Naples and Vesuvius

Things to do in Naples

Some helpful information about Naples gathered from various sources

Explore Historical Attractions Museums Architectural Attractions Entertainment Shopping Dining

These recommendations are from third parties. I do not have any personal information about these places. Take the recommendations but make allowance for the fact that tastes vary and you may find a different experience than what you read here.

This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

Basic Information

Naples (Napoli) is the capital of the Campania region of Italy. It has a population of over one million people and was one of the major cities of medieval Italy. Therefore it is home to world-class churches, palaces and museums.

Naples has a spectacular setting on the bay of Naples (Golfo di Napoli), with Mount Vesuvius looming in the distance.

Be sure to get a Campania Artecard starting at about 12 euro. This will give you admission (without having to wait in line) to the main museums and archaeological sites, along with other discounts. These cards can be purchased at the airport in Naples, the central train station, main hotels, most museums, or online at campania > artecard. You can buy a chargable card that allows you to choose between 11 cutural itineraries and one or more artistic events, or a 365 day card that allows entrance to all sites and monuments in Campania for one year.


You can just stroll around the city and take in the sites, or make your way to a strategic location to explore Naples.

Salita della Pedamentina

Le Scale di Napoli (the Stairs of Naples).

If you take the V1 bus to the end of the line, it will bring you to the top of Vomero hill where you will find a little piazza called Piazzale San Martino. Nearby is the San Martino Charterhouse and Museum. But if you walk over to the aging railing you will get a wonderful view of the cityscape of the eastern side of Naples. You will see Vesuvius in the distance. Below you will be Centro Storico and in the distance is Centro Direzionale, connected by the Spaccanapoli which is the main street that splits the city of Naples in two.

From here you can make your way down the 414 elongated steps which were built to transport building materials up to the site of the San Martino Charterhouse, around 1325, and the Castel Sant'Elmo, around 1329. (You can visit these sites before descending the steps, or do it another time.)

The stairs will bring you to Corso Vittorio Emanuele, from which you will have several options. Going to the left will bring you to Scala Montesanto and down through the PignaSecca market. To the right are several stairways that will bring you to the Spanish quarter.

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Historical Attractions

As you walk through the historic district of Naples, you will see open-air stalls with vegetables, fruits and snack foods, as well as delis, bakeries and other shops. You can also buy Neapolitan crèche figures created in workshops on via San Gregorio Armenia.

Here's a good walking tour you can do on your own: Saturday Stroll — The Classic Tour of Centro Storico from Napoli Unplugged

Naples Castel dell'Ovo

Castel dell'Ovo

The Egg's Castle

Castel dell'Ovo sits on the islet of Megaride and divides the two small bays on the waterfront of Naples: the one of the harbour and the other of Riviera di Chiaia (Mergellina). This 2,000 year old castle is the oldest in Naples and is thought to be the site of the original Greek settlement in the area. Parts of the castle are only open for special exhibits but you can visit the rest, including the roofed arcade, the Hall of Columns (Sala delle Colone) and the two towers where you can get good views of the harbors.

Naples Castel Sant'Elmo

Castel Sant'Elmo

On Vomero Hill, accessible by cable car or bus, is Castel Sant'Elmo, built in the shape of a six-pointed star in 1329. It has been restored and you can tour its rooms and terraces for some great views of Naples, Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples.

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Naples Capodimonte Museum

Capodimonte Museum

Located in the royal palace of the Bourbons, the Royal Palace di Capodimonte

The Capodimonte Museum contains paintings by Botticelli, Perugino, Raphael, Titian and others. The museum also displays porcelain, amjolica and 19th century art. You can stroll through the royal apartments and the grounds.

Naples National Archaeological Museum

National Archaeological Museum

Located at Piazza Museo Nazionale, 19 - 80135 Naples (NA)

The museum contains several collections, including one of the world's most important archaeological collections from Pompeii, Herculaneum and other areas of Campania.

In addition there are:

Farnese Collection
The Farnese was the most celebrated collection of Roman antiquities. Most of it consists of huge replicas from the Imperial age of Greek originals, from the Baths of Caracalla in Rome.
The jewels in the Farnese Collection are displayed in three places at the bottom of the gallery of the Farnese statues.

Egyptian section
The Egyptian section, second in importance in Italy only to the Egyptian Museum of Turin, is composed of various collections.
Borgia collection
Cardinal Stefano Borgia began this collection and was able to establish contacts with Catholic missions all over the world, which he invited to send him "rarities" to enrich the collections of his house-museum at Velletri.
Picchianti collection
Giuseppe Picchianti, a 19th-century traveller from the Veneto. made a voyage to Giza, Saqquara and Thebes in 1819. There he collected many objects, mainly funerary furnishings.

The National Archaeological Museum's mosaic collection consists almost exclusively of works from Pompeii, and is one of the most complete collections of its kind.

The National Archaeological Museum's frescoes section includes murals from Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae, dating from between the I century B.C. and the I century A.D.

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Architectural Attractions

Naples Cathedral of Naples

Cathedral of Naples, il Duomo

The word Duomo refers to a cathedral: the principal Christian church building of a bishop's diocese. The Naples duomo is dedicated to San Gennaro (St. Januarius), the city's patron. The main attraction of this temple is the Chapel of San Genaro, where two bottles with the blood of the saint are kept. Twice a year, on the first Saturday in May and 19 September, the blood is brought out and usually liquifies, thereby keeping the city from harm.

Naples Basilica di Santa Restituta

Basilica di Santa Restituta

This is Naples' oldest church. The columns fo this 14th century church are believed to be from a temple of Apollo that previously stood here. There are 14th century mosaics, 17th century frescoes and a 15th century baptistery.

Naples Cappella Sansevero

Cappella Sansevero

This small chapel on via Tribunali was built in the 16th century and holds the tombs of the Princes of Sangro de Sansevero. It was built in the Baroque style with colorful frescoes. Sculptures here include "Cristo Velato" (Veiled Christ) by Sammartino, "Modesty" by Corradini and "The Resurrection of the Prince" bu an unknown artist.

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Naples Teatro di San Carlo

Teatro di San Carlo

Built in 1737, this is Italy's oldest opera house and is also the oldest working theater in Europe. It was built in honor of the Bourbon King Carlo III. Since 1999 the Teatro di San Carlo has been a private non-profit foundation whose goals include the diffusion of music and the preparation and training of future artists.

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Naples Galleria Umberto I

Galleria Umberto I

Across from the Teatro di San Carlo is the Galleria Umberto I, built in 1887 and modeled after the Galleria Vittorio Emmanule II in Milan. It was meant to combine public space (businesses, shops, cafes and social life) with private space (the apartments on the third floor.) It is an X shaped, high-domed mall with shops selling ceramics, clothing and housewares. Via Toledo, a nearby street, has shops featuring clothing, home goods and luggage. Another nearby street, Via Calabritto, has upscale fashion shops, such as Gucci, Louis Vitton and others.

Naples Vomero


Via Alessandro Scarlatti is the pedestrian area of Vomero with elegant boutiques.
You can get here via cable car or bus.

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Naples claims to be the birthplace of pizza and has around 12,000 pizzerias. The classic Pizza Napoletana, also known as the Margherita, has a thin crust, is topped with mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and olive oil, and is baked in a wood-burning oven.

There are many restaurants in Naples, and I will just list a couple of possibilities here.

Naples Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba

Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba

Via Port'Alba 18 in Naples.
Telefono: 081 4421061
The world's first true pizzeria, opened in 1830 and is still in business today.

Naples Ristorante Marco

Ristorante Marco

Wine bar and restaurant.
Via Ascensione, 3/a -- Riviera di Chiaia -- Napoli (Adiacente Villa Pignatelli)
Telefono: 081.405100 -- Cell.: 338.4353282
In Marco's words: The high quality of ingredients is the basis of a tasty dish. Therefore, early every morning I personally go to my suppliers to buy the freshest products the market has to offer. Every day I choose the fish caught in the Gulf and the best meat. As to the kinds of meat, in our restaurant it is possible to taste various cuts of beef, Norcia sausages, and Argentine Angus. We constantly achieve new flavours by drawing on Neapolitan, national and international culinary traditions and experience.

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Contents © Copyright 2001 Author: Lee Briggs except where noted. All rights reserved.