16 things to see in Naples: the best attractions and things to do

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Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Naples is one of the most beautiful and intense cities in Italy, for its cultural treasures, its nativity scenes, its squares and, of course, for the pizza and specialties, fully entered the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The centuries of traditions and folklore have also contributed to the charm of the Neapolitan city.

Are you ready to get to know this beautiful city better? So here's what they are the things to see absolutely in Naples, the best attractions and things to do!


  1. San Severo Chapel Museum and Veiled Christ
  2. Piazza del Plebiscito
  3. Spaccanapoli
  4. Underground Naples
  5. Bourbon Gallery
  6. Toledo metro station
  7. Cathedral and Treasury of San Gennaro
  8. Bosco and Capodimonte Museum
  9. Monumental Complex of Santa Chiara
  10. Castel Nuovo (Maschio Angioino)
  11. National archeologic museum
  12. Teatro San Carlo
  13. San Gregorio Armeno
  14. Castle of the Egg
  15. Via Chiaia and Palazzo Mannajuolo
  16. Giant's Fountain
  17. Other attractions to visit
  18. 12 things to do in Naples
  19. User questions and comments

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1 - San Severo Chapel Museum and Veiled Christ

The mystery hovers, inscrutable, inside the mystical Museo Cappella Sansevero in Naples, one of the attractions most targeted by tourists in the city. A successful mix of religious beliefs and esotericism surrounds the sumptuous interiors of the building.

But the Chapel is famous above all for hosting the Veiled Christ, a sculptural work of incomparable beauty created by Giuseppe Sanmartino. Many think that the veil that covers Christ is a real fabric, made rock by a liquid created by Prince Sansevero, the famous alchemist. Visiting the museum, however, you will discover that there is still much more to see, study, understand; something else to be deeply fascinated by.

Watch out for queues: the queue to enter can be very long, being one of the most sought after attractions in Naples. So get organized in time, we advise you to reach the entrance at opening hours, or to opt for a tour of the center with entrance to the Veiled Christ.

  • in via dei Tribunali, in the heart of the historic center. It can be reached on foot from the Monumental Complex of Santa Chiara (450 m, 5 min). Dante metro stop (line L1) - Get directions
  • Wed-Mon 09: 00-19: 00, closed Tue
  • full € 8,00, reduced € 5,00

2 - Piazza del Plebiscito

It is the symbol of the Neapolitan city, seat of very important concerts and meeting place for Neapolitans. A real must for tourists who plan their stay in the Campania capital, also because it is located right in the center of numerous other attractions and districts worth visiting.

Within the 25 thousand square meters that delimit the area, some of them are "set" like diamonds most important buildings in Naples: the classic colonnade of the church of San Francesco di Paola and the Royal Palace, which can be visited in all its splendor.

Reachable on foot from the Port of Naples (500 m, 6 min) or by tram 1 from Piazza Garibaldi. Nearby the Galleria Umberto I (200m, 2 min) and the Castel Nuovo (350, 5 min) - Get directions.

Also visit the Royal Palace: did you know that until 1994, this immense square full of important buildings was used as an urban car park? Fortunately, it is now pedestrianized and it is one of the most photographed places in Naples. If you have enough time, we recommend that you also visit the Royal Palace, right in front of the square.

3 - Spaccanapoli

If you want your stay in Naples not to resemble a romance, but instead you want to fully know the Campania metropolis, then you cannot avoid visiting the Spaccanapoli district, soul of the city and representation of the real life of the Neapolitans.

The district takes its characteristic name from the road that, from the Spanish Quarters to Forcella, it literally cuts the area in half for about 2km. In Spaccanapoli rather old buildings coexist, monuments of the highest historical importance, all the perfumes and liveliness of the Neapolitans. Immerse yourself totally in a "slice" of Neapolitan life.

Between horror and gamingAlong this road, in addition to the most important monuments of the historic center, there is the Ospedale delle Bambole, a museum where different anatomical parts of the dolls are exhibited, waiting to be fixed and to return to their owners.

4 - Underground Naples

The Naples Underground is definitely not an attraction for everyone, a structured tour in the "bowels" of the city through tunnels, galleries, cisterns, where poor lighting and mystery are the masters. For the more curious and reckless, however, it can prove to be a decidedly out of the ordinary experience.

The Neapolitan "subsoil", in fact, gives us the beauty of underground gardens, the War Museum and the Roman Theater of Nero. The Bourbon Gallery is also located underground, whose construction was strongly desired by Ferdinand II of Bourbon in 1853, within which resides a real, involuntary, collection of vintage vehicles.

Watch out for claustrophobic sufferers: although it is one of the must-see attractions of the city, a visit is not recommended if you suffer from claustrophobia, as the basements can be narrow and low. Therefore carefully consider whether to participate or not, as the visit lasts 2 hours.

  • official entrance of the Underground Naples in Piazza San Gaetano, near the Cathedral of Naples (240 m, 3 min). Dante metro stop (line L1) - Get directions
  • every day 10: 00-18: 00. To be booked on the official website
  • single € 10,00

5 - Bourbon Gallery

The Bourbon Gallery of Naples is another of the routes recently returned to the Underground Naples, but which deserves a description in itself, for the enormous historical importance and the suggestiveness that surrounds it. This tunnel, initially intended as a military route, was started in 1853 at the behest of King Ferdinand II; however, due to the expulsion of the Bourbons, it was never completed.

Over time, it then performed various functions such as, for example, that of a military shelter during the air raids of the Second World War: as evidence of this role, the toilets and numerous inscriptions, such as "Noi vivi" or "23 aprile 46", which can still be admired while walking in the bowels of the city. It must be said that, before being brought to new splendor, the Galleria Borbonica also unwittingly housed debris, waste and a car cemetery.

On a raft between the tanks: underground you can get on board a raft and visit the cisterns of the Bourbon Gallery.

  • in the historic center. It can be accessed from Vico del Grottone 4, 250 m from Piazza del Plebiscito (4 min walk) - Get directions / or from the Morelli car park, 800 m from the Villa Comunale (10 min walk) - Get directions
  • Fri, Sat, Sun and holidays admission 10:00, 12:00, 15:30 or 17:30. For more info and special dates see the official website
  • full € 10,00, reduced € 5,00

6 - Toledo metro station

Metro stops in Naples they can become real art galleries that can be visited by all: just get on the metro!

Toledo metro station is considered by the international press and tourists the most beautiful station in Europe, where the evocative Relative Light installation by Robert Wilson stands out. It is a work whose charm revolves around a simple but far from obvious principle: plays of light in shades of blue and blue to feel, even underground, part of the sky. An unusual way of transforming travel into a journey, the journey itself!

Toledo station is the reference metro to visit the Spanish Quarters, along the metro line 1 with Piazza Garibaldi terminus - Get directions

7 - Cathedral and Treasury of San Gennaro

The city of Naples is devoted to San Gennaro, patron saint and protagonist of the mystical "liquefaction of the blood of San Gennaro" on 19 September.

The Chapel and the Treasury, which belonged to the Saint with the "yellow face" (the most famous statue of San Gennaro is made, in fact, in gilded silver), are carefully kept in the famous Cathedral of Naples, also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Inside this elegant religious building there are also the paintings by Luca Giordano depicting the Apostles and frescoes by Domenichino. It is the Treasure of San Gennaro, however, the number one attraction of the Duomo: a collection of relics, objects, pieces in silver.

Also dear to Boccaccio: the great writer Giovanni Boccaccio set one of the novellas of the Decameron right inside the Cathedral of Naples. It is that of Andruccio da Perugia.

  • in the historic center, near the Sansevero Chapel (700 m, 6 min) and at the entrance of the tour to Naples Underground (240 m, 3 min) to be reached on foot. Naples Piazza Cavour metro stop (line L2) - Get directions
  • every day 8: 30-12: 30 and 14: 30-19: 00
  • full € 8,00, reduced € 5,00

8 - Wood and Capodimonte Museum

The extraordinary National Museum of Capodimonte, highly visited in Naples, was born thanks to the surprising decision of Carlo di Borbone di convert his hunting lodge, located in the Capo di Monte wood, in a palace-museum. It was 1738.

The museum, structured in 3 floors, It houses very important works belonging to the Farnese Collection donated to Bourbon by his mother, later enlarged with more recent pieces. From Raphael to Botticelli, up to the most recent paintings by Goya, Burri and the pop art works of Warhol, numerous masterpieces are housed inside the rooms of the Capodimonte Museum. To reserve also an hour at least to enjoy the beauty and peace of the surrounding forest. It is the ideal place to walk if you want to relax, to play sports or enjoy the view from the top of Naples, before entering.

  • north of the historic center. Metro L2 to Piazza Cavour, then bus 168 or 178 to Capodimonte stop (15 min) - Get directions
  • Museum Thu-Mar 8: 30-19: 30, Wed closed / Bosco di Capomonte October, February and March 7: 00-18: 00, from November to January 7: 00-17: 00, from April to September 7:00 -19: 30
  • full € 10,00, reduced € 2,00

9 - Monumental Complex of Santa Chiara

The important religious building is the backbone of a larger monumental complex dedicated to the Saint and is located in the heart of the historic center, nestled in its narrow alleys.

The gothic basilica is composed of 4 monumental cloisters, surrounded by 66 pillars with as many arches and embellished with beautiful yellow majolica tiles, which reflect some bucolic scenes and ancient traditions, emblem of the brightness of the Neapolitans and undoubtedly famous all over the world for their imagination.

Discover Giotto in the Basilica: the Basilica of Santa Chiara is a fragment that testifies the passage of the famous painter Giotto in Naples. Under several layers of stucco, in fact, it is possible to recognize some of its frescoes, but only in the company of an authorized guide.

  • in the historic center, near the Sansevero Chapel (450 m, 5 min) and via San Gregorio Armeno (600 m, 7 min), to be reached on foot. Dante metro stop (line L1) - Get directions
  • lun-sab 9:30-17:30, dom 10:00-14:00
  • full € 6,00, reduced € 4,50

10 - Castel Nuovo (Maschio Angioino)

It is one of the undisputed symbols of the city, known to the world with the name of Maschio Angioino. It is the postcard of entry when you arrive in Naples by sea, as this imposing castle overlooks the harbor.

Five imposing towers make up this fortress, as striking on the outside as it is interesting on the inside. The Sala dei Baroni hosts the meetings of the Neapolitan Municipal Council, while near the attraction you can visit the majestic Galleria Umberto I, a nineteenth-century commercial gallery built in liberty style, the San Carlo Theater and Piazza del Plebiscito.

Why Maschio Angioino? It owes its name of Maschio Angioino to the presence of very high towers (called male, tower) and to the strong influence of the D'Angiò family in the Neapolitan culture.

  • overlooking the sea, easily reachable on foot from the port (550 m, 7 min) and the San Carlo Theater (200 m, 3 min). Municipio metro station (line L1) - Get directions
  • Mon-Sat 9: 00-19: 00, Sun variable hours and discounted or free admissions
  • full € 6,00, free for children under 18

11 - National Archaeological Museum

Due to the importance of the works kept inside, the National Archaeological Museum of Naples is considered one of the most important in the world.

È divided into three sections, that of the Fernese collection, that dedicated to the finds in the Archaeological Park of Pompeii and the Egyptian Section. It also houses important Greek, Roman and Etruscan finds, with more than 3.000 exhibits ranging from ancient history to the modern age. Of particular interest, because it is unusual to find it inside such a precious museum, is the Secret Cabinet, a wing of the Museum dedicated to erotic works, so dear to the artists who made the city of Pompeii great. Among the curiosities, what today is the Museum, was first a riding school and then the seat of the University of Naples.

Visit the Museum with a guide: given the vastness and importance of the works inside, the advice is to visit it with a guide. If you prefer to move alone, at least use the audio guide. If you are short on time, have a map and plan your tour in advance to make sure you don't miss the most important works.

  • in the historic center. From the Piazza Garibaldi station, by underground to the Piazza Cavour stop, 800 meters (11 minutes on foot) from the Sansevero Chapel - Get directions
  • Wed-Mon 9: 00-19: 30, closed Tues
  • full € 15,00, students € 5,00, reduced € 2,00

12 - San Carlo Theater

The San Carlo Theater is probably the oldest opera house in Europe and in the world to be still active today. Already simply in Italy, it precedes by several years those equally famous as the Teatro alla Scala in Milan or La Fenice in Venice.

It was built in 1737 at the behest of Charles of Bourbon, but it had a troubled history which however contributed to its maximum splendor: in 1816, in fact, a fire devastated its main hall, which was rebuilt in just nine months, while during the Second World War it was destroyed by bombing. Also in this case the reconstruction was immediate and the San Carlo was the first theater to restart in the post-war period.

It boasts the distinction of having been the first to set up a dance school and, over time, it has seen very important artists such as Bellini, Paganini or Nureyev perform, precisely for classical dance.

  • in the center, reachable on foot from 160 meters (2 minutes) from PIazza del Plebiscito (160 m, 2 min) and from Maschio Angioino (220 m, 3 min). Municipio metro station (line L1) - Get directions
  • guided tours with different routes, every day 10: 30-12: 30 and 14: 30-16: 30. Consult the official website
  • depending on the route, from € 7,00 to € 15,00. Consult the official website

13 - San Gregorio Armeno

È the neighborhood of the cribs, the place where Christmas is all year round: San Gregorio Armeno, in the heart of the historic center of Naples, is in fact the street where the nativity shops of the whole city gather. Here you can admire the masters at work, in order to create all the elements that enrich the traditional nativity scene: terracotta shepherds dressed in very precious clothes, cork houses and much more.

In addition, displayed on the stalls, every year it is also possible meet famous people which have caused a stir during the last twelve months and which, therefore, earn a place of honor among the merchandise of shopkeepers. Very important is also the church of San Gregorio Armeno, which stands on the remains of the temple of Ceres Attica and which inside is embellished with a story in 52 episodes by Luca Giordano (every day 9: 00-12: 00, entrance free).

The street of San Gregorio Armeno is located in the historic center, 400 m (4 min walk) from the Museum of the Treasure of San Gennaro. Dante metro stop (line L1) - Get directions.

Watch out for the crowd: being the street of the cribs, it is literally stormed during the Christmas period. In order not to be overwhelmed by the crowds, we advise you not to visit it between November and December, and in general to walk it early in the morning, as soon as the shops open.

14 - Castel dell'Ovo

The Castel dell'Ovo is the castle of Naples which rises in the middle of the sea, on the islet of Megaride and visible from the whole seafront of via Caracciolo.

It is a suggestive and mystical place because, precisely around its realization, a legend revolves about an egg that Virgil would have hidden inside a cage in the dungeons of the castle. These dungeons were then declared inaccessible precisely to protect the egg, whose destruction or loss would lead to serious disasters for the city of Naples and its people.

It is a very ancient castle, so he closely observed various vicissitudes of Naples and its dominations: from the st century BC to the Middle Ages, from the Aragonese to the Bourbons, the Castel dell'Ovo he has always protected the city and today lives a new life thanks to the renovations undertaken in 1975.

Pass by Borgo Marinari: after the visit, we advise you to take a stroll in Borgo Marinari, right at the foot of the Castle. It is one of the most beautiful places in Naples and is perfect for enjoying typical fish dishes! Among the best places are the Zi Teresa Restaurant, the Transatlantico and the Bersagliera. Here once upon a time people like Totò and Sofia Loren stopped to eat.

  • on the Caracciolo seafront, 1 km (11 min on foot) from Piazza del Plebiscito and 1,5 km (18 min) from Maschio Angioino; the seafront is a pedestrian zone - Get directions
  • Mon-Sat 9: 00-18: 30, Sun and holidays 9: 00-13: 00
  • free

15 - Via Chiaia and Palazzo Mannajuolo

Together with via dei Mille, via Chiaia is the street of Naples dedicated to luxury shopping: it is located in the homonymous district of the city and ideally starts from Piazza Trieste e Trento, to end in Piazza dei Martiri, a stone's throw from the sea. That it was an important road, dedicated to recreation and free time, can be seen from two historical places that have made the history of Naples, especially in culinary terms: the Gambribus café, which really starts the street, and the famous Brandi pizzeria, where in 1889 the pizza Margherita was born, symbol of the city.

But via Chiaia is not just shops. In fact, along the way there are numerous prestigious buildings that have been an active part of the history of the Neapolitan capital, such as Palazzo Cellammare, the church of Sant'Orsola or the Sannazzaro Theater.

Between one shop and another, don't forget to go to Via Filangeri, in the heart of the Chiaia district, where the Palazzo Mannajuolo, a palace with a hybrid architecture, which mixes traditional features with some more modern and futuristic ones.

Do not miss the staircase of Palazzo Mannajuolo: it is one of the most photographed "secret" glimpses of Naples. Stand exactly under the stairs, in the center, look up at the other and take the photo of the flight of stairs that creates a perfect play of lines.

  • Via Chiaia is completely pedestrianized, 300 m (4 min on foot) from Piazza del Plebiscito and 600 m (8 min) from Maschio Angioino, facing the port. Municipio metro stop (line L1) - Get directions
  • Palazzo Mannajuolo Mon-Sat 8: 00-18: 00, Sun closed
  • free

16 - Fountain of the Giant

Located on the seafront of Naples, the Fontana del Gigante is definitely one of the most beautiful fountains in Italy. Consisting of three round arches, this celebratory fountain was ordered by Antonino Alvarez of Toledo and was designed and built by Pietro Bernini and Michelangelo Naccherino.

Above the arches there are the coats of arms that symbolize the city, with the king and viceroy of the time. There are several connections to the water inside: in the central arch there is a fountain supported by two marine animals, while in the two lateral arches two river gods are represented.

In the heart of the historic center, on the seafront. It can be easily reached on foot from the Castello dell'Ovo (350 m, 4 min) and from Piazza del Plebiscito (700 m, 9 min). Municipio metro stop (line L1) - Get directions

Other attractions to visit

Naples is a city full of attractions, those described above are however the most popular with visitors and, certainly, the most emblematic. For those who have more days available, can insert the Certosa di San Martino (€ 6,00) which offers a magnificent panorama over the city as well as the Castel Sant 'Elmo (€ 5,00), both in the Vomero district.

For those who love shopping, also at Vomero, you cannot miss the elegant Via Scarlatti, or via Toledo, in the center. The famous ones are also located near via Toledo Spanish Neighborhoods, a very ancient area of ​​Naples, the truest and most authentic one. It is impossible to miss a walk in this area, but it is not recommended to visit in the evening or when it gets dark! And elegance is also found in the streets of the neighborhoods Mergellina and Posillipo, the most luxurious in the city, which not only offer elegant palaces and villas, but also an unmissable view of the Gulf of Naples. Of course, however, the best postcard you can have of Naples is the Caracciolo seafront, which runs along the Castel dell'Ovo.

Finally, for lovers of green areas and relaxation, there is the possibility to always visit theBotanical Garden or the Virgilian Park. On the seafront is the Villa Comunale di Napoli park, inside which there are the Aquarium and a small city beach, the Mappatella Beach.

Finally, fans or not, another symbol of Naples is the stadium, recently named after Diego Armando Maradona. A photo with the San Paolo in the background is absolutely a must!

12 things to do in Naples

/ 12
  1. Gambrinus coffee: it is the best known bar in Naples, famous for its coffee. It is located a few meters from Piazza del Plebiscito and the main shopping street
  2. Neapolitan Pizza Course: try your hand at preparing the authentic Neapolitan pizza in a famous pizzeria in the city with a pizza chef! Take advantage of the tips on dough, seasoning and cooking. Info and prices here
  3. Wallet folded pizza: it is a characteristic of Naples, especially of the pizzerias in the historic center and of the area called Portalba, that is to eat the pizza margherita folded in four parts, without sitting at the table
  4. Certosa di San Martino and panorama: both during the day and especially at night, San Martino is the most suitable and romantic place in Naples, where you can admire the Certosa and the panorama of the whole city up to Vesuvius
  5. The sfogliatelle: whether it is curly or shortcrust, the sfogliate, or sfogliatelle, are a typical sweet from Campania and nowhere else can they be tasted like this. The bars in Piazza Garibaldi are very famous
  6. Neapolitan street food: not just pizza and sfogliatelle, food in Naples is a real culture! Then discover all the delicacies with a local guide, who will be able to lead you on this culinary journey! Info and prices here
  7. Urban trekking: in Naples it is possible to "trekking" in the city. So arm yourself with comfortable shoes and water and walk along the Petraio ramps, which connect the Vomero with the Chiaia district. There are more than 135 stairways, but it offers incredible views over the city
  8. Discover the Rione Sanità: stroll around the neighborhood admiring the street art works on the facades of the buildings, created for a redevelopment project in some areas of Naples. Stop at the Mercatino Dei Vergini, with local products! Finally, take a photo at Palazzo Sanfelice, the most instagrammable and photographed palace in the neighborhood
  9. Excursion to the Amalfi Coast: if you have enough days available, we recommend that you dedicate a day along the wonderful Amalfi Coast! All inclusive tour from Naples from € 75,00
  10. Excursion to the ruins of Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius: Visit Vesuvius and the ruins of Pompeii, immerse yourself in history and nature and discover one of the most famous volcanoes in the world! 1 day tour from Naples from € 90,00
  11. Gulf islands tour: take advantage of a beautiful sunny day and set off to discover Capri and Procida, which are less than an hour from the city port. 1 day tour from Naples from € 115,00
  12. Excursion to the Royal Palace of Caserta: yes, the beauty of Naples is also having such rich surroundings! Another must is the Royal Palace of Caserta, one of the most famous attractions in Campania. Recommended a day tour from Naples, info and prices here

Plan your stay in Naples: flights and hotels

Naples can be visited at any time of the year, thanks also to the Mediterranean climate which makes winter mild too. Well connected thanks to a large port and Capodichino International Airport (compare flights - from € 20,00).
At first sight it can be chaotic, our advice is to visit it first with a guided tour, to get familiar with the city and identify the landmarks. Alternatively, there's the evergreen hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus.

If you have a low cost budget, even in the historic center near Piazza Garibaldi you will find cheap accommodation (compare the accommodation on booking - from € 30,00) and take advantage of the local street food, tasty and very cheap, such as the famous wallet pizza or cuoppo. If you have more availability, the Vomero or Mergellina districts are the most elegant and, among other things, they are also the most suitable neighborhoods if you travel with children, as they are less chaotic.

The best way to get around is the metro or the tram but, within the historic center, you can easily walk around. Remember that Naples is a lively city even at night and, if you want to experience its nightlife, you can go to the "baretti" of San Pasquale or the chalets of Mergellina.

If you are traveling with children, you can visit the big parks, walk along the promenade and take them to taste the local delicacies, they will surely love the sweets!

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