The city of Naples (Napoli), in the southwestern part of the boot, is also among the largest cities in Italy and a prominent and very popular tourist destination in its own right. If you want to experience the real Italy, visit an authentic place with a rich history, spectacular local culture, and also great pizzas, Naples is definitely the right address. Around one million residents live in the city and the number of tourists there every year is huge. One of the reasons for this is the very wide selection of attractions and points of interest it offers, including those nearby, as well as its unique atmosphere.
In Naples, like other cities in Italy, there is a special combination between old and new. It has cathedrals and ancient churches as well as an archeology museum with findings dating back thousands of years, as well as innovative buildings. You can find restaurants with good international food and also local restaurants that give respect to the national dish, aka the well-known (and delicious) Neapolitan pizza. Naples can be visited in any season of the year thanks to its relatively comfortable weather. It is suitable for visiting young people, adults, and families with children. There is a selection of places to stay in it and in its immediate surroundings, and if you want to get there for a quick visit from another city, you can use the train, which goes there directly.
Naples, like other European cities and especially like small and large Italian cities, has a rich, ancient history, which is evident in each of its buildings. A stroll through it will bring visitors together with interesting historical sites, architectural buildings that tell their long-standing story, and unique points of interest that are an inseparable part of it and its history.
This magnificent royal palace is also used as a museum and especially as an important and prominent historical site in the city, which attracts crowds of visitors. It is located right in the city center and is hard to miss due to its impressive design. The Royal Palace of Naples was used by the royal family between 1735 and 1816 and then by the two Sicilies between 1816 and 1861. The construction of the current palace, which you can see in the city itself, began in the 17th century and was designed by the architect Domenico Fontana. The goal was to accommodate King Philip III of Spain during his visit, but it was not achieved and instead, he lived in the place of Viceroy Fernando Ruiz de Castro. Only in 1616 was the front of the building completed and in 1620 its interior paintings were replaced. In 1734 with the arrival of Charles III of Spain to Naples, the royal palace became the residence of the Bourbons and since then it has changed quite a few owners. During the second half of the 18th century, a new wing was added to the palace, which in 1927 became the National Library named after Vittorio Emanuele III. The library suffered severe bombings during World War II and the military occupation, which caused serious damage. Today, the palace and its surrounding grounds are home to the famous Teatro San Carlo, the smaller recently restored Teatro di Corta, as well as a museum and offices, including those belonging to the regional tourism board.
It is located in the center of Naples and is a prominent and important tourist spot in the city. Piazza del Flabiscito is surrounded by well-known historical buildings in the city, including the Royal Palace to its east and the Church of San Francesco di Paola, to its west. At the beginning of the 19th century, the king of Naples, Murat (who was Napoleon’s brother-in-law) planned the square and the building in it as a tribute to the emperor. Shortly after Napoleon was finally sent to Saint Helena, the Bourbons were restored to the throne and Ferdinand I continued its construction but converted the structure that was to be built there into a church, which we still see today. He dedicated it to Saint Francis, who stayed in the monastery in the same place in the 15th century. The church is reminiscent in its structure and design of the Pantheon in Rome and its facade has several columns. In its inner part, it is circular with two side chapels. The height of the dome is about 53 meters. As for the square itself, from time to time it is used for various events, such as concerts that are held in the open air, and over the years quite a few celebrities have performed there, such as Elton John, and Bruce Springsteen, and others.
This castle, often called Maschio Angioino, is a medieval castle located in front of Piazza Municipio and in front of the City Hall in the center of Naples. Its strategic location and its impressive size make it one of the main and prominent architectural landmarks in the city. The castle, whose construction was completed in 1279, was the seat of the kings of Naples, Aragon, and Spain until 1815. In its complex is also the civic museum today, which includes the Palatine Chapel.
While wandering around the city, it is hard not to notice this special chapel, one of the most beautiful and important points of interest in Naples. It is known, among other things, as the most decorated chapel in the Cathedral of Naples, where the works of the leading Baroque artists in Naples appear. Between the years 1526 and 1527, the city was in a state due to the occupation of the French, and added to all this was also a severe plague and the eruption of the Vesuvius volcano with accompanying earthquakes. The Neapolitans who survived the disasters undertook to build a chapel for their saint, St. Januarios and in 1601 appointed a committee from among the city’s selectmen whose purpose was to be responsible for its construction. Construction work began in 1608 and was completed in 1646. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the chapel was also used for various musical activities in the presence of important personalities.
This church is in the historical center of the ancient Greco-Roman city, at the meeting point of two roads: San Gregorio and di Tribunali. The name “San Lorenzo” may also refer to the museum opened there, as well as to the ancient Roman market located right below the church itself. It is, in fact, a church with a monastery. The new museum that was established on the site occupies the three floors above the razor and focuses entirely on the history of the area, with San Lorenzo in the center. It provides a detailed description of the local town hall that was destroyed to build the church in the 13th century and continues throughout the years, up to the present day. Below San Lorenzo are the findings of the original Roman market, with the site where they were found open to the public since 1992, the result of a 25-year in-depth excavation. This is the largest Greco-Roman site located in the city center and this is also the reason why it is also such a prominent and important tourist attraction.
This ancient street is one of the most important shopping streets in Naples, a bustling street full of locals and quite a few tourists. Its total length is almost 1.2 kilometers and it starts in Piazza Dante and ends in Piazza Trieste Trento. The street has known quite a few upheavals over the years and many buildings have been built on it. Between the years 1870 and 1980, the street was called “Via Roma” to celebrate the Italian unification, but following the opening of the “Toledo” metro station in 2012 and the closing of part of the street to traffic, its name was updated. There is also a very large number of religious buildings, important monuments, and interesting sites to stop in Toledo. Such as: Umberto I Gallery, Basilica del Spirito Santo, Palace of Rosa and more.
The special museums in Naples tell the story of the city and its immediate surroundings and are an excellent way to experience it in a slightly different way. Some of them are very large (like the archeology museum) and it is recommended to devote at least a whole day to them.
It is considered one of the most important museums in Italy, and for good reason. The National Archaeological Museum of Naples gives a place of honor to the masses of ancient and magnificent Roman remains displayed in its various rooms. Among the collections where one can find works from the Greek period, the Roman period, the Renaissance period, and especially Roman objects from Pompeii, Stabiae, and Herculaneum, which are close to the city. The building itself, where the museum is located, was built in 1585 and served, for several years, as the home of the University of Naples, and only in the 19th century did it become a museum.
This unique museum, located within the complex of a former monastery, is one of the important landmarks of Naples. Together with Castel Sant’Elmo, which stands next to the monastery, the two are considered two architectural buildings of great significance. The construction of the monastery was completed in 1368, under the reign of Queen Joan I. It was dedicated to St. Martin of Tours, when in the first half of the 16th century its area was expanded, and later it was expanded in the years until it became the same structure we see today. At the beginning of the 19th century, under French rule, the monastery was closed and abandoned. Today, the buildings on the site are used as a national museum with a display of objects from the Spanish and Bourbon periods as well as other important works.
If art interests you, don’t miss this museum. The Dona Regina Museum of Contemporary Art, also known as the Madera Museum, first opened to the public in 2005 and has been attracting many since then. Among the artists represented in the permanent collections where you can find Jeff Koons, Andy Warhol, Francesco Clemente, and many others. The museum also puts on temporary exhibitions, which are displayed, as well as the permanent ones, on its four different floors.
The museum, which is located in an ancient historic neighborhood in Naples, regularly hosts exhibitions of contemporary art in its many shades and forms (painting, sculpture, photography, graphics, video art and cinema, comics, etc.) and brings its visitors together with artists from the past and present, well-known artists as well, which is at the beginning of the road. The building where the museum is located was purchased by the municipality of Naples in 1984 and immediately began its restoration. In 1998, she turned it into a documentation center for contemporary arts, when later it expanded and slowly became a real museum in an area of 6,000 square meters with 3 floors and exhibition areas, a library, a space for educational activities, cafes, and more.
Naples is a city with a particularly rich and ancient historical past, and as befits such a city as well as the environment in which it is located, one can find both it and not far from it archaeological finds that are quite a few years old. Some of them are known all over the world and even remnants of them are displayed in various museums, and not only in those in the city itself. Even if you are not a fan of history or archaeology, you should not miss visiting them.
It is located east of Naples and is one of the most active and violent volcanoes on earth. In 79 AD, Vesuvius erupted with tremendous force and resulted in the destruction of important Roman cities, which were located right under it – the city of Pompeii and Herculaneum. To this day it is considered particularly dangerous and has erupted quite a few times. That strong excuse that happened in 79 AD is also the first recorded. A witness to the event, Pliny the Younger, documented that dramatic event and did so through drawings and written descriptions. It was an eruption that lasted for about 19 consecutive hours that caused the emission of volcanic ash that reached great distances. The inhabitants of Pompeii and the surrounding area (3,360 people) were buried under the ashes, as well as the animals and all the buildings there. The top of the mountain is open to visitors and in 1995 it was even declared a nature reserve. There are easy access paths that you can walk on and lovely slopes full of vineyards.
Almost everyone who comes to Naples stops to visit this special park, whose name has spread far and wide. The archaeological park of the city of Pompeii takes us back many, many years, to the grandeur of the ancient Roman city and allows us to discover many details about it and the daily life in ancient Rome. Beyond that, thanks to the findings in it, it is possible to learn just as much about the eruptions of the nearby Vesuvius volcano, the same mountain that led to its extinction. The history of Pompeii’s excavations began in the mid-18th century when Charles III of Bourbon began an excavation campaign after the great buzz made by the Herculaneum excavations. It was Rock Joaquín de Alcubierre who received the necessary approvals to continue the excavations, in search of the legendary city of Stabia, which turned out to be a resounding failure. The discovery of an inscription on a stone gave hope to archaeologists at the time who continued their search for the ancient city. In the second half of the 18th century, financed by the wife of Ferdinand IV – Maria Carolina of Austria, some of the most spectacular finds were found, which made the place a pilgrimage site: the Great Theater, the Odeon, the Triple Forum and later also the ancient city walls and Pompeii, which is a must stop. At the end of the 19th century, another investigative campaign began in the city of Pompeii, when later traces of men, women, animals, plants, and even foods were discovered that gave a more accurate picture of life in the ancient Roman cities.
When visiting the site, they discover a valuable historical document that takes visitors back years. Those antiquities and important finds were preserved thanks to the lava of the volcano and are particularly intriguing. You will be able to see, right in the place itself, the typical houses of that period, the spa, the markets, the center of social life, the great square, and other equally interesting finds.
The antiquities of the ancient Roman city of Herculaneum, which are located in the Gulf of Naples and near the seashore, are a very prominent tourist attraction in the region and, like the antiquities site in Pompeii, you can also learn a lot about the history of the place with their help. Herculaneum was also destroyed due to the eruption of the Vesuvius volcano, in 79 AD (along with Pompeii, the neighbor). The city’s inhabitants, as well as its various buildings, were buried under the fiery lava and completely annihilated. At the antiquities site, one can see today ancient baths, residential houses, wall paintings, entire streets, and rare archaeological finds that have been preserved to this day.
The suburb of Ophlontis, which was apparently one of the suburbs of Pompeii, was also destroyed following the eruption of the Vesuvius volcano, leaving magnificent antiquities that are part of a popular tourist site. The most prominent and important archaeological find in it is Villa Poppea, which was used by Poppea Sabina, the wife of Emperor Nero until she was murdered by him. Although they knew about this villa as early as the 18th century, it was only discovered in 1964, and thanks to it you can learn a lot about the history of the place. The villa, which includes an area of 3,000 square meters, is about 10 meters below the surface of the ground and is surrounded by a garden. Near the villa, you can find a long pool, which was only found at the end of the 20th century. It is believed that the villa was empty during the eruption of the volcano, as it passed Renovations at the same time due to a previous earthquake that happened in the place. Her roof, as well as the frescoes in the villa, have been well preserved and these represent the works of art that were typical of the Roman Empire period.