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Things to do in  Naples

Welcome to Naples

Set along the Tyrrhenian Sea with views of Mt. Vesuvius to the east and the sparkling Bay of Naples hugging its shoreline, Naples is a busy, often frenetic city that serves as the main gateway to southern Italy and some of the country's most beautiful beach destinations. Nearby is Pompeii, the largest archaeological site in Europe; the ancient lava-trapped city can be visited on a day tour, as can Herculaneum, another town fossilized by Mt. Vesuvius. The treasures of Pompeii (including a one-million-piece floor mosaic) and other rare antiquities can be viewed at the National Archaeological Museum, easily visited on guided tour. The colorful seaside resorts of the Amalfi Coast—including Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello—are two to four hours away by train or bus; while the lovely islands of Sorrento and glamorous Capri are just quick 45-minute boat trips across the Gulf from central Naples. Take a trip to the island of Capri to see the glowing light of the Blue Grotto on a private boat tour. In Naples itself, spend an afternoon tasting pizza made in the city where it originated, visit historic castles, tour the underground ruins of the ancient Greek and Roman settlements, and revel in year-round Christmas with Naples' well-known nativity-scene shops.

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Top 10 attractions in Naples

Piazza del Gesù Nuovo
#1

Piazza del Gesù Nuovo

One of Naples' more interesting religious sites is the church of Gesù Nuovo in the city's historic center. Its spiky stone facade overlooks the wide open Piazza del Gesu, a popular spot for Neapolitans to meet, mingle and enjoy the fine Mediterranean weather. The piazza used to be one of the main entrances to the city of Naples, while today it is notable for the two churches that face onto the square and the spire at its center. The 15th-century church of Gesù Nuovo, as mentioned, has an intimidating stone facade that belies its ornately decorated interior. The 14th-century church of Santa Chiara is a monastery and also houses an archaeological museum. The center of the Piazza del Gesu is marked by an ornate statue called the “Guglia dell'Immacolata,” or Spire of the Immaculate Virgin. It was commissioned in the 17th century to ask the Virgin Mary to protect the city from the plague....
Naples Historic Center (Napoli Centro Storico)
#2

Naples Historic Center (Napoli Centro Storico)

It's too much to try to take Naples as a whole. This city is all noise and speed and grit, thrown at you from the moment you step out of the train station or off of a cruise ship, and the greater metropolitan area of Naples spreads so far it even creeps up the sides of the surrounding mountains, including one very famous volcano – Mount Vesuvius. If you're willing to look beyond the sensory overload, however, you'll see why UNESCO named the historic centre of Naples a World Heritage Site in 1995. The historic centre of Naples – sometimes called the “centro storico” or “antico storico” in Italian – is made up of more than 10 different city neighborhoods that funnel down the hills to the port. Walking through this historic centre gives us a chance to walk back in time – Naples is something of a museum piece, one that's never been off-limits behind red velvet ropes. This is the sort of museum that rewards those who dig in....
Castel Nuovo (Maschio Angioino)
#3

Castel Nuovo (Maschio Angioino)

Castel Nuovo, better known locally as Maschio Angioino, looks the way a castle should look - fierce stone, towers and turrets. Built as the new royal residence between 1279 and 1282 by Charles I of Anjou, it is rightfully one of Naples' most striking buildings. Mind you, most of what we see today was built in the 15th century by the Aragon king Alfonso V, and via later renovations. At the end of the 15th century, Naples was annexed to Spain and the castle was downgraded to military fortress, but Charles III moved back in as King of Naples in 1734 restoring it to a royal castle. These days Castel Nuovo, once scene of papal resignations, artists' parties including Giotto, Plutarch and Boccaccio, and fierce battles, is today home to a museum exhibiting 14th and 15th century frescoes and sculptures, silver and bronzes, and paintings by Neapolitan artists from the 17th-20th centuries....
Royal Palace of Naples (Palazzo Reale)
#4

Royal Palace of Naples (Palazzo Reale)

Palazzo Reale was the royal palace located in downtown Naples, still the heart of Naples today. Built around 1600 when Naples was under Spanish rule, it was not completed for two centuries. Inside, a beautiful double staircase leads you up to the royal apartments which these days house the palace's museum of furnishings and etc. Don't miss the huge 18th century nativity scene in the Cappella Reale (Royal Chapel). The Palazzo Reale also houses the national library which contains thousands of papyrus scrolls found at Herculaneum and the remains of a 5th century Coptic bible. The palace is situated on the elegant Piazza Plebiscito, the largest square in Naples and named after the vote in 1870 which brought Naples into the unified Kingdom of Italy. The palace makes up one side of this square, alongside the domed church of San Francesco di Paolo and the elegant curve of Doric columns....
San Carlo Opera House (Teatro di San Carlo)
#5

San Carlo Opera House (Teatro di San Carlo)

Naples' opera house, the Teatro di San Carlo, is not only Italy's oldest opera house—it's also the longest-running opera house in Europe, open since 1737. The site was built under King Charles VII, a member of the Bourbon monarchy, so the theater was originally called the “Royal” opera house. In November 1737, the opera house opened its doors for the first time, but an 1816 fire consumed the entire interior of the building—only the outer structure was left standing. The theater was rebuilt, and it reopened the next year. Today, the opera season begins in late January and continues through May. You can also see ballet performances at the theater—that season runs from April through the beginning of June....
Church and Monastery of Santa Chiara (Chiesa e Monastero di Santa Chiara)
#6

Church and Monastery of Santa Chiara (Chiesa e Monastero di Santa Chiara)

Construction of Santa Chiara dates back to 1310. Founded by King Robert of Anjou and his second wife Sancha of Majorca, the church was opened for worship 30 years later in 1340. Two convents were also built; one for nuns and one for monks. In the mid-1700s, the church interior was remodeled in Baroque style, however most of Santa Chiara was destroyed in August of 1943 during World War II bombings. When it was rebuilt 10 years later, it was returned to its original gothic style. The Monumental Complex of St. Chiara also includes the Opera Museum, which along with covering Neapolitan history, also exhibits items that survived the WWII bombings. Save time to visit the archaeological area at Santa Chiara. The remains of a Roman spa were discovered in the aftermath of the war. The spa is similar to those of Pompeii and Herculaneum....
Basilica of San Francesco di Paola (Basilica di San Francesco di Paola)
#7

Basilica of San Francesco di Paola (Basilica di San Francesco di Paola)

Naples version of the Pantheon, San Francesco di Paola Church is located on the pedestrian-only Piazza del Plebiscito. It’s no doubt the first thing you’ll notice when you step into the piazza. Originally intended to serves as a monument to Napoleon Bonaparte, when Ferdinand I returned to the throne he constructed the church, dedicating it to the saint of the same name. The 19th century church is circular with two side chapels. Its façade is dominated by six Ionic columns and two pillars. The massive dome is 174 feet (53 meters) high. Inside the San Francesco di Paola Church are numerous sculptures and paintings by Luca Giordano and other Neapolitan artists....
Piazza del Plebiscito
#8

Piazza del Plebiscito

In a city that can be as overwhelming as Naples, it’s nice to have the expanse of a public square like the enormous Piazza del Plebiscito. This is one of the biggest public piazzas in Naples, and it sits right next to the bay on the edge of the city’s historic center. The Piazza del Plebiscito and the church of San Francesco di Paola, which borders the square to the west, were both planned in the early 19th century as monuments in honor of then-emperor Napoleon - his brother-in-law being the King of Naples at the time. Construction of both the piazza and the church were completed in 1816, after Napoleon had been exiled. On the opposite side of the Piazza del Plebiscito, you’ll find the Royal Palace of Naples, a former residence of the Bourbon Kings who ruled in the 18th-19th centuries. The side of the palace that faces the piazza contains niches where the statues of major rulers over the Kingdom of Naples are displayed....
Spanish Quarter (Quartiere Spagnoli)
#10

Spanish Quarter (Quartiere Spagnoli)

With a warren of narrow alleyways and roughly cobblestoned streets, crammed with small stores, barber’s shops and dimly lit bars, the Quartiere Spagnoli is one of Naples’ most atmospheric local districts. Built to house troops during the Spanish occupation, the historic quarter might be somewhat rundown these days, but it still buzzes with life, with colorful laundry flapping from the balconies, residents sipping espresso on their doorsteps and motorbikes juddering by at all hours of the day and night. Despite earning itself a rather unsavory reputation in recent years due to an abundance of petty crime and pickpocketing, the Quartiere Spagnoli is still one of Naples’ most characteristic areas and makes a unique addition to a tour itinerary. As well as offering a unique glimpse into everyday life in the city, it’s home to landmarks like the Baroque church of Santa Maria degli Angeli and the 18th-century Palazzo Serra di Cassano.....

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