Naples, the regional capital of Campania, is Italy’s third-largest city and one of the oldest continuously inhabited urban areas in the world. Founded by the Greeks in the first millennium BC, Naples has a rich history that includes being a significant cultural center under the Romans, the capital of various kingdoms, and a hub for the Baroque artistic movement.
Today, the city is known for its UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic center, stunning natural beauties like Vesuvius, and its culinary delights, including the world-famous pizza. The blend of ancient ruins, vibrant street life, and coastal allure makes Naples a captivating destination for travelers seeking a taste of authentic Italian culture.
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Attractions and Things to do in Naples
1. Museo Cappella Sansevero
The Museo Cappella Sansevero is filled with Masonic symbolism expressed through various architectural and sculpture motifs. It’s a place where art and mystery intertwine, offering a unique experience.
Travel Tip: Plan your visit ahead and check for guided tours to fully understand the symbolism and history behind the artworks.
2. Galleria Borbonica
The Bourbon Gallery represents a description of the last 500 years of Naples. It’s a surrounding underground environment that takes you on a journey through history.
Travel Tip: Wear comfortable shoes, as you’ll be exploring underground tunnels, and consider joining a guided tour for a more informative experience.
3. Catacombe di San Gennaro
These vast, spacious early Christian burial grounds were constructed by excavating tuff, a rocky material. It’s a fascinating glimpse into ancient burial practices.
Travel Tip: The catacombs can be chilly, so bring a light jacket, and don’t forget to explore the nearby church.
4. Via San Gregorio Armeno
Stretching in the very heart of ancient Naples, Via San Gregorio Armeno welcomes visitors through its small and winding lanes, famous for artisan shops.
Travel Tip: Visit during Christmas season to see the famous nativity scenes, but be prepared for crowds.
5. Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli
This enormous museum contains artifacts from the Roman Empire, offering a comprehensive view of ancient history.
Travel Tip: Allocate plenty of time for this museum, as there is a lot to see. Consider a guided tour for a more in-depth understanding.
6. Napoli Sotterranea
An unusual tour that spans centuries, where they have recreated Roman wells and provided information about WW2. It’s a journey through time.
Travel Tip: Great for families, but may not be suitable for those with mobility issues due to stairs and uneven surfaces.
Explore Spaccanapoli to see a real community still thriving today on the former Neopolis street grid. It’s a slice of authentic Naples life.
Travel Tip: Wander without a strict plan and enjoy the local cafes and shops. Keep an eye on your belongings in crowded areas.
8. Teatro di San Carlo
Built in 1737, this theatre provides the city with a modern theatre with stunning architecture and a rich cultural program.
Travel Tip: Even if you don’t see a performance, consider a guided tour to appreciate the interior.
9. Complesso Monumentale di Santa Chiara
The Museum at Santa Chiara shows fragments of the original space destroyed in a fire and then restored. It’s a blend of history and art.
Travel Tip: Don’t miss the beautiful cloister garden, a peaceful oasis in the city.
10. Lungomare Caracciolo
This promenade was built on top of the old Neapolitan harbor and offers scenic walking areas and views of the sea.
Travel Tip: Perfect for a leisurely stroll, especially during sunset. Many dining options are available along the way.
11. Catacombe di San Gaudioso
A hidden gem run by volunteers in the heart of the Rione Sanità, these catacombs offer another glimpse into ancient burial practices.
Travel Tip: Combine this visit with the Catacombe di San Gennaro, as they are often offered as a joint ticket.
Unique Activities in Naples
1. Authentic Italian Pizza-Making Workshop
Join an authentic Italian pizza-making workshop and learn the secrets of creating the perfect pizza. Enjoy the hands-on experience and savor the delicious results accompanied by refreshing drinks.
Day Trips from Naples
1. Amalfi Coast
Experience the breathtaking beauty of the Amalfi Coast as you visit the charming towns of Positano and Amalfi. Wander through narrow streets lined with colorful buildings, enjoy stunning coastal views, and savor delicious seafood by the Mediterranean.
Travel Tip: Consider taking a ferry between Positano and Amalfi for a scenic coastal ride that offers fantastic photo opportunities.
2. Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius
Explore the ancient city of Pompeii, frozen in time by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Discover remarkably preserved ruins that tell the story of daily life in Roman times, then hike up Mount Vesuvius for panoramic views of the Bay of Naples.
Travel Tip: Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring plenty of water for the ascent up Mount Vesuvius, as it can get quite hot.
3. Capri Island
Embark on a journey to the picturesque island of Capri, known for its upscale atmosphere and natural beauty. Enjoy the stunning Blue Grotto, stroll through the charming streets, and take in the views from the Gardens of Augustus.
Travel Tip: To avoid crowds, consider visiting the Blue Grotto early in the morning and exploring the quieter Anacapri area in the afternoon.
Where to stay in Naples
Naples, Italy, a city undulating beside the Bay of Naples, offers a wide range of hotels to suit every traveler’s needs. With over 5,800 hotels and places to stay, the city’s accommodation options are as vibrant and diverse as its culture. From luxurious 5-star hotels overlooking the Bay of Naples to budget-friendly options in the bustling city center, Naples caters to families, couples, solo travelers, and business guests alike. The city’s rich history, delicious food, and energetic streets make it a must-visit destination, and the hotels in Naples provide the perfect base to explore this UNESCO World Heritage city.
1. Best Reviewed Hotel
Eurostars Hotel Excelsior (★★★★)
- Description: Overlooking the Bay of Naples, Hotel Excelsior features a terrace and a rooftop restaurant. Set 300 meters from Castel dell’Ovo, it offers air-conditioned rooms and free WiFi throughout.
- Price: €402 per night
- Rating: 8.6 (Fabulous)
2. Most Luxurious Hotel
Hotel Royal Continental (★★★★)
- Description: The Royal Continental is set right on Naples’ seafront promenade, in a quiet neighborhood. It offers elegant rooms and top-notch amenities.
- Price: €188 per night
- Rating: 8.0 (Very Good)
3. Budget Hotel
Hotel Ideal Boutique (★★★)
- Description: Located in the center of Naples, the Ideal is just opposite Piazza Garibaldi Train Station and 50 meters from a metro stop of brand-new Metro line 1. This family-run hotel offers en-suite rooms.
- Price: €93 per night
- Rating: 7.6 (Good)
4. Hotel for Family
Holiday Inn Naples, an IHG Hotel (★★★★)
- Description: The Holiday Inn Naples is a 4-star hotel located in the Centro Direzionale, the city’s business area. It offers family-friendly amenities and comfortable rooms.
- Price: €136 per night
- Rating: 7.8 (Good)
5. Hotel for Couples
Smart Hotel Napoli (★★★★)
- Description: Set in Naples, 500 meters from Maschio Angioino, Smart Hotel Napoli offers accommodation with a bar and a shared lounge. This 4-star hotel offers a concierge service and a tour desk, perfect for couples seeking a romantic getaway.
- Price: €105 per night
- Rating: 8.5 (Very Good)
6. Hotel for Solo Travelers
Hotel Alloggio Del Conte (Budget Hotel)
- Description: Hotel Alloggio Del Conte is set in Naples’ historic center and offers clean and comfortable rooms. It’s an ideal choice for solo travelers looking for value and convenience.
- Price: €79.33 per night
- Rating: 8.0 (Very Good)
Did you know? Facts about Naples
- Founded by Greeks in the first millennium BC, Naples is one of the oldest continuously inhabited urban areas in the world.
- Naples’ historic city centre is the largest in Europe and has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with nearby significant sites including the Palace of Caserta and the Roman ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
- The city has long been a global point of reference for classical music and opera through the Neapolitan School, contributing to its rich cultural heritage.
- Naples is famous for its culinary traditions, especially its association with pizza, and restaurants in the area have earned the most stars from the Michelin Guide of any Italian province.
- The city was the most-bombed Italian city during World War II, and it was the first Italian city to rise up against German military occupation.
- In 1839, Naples became the first city on the Italian peninsula to have a railway, with the construction of the Naples–Portici railway.
- The city’s architecture spans various styles, including Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque, and it has a total of 448 historical churches, making it one of the most Catholic cities in the world in terms of places of worship.
- Naples served as the capital of various historical states, including the Duchy of Naples, the Kingdom of Naples, and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, reflecting its political significance through history.
- The city has faced significant challenges, including waste disposal issues attributed to the activity of the Camorra organised crime network, and high unemployment, sparking public protests.
- Naples hosted international events such as the sixth World Urban Forum in September 2012 and the 63rd International Astronautical Congress in October 2012, showcasing its role as a global meeting place.
FAQ about Naples
What is the Historical Significance of Naples?
Naples, with a 2,800-year history, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited urban areas in the world. It has a rich cultural heritage, including medieval castles, Renaissance and Baroque styles, and the UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic center.
What are the Must-Visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Naples?
The historic center of Naples is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and nearby attractions include the Palace of Caserta and the Roman ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Where Can I Experience the Culinary Delights of Naples?
Naples is renowned for its association with pizza and numerous local dishes. Restaurants in the Naples area have earned the most stars from the Michelin Guide of any Italian province.
How Can I Explore the Architecture and Art of the Baroque Period in Naples?
Naples is considered a capital of the Baroque, with artists like Caravaggio having a significant influence in the city. Many examples of Gothic and Baroque architecture can be found, including the Naples Cathedral.
What are the Transportation Options in Naples, Italy?
Naples offers an advanced transportation network, including the Alta Velocità high-speed rail link to Rome and Salerno, and an expanded subway network. It was also the first city on the Italian peninsula to have a railway.
Where Can I Find the Best Views of Natural Beauties in Naples?
Naples is known for its natural beauties, such as Posillipo, Phlegraean Fields, Nisida, and Vesuvius. These locations offer breathtaking views and opportunities for exploration.
What Sports and Entertainment Options are Available in Naples?
Naples is home to the Serie A football club S.S.C. Napoli and offers a global point of reference for classical music and opera through the Neapolitan School.
How Has Naples Contributed to the Intellectual and Educational Development in Europe?
Naples was the site of the first university in Europe dedicated to training secular administrators. It has been an important center of humanism, Enlightenment, and intellectual growth, making it an intellectual center of the kingdom.