For a taste of all things Southern Italy, a visit to the large metropolitan city of Naples is a must. It’s the second most populated metropolitan area after Milan and has plenty to see for the curious traveler looking to be immersed in all things Southern Italy style. Naples has one of the largest historical centers worldwide, and it’s even named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In fact, Naples also has the highest number of historical monuments and churches for a single city in the world as well. The city is divided up into five districts:
1- Historic Center: This area is most popular with tourists and is known for its excellent pizzerias, barouque churches, vibrant nightlife, and ample souvenir shopping.
2- Agano: Here you’ll find ample thermal springs and the ruins of Roman baths as well as one of the city’s largest discos.
3- Posillipo and Chiaia: There are plenty of Roman ruins here as well as a famous view of the whole city. Here you can also take a walk by the sea as well as find an abundance of palaces, barouque churches, and charming gardens.
4- Arsenella and Vomero: This is a much quieter part of the city with plenty of trees, villas, churches, and even castles to see.
5- San Carlo all’Arena: Here you’ll find the largest monumental palace of Naples, as well as an ancient graveyard, and other historical monuments.
You can arrive in Naples via the international airport known as Capodichino Airport (NAP).
Summer proves to be as very hot time in Naples. The ideal times for a visit would be in the spring and summer. Winter is more temperate than most of Italy in Naples as well due to it being near the coast.
Things to do in Naples: What to See?
The National Archaeological Museum of Naples: Here you’ll find one of the most extensive collections of Greek and Roman antiquities. From sculptures and mosaics to glass, silver, and gems, it’s all here to see. There’s also a collection of Roman erotica from Pompeii as well. In fact, a large majority of artifacts are from the Pompeii region. In the Coins and Metals room, you’ll come across over 200,000 pieces from Ancient Greece and Rome, as well as from medieval times and the Bourbon Era. The museum is closed on Tuesdays so be sure to plan your Naples itinerary accordingly.
Piazza del Plebiscito: Located at the center of modern Naples, here on the plaza you’ll find a very large domed church, and the Royal Palace (Palazzo Reale). Inside the palace you can find beautifully restored rooms and royal apartments. Don’t forget to go up to the roof garden where you’ll see lovely views of the bay.
Castelnuovo (Maschio Angioino): This huge medieval castle is a must see for those who are fans of medieval architecture or just castles in general. It also houses the city’s main museum that’s home to many different types of collections but focuses mostly on 19th century Italian painting. And also leave time for a trip up to the roof, where you’ll be able to take in one of the best views of the city.
Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte: This impressive museum houses a vast array of artistic styles including the Burgia, Farnese, and Borbon collections as well as a main selection of Renaissance and Baroque paintings. Famous artists displayed here include Caravaggio, Tizian, Giovanni, Bellini, and Giordano. There’s also a lovely park that surrounds the museum for a nice relaxing stroll.
Things to do in Naples: Where to Eat?
You can’t go to Naples and not eat pizza! One of Naples’ claim to fame is that it’s the city is where pizza was invented. Wherever you go in Naples, you’re bound to find a pizzeria around the corner, and it’s pretty difficult to find a bad pizza here. The typical pizza has a thicker dough than say in Rome or Florence and it’s a bit more chewy. Check out Pizzeria Brandi for an authentic taste of their pizza margherita, the place where that style of pizza was born. Pizza in Naples tends to be simple. They aren’t into loading it down with too many ingredients because they say you will lose the true authentic flavor of the pizza itself. Napoletana cuisine also features an abundance of seafood. Sauces here tend to be bases on tomatoes, local red wines, extra-virgin olive oil, and garlic. If you like your food on the spicier side, try an arrabbiata or fra diavolo sauce, which has hot pepper added. Fresh Mozarella is also found here, so fans of this versatile cheese should indulge heartily while visiting Naples. Travelers with a sweet tooth will be happy to know that Naples is also famous for their many types of pastries, including baba, jaka pastier, and sfogliatella.
Things to do in Naples: Nightlife
Naples has seen a positive resurgence of their nightlife scene thanks to an influx of the younger crowd. Check out the bars and cafes on Piazza Bellini, Piazza Santa Maria la Nova, and Piazza San Domenico Maggiore. You’re also bound to find many lively bars around the Piazza dei Martiri. Also, if you’re looking for a break from the city, near the outskirts close to the port and boardwalk of Pozzuoli, you’ll find many bars and clubs as well.
Things to do in Naples: Where to Stay?
Staying in Naples can be a tricky thing, depending on where it is you stay. Like all cities, there are budget, mid-range, and expensive options, but it’s best to really do your research when it comes to making the final decision on where to stay. This is because it’s not uncommon to experience hot 82 water shortages, power outages, and a not so comfortable bed in some of the lower end hotels. There are many affordable bed and breakfasts throughout Naples for those looking to keep things within their travel budgets. Hostels are always an option too for those single travels or backpackers looking for a cheap night’s stay. There are also some five-star hotel options too, along with the more upscale resort style of accommodation as well.
Things to do in Naples: Naples Tours & Attractions