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Things to Know
Meaning “New City” both in Ancient Greek and Latin, the city of Naples, or Napoli, is the third largest city in Italy. It is said that Naples was the main catalyst in the merging of the Greek and Roman cultures, becoming the cultural heart of the Roman Republic. In modern times, Naples was often overshadowed by the glitzy nearby island of Capri, but recently this high energy city has come into its own with a thriving shopping scene, plenty of history, and an excellent culinary scene spearheaded by the famous Neapolitan style pizza that has earned Naples a place among the great culinary destinations of the world.
Things to See
National Archaeological Museum of Naples
This museums houses one of the richest and most valuable art and artifact collections in Italy. Don’t miss Canova’s statue of Ferdinand I of Bourbon in the middle of the monumental staircase of the museum.
Museo di Capodimonte
This impressive 18th century palace now houses the Museo di Capodimonte, the largest and richest art gallery in southern Italy. Its collection ranges from 12th century altarpieces to works by Caravaggio, Titian, and Warhol.
Castel dell’Ovo
Sitting on the former island of Megaride–now a peninsula–this is one of the city’s most striking landmarks. It boasts contemporary art exhibitions and breathtaking views of the gulf.
Royal Palace of Naples
Overlooking the majestic monumental area of Piazza del Plebiscito with its impressive facade of its 8 kings. Visit to admire grand halls, massive tapestries, beautiful works of art and fine, perfectly preserved furnishings.
Castel Sant’Elmo
Take the funicular to reach this medieval castle, with panoramic views of the city on one side and Vesuvius mountain on the other. At the Novecento Museum, you will find an impressive collection of 20th century Neapolitan modern art.
Castel Nuovo
A royal residence and fortress, Castel Nuovo stands in a dominant position by the sea. Take a tour of the medieval castle, admire its beautiful towers, its central country yard, and don’t miss the painted ceiling of Baron’s Hall.
Naples Cathedral
Also known as Cathedral of San Gennaro, this church is devoted to Saint Gennaro, the city’s patron saint. You’ll be amazed by its impressive marble facade and 4th century mosaics.
Things to Do
A walk along Via Caracciolo, the famous coastline of Naples, is undoubtedly one of the most leisurely activities in the city. The marina’s long and wide promenade is perfect for walking and enjoying the sea breeze, while offering a wide range of local restaurants. Framed between the Piazza Dante, Piazza Garibaldi, and Piazza Cavour, Naples’ UNESCO World Heritage Historic Center reflects the evolution of the city, with visible influences from the Greeks of the 8th century BC to Spanish Baroque style.
Enjoying a hearty slice of Neapolitan pizza in all its charred goodness straight out of the oven is an almost obligatory experience when visiting Naples. Of the numerous restaurants selling Neapolitan pizza throughout the city, Sorbillo in the historic center of Naples is widely believed to be the best, though getting in often means having to wait in line for more than an hour on most days. Come armed with a bit of patience and get to the restaurant before its opening hours to minimize waiting time.
The largest piazza in the city of Naples stands at six acres and is home to the Royal Palace of Naples where you will find the Royal House Museum as well as the largest library in southern Italy - Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III. Spend some time exploring the palace, enjoy a leisurely walk, and keep an eye out for changing art installations that often pop up on the piazza.
Naples is never short on excellent places to shop at. Head to the Chiaia District for luxury and specialty shops like Marinella that sells handcrafted ties that are famous throughout the world and Tramontano that is known for selling handmade leather handbags of exceptional quality. If you want to combine your shopping therapy with a bit of sightseeing, the Galleria Umberto 1 is a beautiful shopping arcade with a glass dome where you will find popular high-end retail stores like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Bulgari and Versace.
Get a glimpse of the daily life of ancient Romans by visiting the ruins of Pompeii and the nearby coastal town of Herculaneum, both cities buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. For the adventurous types, hike to the top of Mount Vesuvius, starting from Herculaneum’s castle and through the national park. Enjoy breathtaking views of the entire gulf, as you pass groves and vineyards. Taste the exquisite Lacryma Christi wine.