Sunday 10.00/14,30
6 € – [ Students – Artecard 4,50€ |Children 3,50€ ]
Naples | Naples Underground
Incredible civil engineering work, the underground of Naples is a must see place if you are in the city. In the III century B.C. the Greeks began digging the underground to derive the turf necessary to build walls and temples, and creating burial spaces underground. The Romans then continued to dig and enlarge this great underground network to create the first aqueduct. The tunnels are wide but the passageways are very narrow, when created were made just for the sole purpose for man to walk along. So for those who are claustrophobic this path can be quite discouraging. The underground was abandoned about in the XVI century, when the population increased dramatically before one’s eyes and the nobleman Carmignano built a new aqueduct. They were used once again when the disastrous bombings of World War II were taking place. The sound of the siren sent dozens of people to the depths of Naples to seek shelter and safety. There are still objects, decorations and graffiti to be seen that testify to the tragic days spent in the shelters.
Naples | Naples Archaeological Museum
The MANN is one of the most important museums in the city of Naples, with an archaeological patrimony so large that it is considered one of the most important museums in Italy, and in the world, for the vast patrimony of the Roman age. The Palace of the Real Museum is the building which houses the Archaeological Museum and is one of the most imposing palaces in the city.
The objects and works of art displayed inside the museum are from private collections donated and acquired over time, in fact within the latter there are three main sections:
The Farnese collection, works from Rome and its surroundings
The Pompeiana collection, therefore with origins of Pompeii and other Vesuvian cities
The Egyptian collection, second in importance to that of Turin
Other Museums in Naples of great importance are:
- MADRE (Museum of Contemporary Art)
Via Settembrini 79, (80139) Napoli
Culture, history, art
Monday | Wed-Sat 10,00 – 19,30 / Sunday 10,00 – 20,00 | Tuesday closed
8,00 € – In May 4,00€
Naples | Royal Palace and National Museum of Capodimonte
Located in Piazza del Plebiscito, the Royal Palace was the home, for more than 150 years, of the Spanish Viceroy and following the unification of Italy was sold to Vittorio Emanuele III of Savoy. Since then it has mainly been used as a Museum attraction.
The monumental complex is so large that you could spend more than half a day inside the building to admire all that it offers. One of the best collections of Italian art, including works of art Farnese, Borgia and Bourbonica. Works dating from the XIV and XV centuries to the most modern of the tenth century, such as the painting of the Vesuvius erupting by artist Andy Warhol. Another precious area of the palace are the Royal apartments. The interior design depict the vicissitudes of the personalities who lived there, obviously in the style of the age in which they were made.
Outside the Palace there are the ancient gardens of the Viceregal Palace and the Hanging Gardens, the flowerbeds have a random pattern and there are both local and exotic flowers displayed.
Every year the National Museum of Capodimonte hosts different exhibitions where works of important artists are available to be seen by the public. If you’re visiting Naples between April and July 2019 (the end of the exhibition is on the 14th) you will have the possibility to see all the amazing works of art made by Michelangelo Merisi, commonly known as Caravaggio. This will be for sure one the best attraction in Naples in 2019.
Via Miano,2 – 80131 Napoli
Culture, history, art
Monday – Sunday 9.00 am – 08,00 pm – Wednesday closed exept Caravaggio exhibition
12 € [ 8€ between 18-25 years old | 4€ Artecard]
Naples | Chapel of Sansevero
One of the must sites to see in Naples is for sure the Chapel of Sansevero, also known as the Church of Santa Maria della Pietà, one of the most important Museums in Naples. It is located nearby Piazza di San Domenico Maggiore and is connected to the Sansevero Palace, which allowed in the past members of the family to access it privately.
The main attraction now is the deconsecrated church where the veiled Christ is displayed, carved in 1753, it is considered one of the greatest sculptural masterpieces in the world! Made by the great master Giuseppe Sanmartino, he was able to reproduce a life-size body of Christ, managing to transmit all the suffering felt by him, and leaving him to glimpse from the marble veil. The realisation of the veil is so realistic that a legend has been created on it: according to some, the alchemist Raimondo di Sangro, would teach Sanmartino how to transform the fabrics into marble crystals. Absolutely a must to visit if you are here in Naples, even for one day.
Culture, history, art
Monday – Sunday 9.00 am – 07,00 pm – Saturday 09,00 – 08,30 pm
8 € [ 6€ Fai Member | 5€ between 10-25 years old | 5€ Artecard]
Naples | Museum of the Treasury of San Gennaro and Duomo of Naples
San Gennaro: Protector and the most beloved saint among Neapolitan people. The exposition of the Jewels of the saint and the visit of the three sacristies of the Treasury Chapel began in 2003. One of the most important pieces of the collection is surely the “Mitra”, the episcopal headgear of San Gennaro made by Orefice Matteo Treglia. An object of great value as there are several precious stones embedded in it. The bones of San Gennaro are kept in the Duomo of Naples, together with two ancient ampoules in which his blood is contained, it is was collected immediately after his martyrdom. These ampoules are exposed to the public of the faithful three times a year. The first Saturday in May, 19 September and 16 December – in these dates the “miracle” occurs, the blood coagulated miraculously liquefies. The Duomo is, of course, one of the largest and most important churches in the Neapolitan city. The church is in fact an overlap of various artistic styles, ranging from the gothic of 300 ‘ to the neogothic of 800’. The plant is a Latin cross and inside, in addition to the remains of the patron saint, there are also those of the various kings of Naples, as Charles I of Anjou.
Via Duomo 149, 80138 (NA)
Culture, history, art
Monday – Friday 9.00 am – 04,30 pm – Saturday 09,00 – 05,30 pm
Naples | Maschio Angioino
Maschio Angioino, Naples | Credits: @cortilepasquale
The Maschio Angioino, also called Castel Nuovo, is a medieval and Renaissance castle. One of the many symbols of the city, it dominates Piazza Municipio, and hosts inside on the first and second floor the Civil Museum. It was built on the instuction of Charles I of Anjou in 1266, the year in which Naples became the capital of the rein. A few steps from the port of Naples, between 1279 and 1282 this fortified Palace was erected in total Gothic style by French architects whose design was irregular quadrilateral, four imposing towers of defense with ditch protection. The successors of Carlo favoured instead work of extension of the structure and of embellishment. So it is where various artists, like for example Giotto and his pupils, and their styles used over the years.
Naples | Castel dell'Ovo
An historical site in Naples, is for sure Castel Dell’Ovo. The oldest castle in the city of Naples rises on the islet of Tuff of Megaride. The place where the city of Parthènope was founded for the first time in the VII century B.C. Its name is given by an ancient legend, according to which the great poet Virgilio hid in the foundations of the building an egg that kept all the structure standing. During the centuries the castle has had several uses and several inhabitants. In the V century B.C. was exiled the last Roman emperor of the West, who transformed it into a convent, it was the palace for Frederick II, seat of the royal Treasury and also a state prison. Today, exhibitions, demonstrations and conventions are held in the large halls of the castle. and this is one of many places of interest in Naples, Italy.
Castel dell’Ovo, Naples
Naples | Teatro San Carlo
The Teatro San Carlo is one of the oldest and largest opera houses in Europe. It was built at the bequest of King Charles of Bourbon in 1737 and after only eight months the building was completed, with a capacity of 1379 people, 184 stages plus a real one, which is connected with the Royal Palace giving the possibility for the king to enter the theatre without having to go outside. The San Carlo was the place of representation of the works of the greatest authors, such as Rossini, Verdi and Donizetti. The decorations of the room are the richest and luxurious colors of red and gol. The details of the ornaments in pure neoclassical style and the various representations of all the great ancient artists. The Teatro San Carlo was the model on which all the other great European theatres were built. “The eyes are dazzled, the soul kidnapped…” These are the words of Stendhal in describing it, so do not miss the opportunity to visit this magnificent theatre, one of the top attractions in Naples, Italy.
My brief summary about Naples
These are just some of the few of the incredible things that you can visit whilst in the city of Naples, but every alley of this city has something fascinating, a story to tell – statues, representations, churches and places of worship, even a work of the world famous engraved Banksy. Naples is a city to discover and it is impossible not to discover and leave without it taking a small piece in the heart.