Colorful, picturesque, historical, passionate, cultural, chaotic and tasty, Naples is a city that will not leave you indifferent. It is also very close to authentic gems such as Capri, Herculaneum, Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast. Let's take a look at the 10 must-see places in and around Naples.
1. Walk along the great Piazza del Plebiscito
The immense Piazza del Plebiscito, one of the largest in Italy, is also one of the greatest emblems of Naples. Located at the end of Via Toledo, you can observe the everyday life of the city and visit the important buildings that surround it, such as the Royal Palace, Palazzo Salerno, the Basilica of San Francesco di Paola and the Palace of the Prefecture.
A good way to know all the history of Piazza del Plebiscito is to visit it within a guided walking tour of the city::.
2. Walk through the majestic Galleria Umberto I
Near the Piazza del Plebiscito you will find another of the fundamental sites to see in Naples, the formidable Galleria Umberto I. Similar to Milan's Galleria Victor Emmanuel II, this elegant shopping passage is made up of 4 corridors with marble floors and covered by an iron and glass structure that converge under an impressive dome.
The visit to this gallery is included in several walking tours of Naples. Take the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing moment strolling through the various stores it houses or having a typical ** espresso coffee in one of its cafes.
3. Enter the Cathedral of Naples
The Metropolitan Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta or San Gennaro is the most important religious building in Naples. This magnificent cathedral was erected in 1314, over a previous temple dedicated to the god Apollo, and presents a mixture of styles, between Gothic, Baroque and Neo-Gothic.
Its interior houses works of great value, such as the oldest baptistery in the West and the unforgettable 'Treasure Chapel', which holds more than 50 silver figures, including that of the patron saint of Naples, San Gennaro, with his blood.
Hours: Monday to Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., with free admission.
4. Surprise yourself with the Castel dell'Ovo
Naples is a city of impressive fortifications. The Castell dell'Ovo, literally 'Castle of the Egg', is one of the best, both for its imposing architecture, as for the views that gives its Terrazza dei Cannoni of the Gulf of Naples, as for the legend that hide its walls and that gave it its curious name.
According to legend, the Latin poet Virgil, considered a magician in the Middle Ages, hid an egg in its foundations. It was said that as long as the egg was not broken, the castle and the city would be protected. If you want to know all its history and details, tour this castle as part of a guided tour of Naples:.
Opening hours**: from Monday to Saturday from 9.00 am to 7.00 pm (closed on Sundays at 1.00 pm)
5. Taste the world's most authentic pizza
To know a place is also to understand its gastronomy. In Naples this is especially important when you discover that this city is the birthplace of one of the most popular foods in the world, pizza. It was there that pizzaiolo Raffaele Esposito prepared a dough with tomato, mozzarella, oil and basil in honor of Queen Margherita and the Italian flag and the authentic Margherita pizza was born.
But the gastronomic tradition of the city does not stop there, it should also be savored in dishes such as its pizza a portafoglio (folded), limoncello, mozzarella di Bufala, taralli, pastiere or stuffed croquettes.
Most famous pizzerias in Naples
You will be lucky if you find a table at L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele, the most popular and scene of movies like 'Come, Pray, Love', but you will also taste the best pizzas of your life at Gino Sorbillo, Napoli in Bocca, Pizzeria Sorbillo or Di Matteo. A gastro route through Neapolitan street food: will help you to know the best places to enjoy these flavors.
Vicky's Traveller tip
Naples is a fascinating city that can be covered on foot and in a trip of about 3 days, but if you don't want to miss its wonderful surroundings, reserve a couple of extra days for your trip.
6. Approach the Castel Nuovo (Maschio Angioino)
The Castel Nuovo is a medieval fortress in Renaissance style built in 1282 and another symbol of Naples. A cultural center and defense fortress in the past, today it is home to the Civic Museum and a stage for shows. Its interior has been restored, although there are remains of the fourteenth century as the Capella Palatina, but just to approach and see its moat and the great wall that connects its five towers is worth it.
Opening hours**: Monday to Saturday from 9.00 am to 7.00 pm (closed on Sundays at 1.00 pm)
7. Stroll through Spaccanapoli
The original Naples is here, in Spaccanapoli. Its name, in Spanish 'rompenápoli', is due to the fact that it is the area that divides the old city between north and south, going from the also interesting 'quartieri spagnoli' (Spanish quarters) to the Forcella district. Here you will enjoy scenes of real Neapolitan life, with its street artists, chaotic streets crowned by rows of clothes hanging and many motorcycles.
In addition, this area is home to several of the places of interest to see in Naples, such as the Duomo, the Piazza del Gesù or the Basilica di San Domenico Maggiore, which you can visit on a walking tour accompanied by a guide if you want to enrich your visit.
8. Descend into the bowels in 'Underground Naples'.
Hidden beneath the narrow streets of Naples lies another city, a subway one, which hides a fascinating history and one of the largest tunnel networks in Europe. The origin of this 'subway Naples', 40 meters deep, dates back to the Greeks, who dug it as subway water reservoirs.
It was expanded in Roman times as a quarry for the construction of the city and was used as an air raid shelter during the Second World War. This area ended up becoming a giant garbage dump that remained in oblivion until the 19th century, when it was rescued and became one of the main attractions of Naples that you can enjoy with a guided tour:.
9. Visit the National Archaeological Museum in Naples
The National Archaeological Museum is the cultural must-see in Naples as it is considered one of the most relevant archaeological in Europe. Housed in a palace dating back to 1585, it is advisable to take a guided tour of its huge collection, which is divided into 4 floors and houses important remains from the ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, works from Ancient Egypt and a formidable Hall of the Sundial, reminiscent of the Salone del Cinquecento of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.
Opening hours: Wednesday to Monday from 9:00 to 19:30.
10. Discover the breathtaking surroundings of Naples
Staying alone in the city of Naples, although it is able to satisfy the curiosity of any traveler, is to miss much of the richness that treasures the beautiful region of Campania. I recommend reserve a few days of your trip to get to know the surroundings of Naples, where you can travel in the most comfortable way and in the day thanks to the multitude of organized tours that cover the best things to see in the surroundings of Naples.
You will be able to see authentic wonders such as the idyllic island of Capri:, fascinating cities such as Pompeii and Herculaneum and the volcano that buried them centuries ago, the imposing Mount Vesuvius:or take an unforgettable tour of the Amalfi Coast:, one of the most beautiful in Italy and declared a World Heritage Site for idyllic villages such as Sorrento, Amalfi and Positano:.