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Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Naples

The south Italian port town of Naples, principal town of the region of Campania and of the province of Nápoli, lies on the north side of the Bay of Naples, on the Tyrrhenian Sea, extending along the lower slopes of attractive hills.

The old town with its narrow streets and stepped lanes and its tall balconied houses is fringed on the west and north by extensive villa suburbs and on the east by an industrial zone. In recent years much of the city has been redeveloped with new buildings and realigned streets, particularly in the area around the harbor, the Rione Santa Lucia.

Naples possesses many historical monuments going back almost 3,000 years, particularly the treasures, to be seen in the National Museum, garnered from the cities engulfed by Vesuvius; the port of Naples is of major importance for southern Italy.

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Harbor

Naples and its HarborNaples and its Harbor View slideshow
To the east of the palace and the Castel Nuovo in Naples extends the harbor, divided into separate docks and basins by a series of piers and breakwaters, which is always a bustle of activity. Extending east from the Piazza del Municipio is the Molo Angioino, on which is the Marine Station. To the west of this is the Eliporto (Heliport), from which there are regular helicopter services to Capri, Ischia, Capodichino Airport (7km/4.5mi north), etc. Farther south, from the quay on the Calata di Beverello, boats sail to Ponza, Capri and Ischia.
The harbor of Naples is the primary place to visit, with it's beautiful scenery and numerous cafes and ice cream parlors. The Margherita pizza, the original pizza, is a 'must eat' when visiting.

Southern Part of the Old Town

Piazza PlebiscitoPiazza Plebiscito View slideshow
The southern part of the old town of Naples includes the Teatro San Carlo and the five- towered Castel Nuovo.

San Carlo Theater

Interior of Galleria Umberto in Naples.
Naples busiest traffic intersection is the Piazza Trieste e Trento, on the east side of which stands the Teatro San Carlo, one of the largest theaters in Europe (2,900 seats). Immediately north is the Galleria Umberto, a shopping arcade built in 1887-90.
Built expeditiously, in half a year, for King Charles' birthday in 1737, this gilded Neo-Classical building is one of the largest opera houses in Italy and is considered to have outstanding acoustics. With seating for 3,500 San Carlo has the reputation of attracting the noisiest and worst-behaved audiences in Italy. It was bombed in 1943 but quickly rebuilt. Since the original construction, the theater has been rebuilt several times.
Address: Via San Carlo 98f, I-80132 Naples, Italy

San Francesco di Paola

Adjoining the Piazza Trieste e Trento on the south is the large Piazza del Plesbiscito, occupied on the west side by the church of San Francesco di Paola (1817-46), an imitation of the Pantheon in Rome.

Naples Royal Palace

Palazzo Reale, the Royal Palace in Naples.
Along the east side of the Piazza del Plesbiscito is the Palazzo Reale, the former Royal Palace, begun in 1600 by Dominico Fontana and restored in 1837-41. On the facade (169m/185yd) are eight marble statues of the various kings who ruled Naples. The palace contains a grand staircase of white marble (1651), a theater, seventeen richly appointed state apartments and the valuable Biblioteca Nazionale (1,500,000 volumes, 12,000 manuscripts, 5,000 incunabula).
Address: Piazza Plebiscito, I-80132 Naples, Italy

Castel Nuovo

Castel Nuovo at Naples.
Behind the Palazzo Reale to the northeast, on the south side of the Piazza del Municipio, is the five-towered Castel Nuovo, also known as the Maschio Angioino, once the residence of kings and viceroys of Naples. Originally built by Charles I of Anjou in 1279-82, it was enlarged by Alfonso I of Aragon and has recently been restored. The entrance is formed by a splendid Early Renaissance triumphal arch, with rich sculptured decoration, erected between 1453 and 1467 in honor of the entry of Alfonso I of Aragon. In the courtyard is the Gothic church of Santa Barbara (or Cappella Palatina), and to the left of this the large Baron's Hall.
Address: Piazza Municipio, I-80100 Naples, Italy

Town Hall (Statue of Victor Emmanuel II)

In the center of the Piazza del Municipio, which is laid out in gardens, stands an equestrian statue of Victor Emmanuel II (1897). On the west side of the square is the fine Town Hall (1819-25), originally built to house government departments.
Address: Piazza del Municipio, I-80100 Naples, Italy

San Giacomo degli Spagnoli

Adjoining the Town Hall the church of San Giacomo degli Spagnoli (1540) has behind the high altar, the sumptuous tomb of Viceroy Don Pedro de Toledo, founder of the church.

Santa Lucia

Castel dell'OvoCastel dell'Ovo View slideshow
To the west of the Piazza del Plesbiscito, on the slopes of Pizzofalcone and extending down to the sea, lies the district of Santa Lucia. South of the wide Via Santa Lucia this is an area of modern streets laid out on a regular plan, but to the north of that street it is a picturesque huddle of narrow stepped lanes in which the traditional Neapolitan way of life can be observed at any time of the day but particularly in the evening.
From the southeast corner of the Piazza del Plesbiscito a succession of streets runs round the east and south sides of the Santa Lucia district - first Via Cesario Console, which passes the Giardini Pubblici; then Via Nazario Sauro and Via Partenope, in which there are several large luxury hotels; and finally, beyond the Piazza della Vittoria, Via Caracciolo, which affords magnificent views of the Bay of Naples.

Castel dell'Ovo

Castel dell'Ovo, or "Egg Castle" at Napoli.
From Via Partenope a causeway and a bridge lead to a little rocky islet on which stands the Castell dell'Ovo, begun in the 12th century, completed by Frederick II and rebuilt in the 17th century. On the causeway is the Porto di Santa Lucia.

Villa Comunale

Naples AquariumNaples Aquarium
Between Via Caracciolo and the fine Riviera di Chiaia to the north extends the Villa Comunale, a park laid out in 1780, almost 1.5km/1mile long, which is Naple's most popular promenade.

Aquarium

Half-way along the Villa Comunale we find the Zoological Station, an important biological research institution founded by a German scientist, Anton Dorn, in 1870. In the central block is an Aquarium with 31 tanks which give an excellent survey of the fauna of the Bay of Naples.
Address: Villa Comunale, I-80100 Naples, Italy

Villa Pignatelli

Northwest of the Aquarium, in a park just north of the Riviera di Chiaia, is the Villa Pignatelli, once the residence of Prince Diego Aragona Pignatelli Cortes, with a richly appointed interior in the styles of the 18th and 19th centuries (open to visitors; a fine collection of furniture and chinoiserie).

Via Medina and Via Monteoliveto

Santa ChiaraSanta Chiara View slideshow
From the Piazza del Municipio the Via Medina runs past the 14th century church of the Incoronata. Near the end of Via Medina, on the left, is the 32-story Grattacielo della Cattolica (1958), and a little way farther north the Piazza Matteotti, with the Post and Telegraph Office (by Vaccaro, 1936), one of the finest achievements of modern Italian architecture.

Santa Maria la Nova

In a little square just east of the Post and Telegraph Office stands the church of Santa Maria la Nova (16th century; beautiful interior), with two Renaissance cloisters of the monastery to which it belonged.

Via Monteoliveto

The line of Via Medina is continued northwest by Via Monteoliveto. At the end of this street is the fine Palazzo Gravina (1513-49), which houses the Academy of Architecture. The street runs into the Piazza Monteoliveto, with the church of Monteoliveto or Sant'Anna dei Lombardi, begun in 1411 and later continued in Early Renaissance style; it contains eight good terracottas (15th-16th century) and beautiful 16th century choir-stalls.

Gesù Nuovo

From the Piazza Monteoliveto the Calata Trinità Maggiore leads to the Piazza Gesù Nuovo, with a gilded statue of the Virgin (1748). On the north side of the square is the Jesuit church of Gesù Nuovo (1584).

Santa Chiara

A view from the courtyard of Santa Chiara Cloister in Naples.
The church of Santa Chiara (founded 1310) contains the tomb (1343-45) of Robert the Wise (1309-43) and other fine Gothic tombs belonging to members of the house of Anjou. The Nuns' Choir, behind the high altar, was used by the Poor Clares until 1925. In the adjoining Franciscan monastery is a beautiful cloister (Chiostro delle Clarisse) decorated with Capodimonte majolica.

Piazza San Domenico Maggiore

Detail of San Domenico MaggioreDetail of San Domenico Maggiore
The Piazza San Domenico Maggiore in Naples contains the church of San Domenico Maggiore and the Capella Sansevero.

San Domenico Maggiore

To the east of the Gesù Nuovo, in Piazza San Domenico Maggiore, is the church of San Domenico Maggiore (c. 1300), which in spite of later alteration is still one of the most interesting churches in Naples, with much Early Renaissance work. In the Cappellone Crocifisso are a 13th century "crucification" and a 15th century "Burial of Christ". The sacristy contains 45 sarcophagi belonging to members of the house of Anjou.
Address: Piazza San Domenico Maggiore, I-80100 Naples, Italy

Capella Sansevero

The Capella Sansevero (museum), a little way east of San Domenico Maggiore in Naples, was built in 1590 as the burial chapel of the Sangro family and elaborately embellished in Baroque style in the 18th century; it contains some fine sculpture, including a "Christ in a winding-sheet" by Sammartino (1753).
Address: Via De Sanotic 17/21, I-80100 Naples, Italy

San Gregorio Armeno

From Piazza San Domenico Maggiore the Via San Biagio dei Librai runs east: 300m/330yd along this street, on the left, is Via San Gregorio Armeno, in which stands the little church of San Gregorio Armeno (1580), one of the richest Baroque churches in Naples, with a cloister.

Cuomo Palace

Via Biagio continues northeast and leads into Via del Duomo. Along this street to the right is the Palazzo Cuomo, a fine Early Renaissance building (1464-90) which now houses the Museo Filangieri, with arms, majolica, porcelain, enamel-work and pictures. On the opposite side of the street, a little farther northeast, is the church of San Giorgio Maggiore, founded in the fifth century and rebuilt in the 17th century.
Address: Via Duomo 288, I-80138 Naples, Italy

Decumano Maggiore

Between the Piazza Bellini and the cathedral, the Via dei Tribunali, which runs north parallel to Via San Biagio, becomes the "Decumano Maggiore" (the Decumanus Maximus was the main east-west arterial road from the Roman camp) and forms the first section of the planned Museo Aperto (open-air museum).

Cathedral

CathedralCathedral Aleksandr Zykov
The Cathedral has a history dating back to the late 13th C. However, earthquakes and restoration work have altered it from its original appearance. The cathedral is dedicated to St Januarius, whose skull resides in a bust on the main altar.

National Archeological Museum

Antiquities from Pompeii in the Naples Archaeological MuseumAntiquities from Pompeii in the Naples Archaeological Museum View slideshow
The National Archeological Museum in Naples contains royal collections, including those of kings of Naples, Farnese collections, and pieces from Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Cumae..

Corso Amedeo di Savoia

Catacombs of San GennaroCatacombs of San Gennaro Rosino
The Corso Amedeo di Savoia in Naples is home to the large domed church of Santa Maria della Sanità and the Catacombs of San Gennaro.

Santa Maria della Sanità

From the National Museum in Naples Via Santa Teresa degli Scalzi and the Corso Amedeo di Savoia run north, slightly uphill, to the park of Capodimonte, 2km/1.25mi away. In 750m/820yd it comes to the Ponte della Senità, a viaduct (lift) which carries the road over the low-lying Sanità district. Below, to the right, is the large domed church of Santa Maria della Sanità (1602-13), with the Catacombs of San Gaudioso (fifth century).

Catacombs of San Gennaro

The Corso Amedeo di Savoia in Naples ends at a roundabout, the Tondo di Capodimonte, on the west side of which is the entrance to the second century Catacombs of San Gennaro. Like the Roman catacombs, these consist of a maze of passages and tomb chambers, but are more ambitious architecturally and have finer paintings than their Roman counterparts. The church of San Gennaro extra Moenia dates from the fifth century (restored).

Madre del Buon Consiglio

From the Tondo di Capodimonte in Naples the Via Capodimonte, to the left, leads in 200m/220yd to the imposing pilgrimage church (on the left) of the Madre del Buon Consiglio (1920-60).

Capodimonte Park

Capodimonte MuseumCapodimonte Museum Armando Mancini
Beyond the Madre del Buon Consiglio the Via Capodimonte curves up to the Porta Grande, the main entrance to the magnificent Capodimonte Park.

Royal Palace & Capodimonte Museum

In the Palazzo Reale di Capodimonte is the National Gallery (Galleria Nazionale), one of the finest collections in Italy, with more than 500 pictures, including works by Titian (portraits of members of ruling families from the Farnese collection), Mantegna, Caravaggio, El Greco, Bellini and Neapolitan artists of the 17th and 18th century.
Address: Via Milano 2, I-80100 Naples, Italy

Vomero

Aerial view of Castel Sant'ElmoAerial view of Castel Sant'Elmo Aleksandr Zykov
To the west of the old town of Naples, on a plateau above the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, the district of Vomero, built from 1885 onwards, can be reached by a number of streets and three funiculars.

Carthusian Monastery & Museum

To the east of the Castel Sant'Elmo in Naples is the former Carthusian monastery of San Martino (1325; rebuilt in the 17th century), with the Museo Nazionale di San Martino. Notable features are the church, richly decorated with marble and pictures of the 17th and 18th centuries, the sacristy, the treasury, the Chiostro dei Procuratori and the main cloisters, with 60 columns of white marble. The museum contains porcelain, cribs, including the Presepe di Cuciniello, a state coach of Charles III's reign (18th century) and relics of the history of Naples and southern Italy in the 18th and 19th centuries.
From the room known as the Belvedere there are superb views of Naples, its bay and Vesuvius extending to the Apennines.
Address: Largo di San Martino 5, I-80100 Naples, Italy

Castel Sant'Elmo

On the eastern edge of the Vomero plateau rises the Castel Sant'Elmo (224m/739ft), built in 1329 and extended in the 16th century, with massive walls and underground passages hewn from the rock; it is now used for exhibitions and general events.

Villa Floridiana

In the southern part of the district of Vomero in Naples is the Villa Floridiana public park, with the Museo Nazionale della Ceramica Duca di Martina, which contains enamels, ivories, pottery and porcelain from many different countries.
Address: Via Cimarosa 77, I-80100 Naples, Italy

Camaldoli

View of Naples from CamaldoliView of Naples from Camaldoli Luciano
The best view of Naples and its beautiful surroundings is to be had from the Camaldulensian monastery of Camaldoli, northwest of the city on the highest point in the Phlegraean Fields (458m/1,511ft). The monastery was founded in 1585. The prospect from the terrace on a clear day is one of the finest in Italy.

Belvedere della Pagliarella

The same view of Naples as from Camaldoli can be enjoyed from the Belvedere della Pagliarella, 500m/550yd south, reached in 15 minutes by a footpath through the scrub.

Surroundings

Vesuvius

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Pompeii, Italy

Cumae

The ruins of the ancient city of Cumae are located a short drive west of Naples. Cumae was established in the 9th or 8th C B.C., and is the oldest Greek settlement found in Italy.

Herculaneum, Italy

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