Naples Sights & Attractions
What to See and Do in Naples
The CASTEL NUOVO sits in the heart of Naples. It's a castle built with volcanic stone and with an arch of white marble standing as a city icon. The PALAZZO REALE is located nearby in the grandest part of the city. It's a monument built in 1600 that served as a royal residence until 1946, and faces the neo-classical SAN FRANCESCO DI PAOLO basilica. It was built in the early 19th century in a style inspired by the Pantheon in Rome. From there you can walk to TEATRO SAN CARLO, the city's famous opera house and one of the most important in Europe. Down the street take a look at GALLERIA UMBERTO I, a glass-domed shopping arcade.
Another major landmark is the DUOMO, the city's cathedral. It has a chapel dedicated to San Gennaro (Naples' patron saint) and a 4th century Christian basilica accessible from the north aisle.
If you only have time for one attraction in Naples, make it the NATIONAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM. It's home to one of the world's richest archaeological collections, with treasures from Pompeii and Herculaneum nearby. The building used to be a cavalry and then a university, but was turned into a museum in 1777, and you can see splendid mosaics and sculptures, including various erotic works that for years were not available for public viewing. Another one of Italy's finest art collections is found in Capodimonte, a vast royal palace. It contains works from the major Italian and European schools of painting, including pieces by Bellini, Caravaggio, and Raphael. There are also decorative pieces and modern art including Andy Warhol's "Vesuvius." Also worth a look is the baroque CERTOSA DI SAN MARTINO monastery, adorned with works by some of the greatest artists of the 17th and 18th centuries. It also boasts two fine cloisters and offers some spectacular city views.
Join everyone else down VIA CHIAIA, the main shopping street in the city with both traditional local shops and international brands. Also popular for a stroll is the area around CASTEL DELL'OVO on the waterfront, with a lively atmosphere in its cafes and (touristy) restaurants.
TOURS & DAYTRIPS
Go on a tour of Naples for easy sightseeing around the city, and take daytrips to the nearby attractions.
No trip to Naples is complete without a visit to Pompeii nearby. It's the world's most famous archaeological site, and can be easily reached by train or on a tour. It's a city frozen in time, and through its ruins you can learn about an entire culture before it was destroyed by the famous volcanic eruption in 79 AD. Naples is also the opportunity to drive around the AMALFI COAST, passing by some of Italy's most picturesque towns. Sorrento is one of the must-sees, with a charming old town attracting tourists to see what previous visitors Casanova and Goethe experienced. Nearby is Positano, a favorite of the rich and famous. It offers stunning views, as does Ravello, another elegant town located above this stunning coast. The largest town of all is the one that gives the coast its name -- spend at least an entire afternoon in Amalfi. Most visitors also don't miss a trip to Capri, the haunt of celebrities and politicians. It's actually a tiny island with no real sandy beaches, but a luxuriant and sophisticated place with the beautiful Blue Grotto as its most famous attraction. Those fascinated by ancient cultures may also consider a daytrip to PAESTUM, home to some of the best-preserved Greek temples anywhere, the oldest one probably dedicated to Hera and Zeus, and another to Neptune.