24 Interesting Things to do in Naples, Italy on a Vacation

things to do in naples

Neapolitan life is unlike anything else, even if you’ve been to other Italian cities. Naples is Italy’s second-most populated city, located on the Tyrrhenian Sea’s western coast. Also, 975,000 people live in this massive metropolis, which is Italy’s third-largest city in terms of population, behind only Rome and Milan.

With a long and illustrious history dating back to the seventh century BC, the city has been under the control of the Byzantine Empire, the French Empire, the Spanish Empire, and the Austrian Empire, all of which have left their mark. Naples’s little neighborhood streets, vast promenades, and parks are all worth seeing in and of themselves, aside from the cathedrals, palaces, and museums that you’ll come across when traveling the city. Let’s take a look at some of the best things to do in Naples, starting with:

Cappella Sansevero

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Image credits: Italian Ways

The Cappella Sansevero was built in 1590 as a private chapel for the Sansevero family. When Raimondo de Sangro, Prince of Sansevero, built it in the 18th century, he lavishly ornamented it in Baroque style. The most astonishing visual characteristics of the ethereal Veiled Christ by Sammartino (1753) and two other paintings display the figures draped in what appears to be a translucent tissue of marble. Another sculpture, carved from a single block of marble, depicts a masculine figure partially wrapped in a net that appears to be free-falling in some areas.

According to the curators, the Anatomical Machines, which use wire, silk, and beeswax to show the human circulatory system and muscles on actual skeletons, are the most intriguing displays in the chapel. The Prince’s odd collection, together with the Masonic symbolism he incorporated into the chapel, naturally prompted a flood of stories about him and the scientific experiments he did in his adjacent palace, which were later published.

Lungomare and Castel Ovo

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Take a stroll down the shoreline, which serves as the city’s ancient entryway to the Mediterranean and the world. Also, piers and breakwaters divides the Naples port into a number of docks and basins. The 2.4-kilometer-long Lungomare runs along Via Partenope and Via Francesco Caracciolo in the Chiaia area. The Lungomare offers amazing views across the harbor to Mount Vesuvius and a variety of dining options. Take a stroll through this area, taking in the sights and the lively environment, and then treat yourself to a slice of Margherita pizza, which most people consider to be Naples’ contribution to culinary history.

On a rocky outcrop near Via Francesco Caracciolo, the Castel Ovo is Naples’ oldest castle. In addition to providing a superior perspective of the harbor, ferries, bay, and Mt. Vesuvius, it also has an Ethno-Prehistory Museum that contains ceramics and other things from ancient Naples, as well as other attractions.

The Port of Naples is busiest outside the castle, where cruise ships dock and ferries sail for Sicily, Sardinia, and other locations. Boats to Ponza, Capri, and Ischia depart at the Calata di Beverello pier. In addition, the seaport is in the heart of Naples, the main port for southern Italian marine trade.

Capodimonte Royal Palace and Museum

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Image credits: Dreams Time

Originally built as a hunting lodge for King Charles III, the Palazzo Reale di Capodimonte grew in importance as the monarchy’s official residence and a repository for the Farnese collection, which he had inherited. There are also portraits of members of ruling families in the collection, and it served as the foundation for the National Gallery (Galleria Nazionale), which is today located in this location. In addition to Titians, the museum’s collection of more than 500 paintings includes works by Mantegna, Caravaggio, Raphael, Botticelli, El Greco, Bellini, and other Neapolitan artists from the 17th and 18th centuries.

The royal apartments feature furniture, tapestries, pottery, and other items from the Bourbon and Savoy dynasties. In addition, Located in the heart of the city, the Salottino di Porcellana is a small chamber totally clad in porcelain.

King Charles III created the Capodimonte workshops to produce ceramics in the palace’s former hunting grounds. This extraordinarily beautiful art became popular, and visitors could see the examples at the Santa Chiara monastery. Spazieren through the beautiful park, past crumbling statues and a little pond, and along walkways shaded by towering trees.

Catacombs of San Gennaro

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Image credits: Catacomb Be Di Napoli

Although similar to Roman catacombs, the San Gennaro Catacombs are more ambitious in architectural design and include finer artwork. The upper catacomb vaulting also has frescoes from the late second century, dating from its construction. The underground church includes three naves cut from the stone and ornamented with murals from the fourth to sixth centuries.

Despite its countless changes, the basilica near the tombs is a wonderful example of early Christian architecture. After substantial renovation throughout the Aragonese era in the 14th and 15th centuries, its main construction still stands today.

Galleria Borbonica (Bourbon Tunnel)

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Image credits: Napolike

One of the most intriguing things to do in Naples is to visit the unfinished Galleria Borbonica. It was built in the nineteenth century on King Ferdinand II’s orders to allow escape from the Royal Palace to the military barracks on what is now Via Morelli. Despite never being completed, the cut tunnels were used as an air raid shelter and an emergency hospital during WWII. Cisterns as well as debris and remains from its numerous functions are visible during excursions.

National Archeological Museum

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Image credits: Discover Greece

Numerous artefacts unearthed during early Pompeii excavations and transported to the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples. More of the city’s aesthetically pleasing elements are on display here than there are of its physical location. Also on display are the art treasures of the monarchs of Naples, Farnese collections from Rome and Parma, collections from the palaces of Portici and Capodimonte, and items from the archaeological sites of Herculaneum and Cumae.

The Farnese Hercules, a massive 3.17-meter figure discovered at the Baths of Caracalla in Rome, and the Farnese Bull, the largest marble group to have survived from antiquity, are two of the sculptures on display on the first floor of the building. In addition, among the antique mosaics on the mezzanine is the 6.20-meter-tall Alexander’s Battle mosaic.

Castel Nuovo

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Image credits: Bau Trip

On the south side of the Piazza del Municipio stood the five-tower Castel Nuovo, commonly known as the Maschio Angioino. Also, many monarchs, including the French, Aragonese, Spanish, and Austrian, modified and renovated the edifice to fit the period.

In 1279-82, it was constructed by Charles I of Anjou, who expanded it between 1453 and 1467, during which time he added the massive Early Renaissance Triumphal Arch between the towers to commemorate his successful arrival in Paris. King Alfonso I of Aragon constructed the enormous Early Renaissance Triumphal Arch between the towers in 1467.

Presepi Shops on Via San Gregorio Armeno

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Image credits: Napoli Today

Terra-cotta The nicest souvenirs to buy in Naples are nativity figures. A trip to Via San Gregorio Armeno offers more than just a chance to shop in Naples.; it’s also an opportunity to gain an insight into the local way of life and cultural traditions. During the month of December, nativity scenes, also known as presepi, can be observed in churches and other locations all across Italy; however, none are as spectacular as those found in Naples’ churches and public spaces. The most famous artisans are also present, and the variety and refinement of their work will impress you.

Animals, buildings, companies, youngsters, and even villages full of people going about their daily lives surround the images. Miniaturists can examine miniature furniture, cuisine, animals, and even full stores and rooms. In addition, Giuseppe and Marco Ferrigno’s studio is home to some of the most exquisite terra-cotta figurines from Naples.

Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace)

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Image credits: Napolike

Around 1600, Domenico Fontana created the building on the east side of Piazza del Plebiscito, the old Royal Palace. Giuseppe Garibaldi restored it between 1837 and 1841. The Bourbon kings used it as one of four palaces as homes during their reign. In the state apartment, there is a theater and a grand staircase constructed of white marble and over two dozen rooms packed with furniture, tapestries, porcelains, and sculptures, all of which are on display. Many people believe this to be one of Naples’ most interesting and unappreciated tourist destinations, and they are right.

Cathedral

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Image credits: Life-Globe

Despite the fact that the cathedral, which goes back to the late 13th century, has been extensively altered by earthquakes and repair, particularly after the earthquake that struck in 1456, it has retained its 1407 doorway in the center of the façade. In the south aisle, you’ll find the lovely 17th-century chapel dedicated to San Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples. You can find the tomb of the saint beneath the high altar of the elaborately painted Confessio (1497-1506). You can also find the 4th-century Basilica Santa Restituta, Naples’ oldest church, with magnificent ceiling murals and columns from a Roman temple, in the underground archeological area, as can the underground archeological area.

Within the walls of the cathedral are the Archbishop’s Palace and several other churches, including the Gothic Santa Maria Donnaregina. The Gothic Santa Maria Donnaregina contains beautiful 14th-century frescoes by Giotto’s contemporary Pietro Cavallini in the elevated nuns’ choir; the Baroque churches of San Paolo Maggiore and San Filippo Neri; and the restored Gothic church of San Lorenzo Maggiore (1266-1324).

Teatro di San Carlo

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A short distance away from the Royal Palace of King Charles of Bourbon, the Real Teatro di San Carlo, one of Europe’s largest theaters and one of Italy’s most prominent opera houses, was constructed. It is also Europe’s oldest continually operating opera house. Six layers of ornately decorated boxes line the chamber, with the royal box being the most elaborate.

San Carlo is known for having some of the noisiest and worst-behaved audiences in all of Europe. Anyone who forgets his or her high C will experience the consequences of their actions.

Santa Lucia

Santa Lucia is a residential district located west of the Plebiscito, on the slopes of Pizzofalcone, and reaching all the way to the sea. Southernmost is a modern area with well-planned streets; yet, northern is a lovely maze of narrow, winding alleys where you can see and participate in traditional Neapolitan life.

It would be a shame to miss out on this authentic neighborhood, which has shops and bakeries, craftsmen’s workshops, little cafés where inhabitants can have an espresso, and streets where children can run around. This location is bustling all day, but becomes busier at night, making it one of Naples’ most popular nightlife spots.

San Martino Monastery and Museum

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Image credits: Rome and Italy

Built in 1325 by the Carthusian monks of St. Martin and refurbished in the 17th century, the Museo Nazionale di San Martino is housed in the historic Carthusian monastery of San Martino. In addition to viewing the cathedral, you should visit the sacristy and treasury, which are lavishly furnished with marble, ceiling frescoes, and paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries, respectively.

The two cloisters are the Chiostro degli Procuratori and the main cloister, which is the larger of the two. The monastery is home to the museum, which displays items such as Chinese porcelain, an 18th-century state coach from Charles III’s reign, and several historical treasures from Naples and southern Italy from the 18th and 19th centuries, among other things.

Santa Chiara

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Image credits: Napolike

The cloister of the Santa Chiara Monastery, which was established in 1310, is more akin to a park in a beach resort town than a melancholy retreat for nuns, as seen by its design. They appear to have brought the secular world inside the monastic walls by depicting scenes from mid-1700s life. The 17th-century frescoes on the cloister’s walls depict Old Testament events beneath the porticos on all four sides.

There are plenty of additional reasons to visit Santa Chiara, aside from its gorgeous and wonderful cloister. On the right, a presepio (Nativity scene) situated amid a Roman ruin mixes the mundane realities of everyday Neapolitan life with the sanctified setting of the creche. In addition, the picture is a representation of the excitement surrounding Herculaneum’s discovery in the early 18th century.

San Domenico Maggiore

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Image credits: Napolike

The church of San Domenico Maggiore, erected in 1300, is one of Naples’ most spectacular and renowned monuments. The elaborately paneled ceiling directs your attention to Cosimo Fanzago’s high altar, which is a work of art in itself. Each of the chapel’s 24 sides has something unique to offer, but the Chapel of San Michele Arcangelo a Morfisa, which includes a 10th-century church at the end of the right nave, is particularly noteworthy. The Cappellone Crocifisso contains a 13th-century Crucifixion and a 15th-century Burial of Christ.

Mt. Vesuvius

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Vesuvius is the only volcano on the European mainland that is still occasionally active, erupting suddenly from a plain 15 kilometers southeast of Naples on the coasts of the Bay of Naples. It is the only volcano on the European mainland that is still periodically active. Of course, it is most known for the AD 79 eruption that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, killing thousands. The volcano last erupted in 1944, and there have been very few indicators of activity since then.

Traveling by automobile or bus from Pompeii or Herculaneum to the 1,000-meter-high Vesuvius National Park parking lot is possible. Expect spectacular views from your room because they are!

Pompeii

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Image credits: Britannica

After a visit to Naples’ National Archeological Museum, you’ll be ready to go on a journey to Pompeii; the city’s a nearly more famous neighbor. Thousands of years after Vesuvius’ catastrophic eruption, excavations have uncovered the homes, stores, temples, and public structures of a thriving metropolis of about 20,000 people that was destroyed and frozen in time by the explosion. Traveling to Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius on a day trip from Naples is a convenient way to experience this UNESCO World Heritage Site with an expert guide while also ascending to the summit of Mt. Vesuvius’s summit.

Amalfi Coast

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The Amalfi Peninsula’s southern coast, south of Naples, is one of Europe’s most picturesque, with colorful settlements clinging to steep mountainsides that drop nearly directly into the Mediterranean’s azure waves.

The path is tiny and requires the driver’s entire concentration at all times. The most flexible choice is the Private Tour; Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello Day Trip from Naples, where you can plan your own itinerary with your professional guide. A private chauffeured automobile will allow you to tour some of the region’s most attractive communities.

Herculaneum

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Image credits: Britannica

At the time of Mt. Vesuvius’ eruption in AD 79, Herculaneum was engulfed by molten lava, which supported the town’s buildings as it rose in depth. The cooled stone was so deep and hard that it safeguarded the site from early looting until modern processes and sensibilities were able to conserve its treasures. Pompeii provided a closer look at Roman life, but what you see today is even more comprehensive.

Behind it lies a park with stunning fountains and the Grand Cascade, which you can visit. About a 45-minute walk north of the palace is a beautiful terrace beyond the English Garden.

Capua

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Image credits: Britannica

After WWII, only the campanile and 11th-century courtyard with third-century columns remain in the middle of town, beside the Volturno River. The Campanian Provincial Museum is the region’s most important archeological museum, second only to Naples’ National Institution.

It is one of the largest Roman amphitheaters still remaining. It is located outside the town and has various subterranean passages still intact. On the Via Appia, the town’s major road to Rome, you may see two well-preserved Roman burials.

Capri

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Passengers can take regular ferries from Naples to Capri. It is a common day trip for inhabitants to ride the ferry from Naples to Sorrento to see the island and its main attraction, the Blue Grotto. On the Capri & Blue Grotto Day Tour, you’ll travel by jetfoil from Naples or Sorrento to Capri. A minibus tour of the island’s coastline will show you the Blue Grotto, the lovely towns of Anacapri and Capri, and some of the island’s interesting rock formations.

Castellammare di Stabia

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A little fishing village on the Bay of Naples, Castellammare di Stabia is located 30 kilometers south of Naples and adjacent to the ancient city of Stabiae, which was completely destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. The excavated Roman villas are now open to the public for exploration thanks to the “shower” of volcanic ash that buried them.

It is possible to climb Monte Faito by cable car from the Castellammare Circumvesuviana station, and from its summit, there are walking trails and beautiful views of the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius.

Ischia

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Ancient Greeks and Romans flocked to Ischia for its hot springs and lush foliage for thousands of years. Today, Ischia is a popular tourist destination for people from all over the world. It has prettier beaches and is less congested than Capri, which is only a few miles away.

It is made up of two towns: Ischia Ponte, where the imposing Castello is perched on top of a 91-meter-high rocky cliff and reached by a stone bridge, and Ischia Porto, a lively spa and seaside resort on the island’s northeast coast.

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