Naples is city the exudes vivacity, from its colorful and crowded streets to its lively local traditions.
No matter what time of year you plan to visit, here is a list of the top 5 things not to be missed in Naples.
1. Palazzo Reale and Environs
Located near the waterfront and Naples’s grand Piazza Plebiscito you’ll find the impressive Palazzo Reale, or Royal Palace, which was constructed in the beginning of the 17th century. After visiting the royal apartments, head across the street to the elegant Caffè Gambrinus for an espresso before exploring the nearby Galleria Umberto I and the Castel Nuovo.
2. Walk Along Spaccanapoli
The city of Naples comes alive in all its splendor, chaos and charm on the street colloquially known as Spaccanapoli, or “split Naples.” This street dates back to the ancient Greek and Roman city, and today it is one of the most lively and distinctly Neapolitan streets in the historic center. Begin in the Piazza del Gesù Nuovo and discover the traditional pizzerias and pastry shops, as well as some of the best monuments and churches in the city.
3. National Archaeological Museum
If you have time to visit Pompeii and Herculaneum during your time be Naples, be sure head to the ruins of the ancient cities destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD, which are located just outside the city. If not, don’t fret because some of the best treasures from the two ancient sites are today housed in the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, along with many other fine treasures. With works to wow any art enthusiast, this museum contains one of the most important collections of ancient art in the world. Be sure to see the Roman frescoes and wall paintings uncovered at Pompeii and the collection of marble sculptures.
4. Duomo of Naples
Naples is a city of churches, but one not to be missed is the Duomo or Cathedral of San Gennaro. From its Neo-Gothic façade built in the 1800s to the 4th century Baptistry, you can explore much of Naples’s lively history inside the Duomo. Below the church are archaeological remains from the Greek and Roman city. Don’t miss the Chapel of San Gennaro located on the center right of the nave, which is a resplendent Baroque design honoring the city’s patron saint and protector.
5. Enjoy a true Neapolitan Pizza
Naples is the Italian city for pizza, and many think that Italy’s famous dish was invented here. While the secret that makes Neapolitan pizza so divine has yet to be discovered, one bite and you’ll understand why purists proclaim the best pizza in Italy is made in Naples. Try the classic margherita pizza with San Marzano tomatoes, the region of Campania’s famous mozzarella cheese, a touch of basil and finished off with a extra virgin olive oil. Buon appetito!
Top 5 Popular Hotels in Naples, Italy:
- Hotel Piazza Bellini – 3-star hotel – double room from €64
- Hotel Palazzo Decumani – 4-star hotel – double room from €100
- Hotel Villa Capodimonte – 4-star hotel – double room from €75
- Chiaja Hotel De Charme – 3-star hotel – double room from €100
- Hotel Correra 241 – 3-star hotel – double room from €65
Photo of Piazza del Plebiscito, Naples, Italy, by Ken Mccown