10 Best Attractions in Naples Italy That You MUST SEE
Naples is one of Italy’s undiscovered gems with its delightful and historically rich locations. One thing that you will definitely get from your visit to this place is peace and quiet, as it still is mostly undiscovered. From an archaeological museum to an active volcano to ancient ruins, Naples has a lot to offer. And when it comes to pizza, this city is almost unbeatable. You can sample some of the world’s best pizzas and pastas here and then go on to sip on one of the strongest coffees you may ever find. The beverage mostly comes sweetened, but if you like it without sugar just say amao!
Best Naples Attractions
1. Museo Cappella Sansevero
Although a religious site, the Museo Cappella Sansevero is a popular destination in Naples which is visited by believers and non believers alike. The marble inlay floor is the first thing that will catch your eye. And then, of course, there is the veiled sculpture of Jesus, which is the most significant feature of this place. Interestingly, the veil is made of marble, but is transparent. This is believed to have been done with some secret chemical provided by Raimondo di Sangro, the Prince of Sansevero who was also a scientist and an alchemist.
The visit to the church comes at a price, and the price is a bit on the higher side. But don’t let that deter you as the sculptures that you will see here are worth every penny and minute spent. Also, the long queues are just an illusion as they tend to move on quite quickly. Another interesting fact of this chapel is the crypt, where some of the Prince’s gory anatomical experiments are exhibited. Who knew you would get to see such macabre stuff at a chapel!
2. Catacombs of San Gennaro
Want to know where some of the noblemen and saintly men of the 2nd and 3rd century rest? Of course, who wouldn’t be interested in such details! Jokes aside, it is here at the Catacombs of San Gennaro. You can take an hour long guided tour of the area to know more about the amazing and rich history of this place.
Getting an English-speaking guide is easy but make sure you book one well in advance. The Catacombs of San Gennaro is the place where you will see the marriage of art and history. This place of interest in Naples Italy is also particularly famous for its frescoes, dating back to the 2nd century. A third level has recently been discovered here, but it is still being researched by archaeologists and historians, so entry is restricted.
3. Teatro di San Carlo
This is one of the oldest opera houses in the whole of Italy. Though a popular tourist landmark in Naples, performances are not held regularly, so if you are interested in watching some opera, make sure you plan your travel accordingly. If you are really lucky, who knows you might even get to catch a performance from the royal lodge located right in the centre of the hall. On other days, you can take a guided tour of this place, in Italian or English or even a combination of both.
The performance hall is considered the most opulent spot in this opera house, and every minute you spend here is absolutely worth your time. The theatre, made of red, gold and ivory, dates back to the 18th century so do expect to learn some enriching historical features attached to this place during your tour.
4. San Gregorio Armeno
Located on a crowded street is this splendid church and monastery, which dates back to the 17th century, the San Gregorio Armeno is known for its exquisite Baroque style architecture. You can take a guided tour of this place to know more about its rich history. Even today, the monastery is inhabited by nuns who take care of homeless children.
The church also has a beautiful garden where you can spend some relaxing time with your family or even by yourself, especially if you are tired of walking around the city. If you wish to take souvenirs for people back home, then this is the place to get your stuff. The street along the church is thronged by hundreds of little shops that sell knickknacks. And of course, the little pizza shops are not to be forgotten. A visit to the church will brighten your trip in many ways!
5. Castel dell’Ovo
This popular 12th seaside castle offers a breathtaking view to the visitors. The egg castle, as it is known to many, has an interesting history too. It is believed that an egg was buried on the spot where the castle stands today, and when the egg would break the castle would fall too. Lucky for us no such thing occurred, although no one knows what happened to the poor egg.
There’s another myth surrounding this place. It is said that Parthenope jumped into the sea after she failed to grab Ulysses’s affections. Another interesting story about this structure is that it was built on top of an ancient Roman villa’s ruins. Visit the place on your holiday if you love hearing stories – whether they are fact or fiction, is for you to decide!
6. Complesso Museale di Santa Chiars
This complex consisting of a church and beautiful garden is your destination if you are looking to spend some quiet and relaxing time away from the crowds during your vacations. The Complesso Museale di Santa Chiars also houses a museum. This was also one of the spots that were partly destroyed during the WW II bombings.
The facade of the complex is especially beautiful and unique, as it is one of the few places in the city to be decorated with tiles. You can take a guided tour of this place for a small fee, however if you are just visiting the church, there is no fee involved. Make sure you call in advance to find out whether the church would be open on the day of your visit.
7. Gesu Nuovo
Another church in Naples! But this is nothing like you may have ever seen before. The amazing church building, which dates back to the 14th century, is entirely made of stone, and is considered unique in its appearance. The grand and opulent interiors are in absolute contrast to the simple exteriors. Whether you are religious or not, this visit will give you a lot of good things to take back home including great experiences and good memories. Sometimes the church doesn’t open until late in the evening, so made sure you ask the local people before you head out.
8. Basilica di San Francesco di Paolo
Located in the Piazza del Plebiscilo is this huge church that will remind one of the Pantheon in Rome, in fact, this landmark is said to be a modern take of the same. While some critics wrinkle their noses in disapproval, you simply cannot ignore the association. Anyhow, you should see it for yourself to make a fair and unbiased decision.
This famous church, again, like most of the other important buildings in Naples, has a rich history attached to it. It was commissioned by Napolean after he was tired of seeing the other boring buildings in the city, but unfortunately it couldn’t be completed by him. The church was completed by the Bourbon King of Naples in 1815.
9. Naples National Archaeological Museum
The museum displays many artefacts recovered from the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum. And if you are planning to visit either or both of these places, then it is best to travel to the museum beforehand to help understand the history of these places better. You can easily spend an entire day here, but if you are short on time, a good two or three hours would be great too. A real guide will help you understand the history of the place better, but you can also opt for an audio guide at the entrance.
The museum also displays some medical instruments used about 2000 years ago, some of which are surprisingly similar to the ones used today. Some parts of the museum maybe closed, so make inquiries before you plan your trip. Once in Naples, you will get used to the custom of seeing places often shut even during visiting hours – well, that’s the way of life here, and you only have to accept it!
10. San Domenico Maggiore
The small entrance to the church may not prepare you for what you see inside. With high ceilings, beautiful columns and opulent arches, this church offers a spectacular view to its visitors. With so many little spots to explore at this church, the visit requires more than the few customary minutes that one is expected to spend at a church. It is even better if you can manage to find a guide who can speak your language.
While it is easier to find English and Italian speaking guides, finding one for other languages could be a little difficult. But persistence pays, you know! Interestingly, some events in the 15th and 16th centuries led to this destruction of this then Gothic church. It was then rebuilt in Baroque style architecture.