That Naples is somewhat close to the midway point between Rome and Palermo makes a lot of symbolic sense. The UNESCO World Heritage capital of Campania strikes a fine balance between the patent magnificence of the former and the gritty, subversive and lovable atrophy of the latter.
News of rubbish collection strikes and other flagrant consequences of underworld civic corruption get a lot of play in Naples and sometimes muzzle what makes the city such a rare gem. A singular historic quarter crams in architectural eye candy all the way to the Gulf of Naples, with more palazzos, piazzas, cathedrals and museums than you can shake a pizza margherita at.
A titan of art, opera, theatre and gastronomy, Naples is a veritable cultural banquet that requires some time and effort to fully digest. Happily, a tidy ensemble of parks and public squares offer scenic repose. For epic day trip fodder, how about the Amalfi Coast, Mount Vesuvius and the spectacular Archaeological Areas of Pompei, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata?
Naples’s Top 10
10. Naples Cathedral The Duomo di Napoli is part of the Historic Centre of Naples UNESCO World Heritage Site.
5. Royal Palace of Naples graces the majestic Piazza Plebiscito.
9. Parco Virgiliano is a verdant oasis with brilliant views over the water.
4. Castel dell’Ovo looks solemnly and strategically over the Gulf of Naples.
8. Museum of the Naples Underground displays a netherworld of wonders.
3. Castel Nuovo is the symbol of Naples and dates back to the late 13th century.
7. Villa Communale is the pre-eminent public park of the city.
2. Naples National Archaeological Museum Simply put, one of the best in the world.
6. National Museum of Capodimonte is a major archive of fine art in a former Bourbon palace.
1. Mount Vesuvius The icon, the myth and the one requisite day trip from Naples.
- Castel dell'Ovo at Porto Santa Lucia – Featuring Egg Castle, located on a small peninsula.
- Castelnuovo (Maschio Angioino) – A large medieval castle, home to the main city museum.
- Certosa di San Martino – A Carthusian monastery located atop a hill.
- New Jesuit Church – One of the most extravagant churches the world has to offer.
- Santa Chiara Monastery – This Naples monastery is home to a beautiful garden.
Naples Art & Culture
- Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte – A Napolitan National Gallery that is certainly worth a visit.
- Museo Archeologico Nazionale – The largest Roman architectural museum.
- Quadreria dei Girolamini – A stunning, tiny picture gallery consisting of Italian Baroque paintings.
- Museum of Music History – This Naples museum is located at the San Pietro a Maiella Conservatory.
- Textile and Clothing Museum – This museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in textiles and clothing.
- Riviera di Chiaia – The place to visit for big-name Italian fashions.
- Via San Biagio dei Librai – This street is lined with unique shops selling a variety of goods, including fine jewellery.
- Marinella – Located at Via Riviera di Chiaia, this shop is where classic and colourful ties can be found.
- Aldo Tramontano – Found on Via Chiaia, women fall in love with the handbags sold here.
- Regency House – This is where Naple’s most reputable antique dealers can be discovered.
Gay & Lesbian Naples
- Tongue – A club that attracts gays and lesbians in great numbers. Straight clientele are also welcome here.
- Bar B – For gay men only, this famous gay sauna, complete with Turkish and Finnish spas, turns into a lively disco on Thursday and Saturday nights.
- Sputnik Club – Home to a mostly gay-male scene, this club is for those with unlimited energy for dancing.
- Conoco Club – A great place to grab a drink.
- Velvet Zone – The place to go to dance all night.
- Parco Virgiliano – A beautiful park with stunning views.
- Piazza del Plebiscito – Naples' main square, surrounded by the Royal Palace and the San Carlo Theatre.
- Acquario Villa Comunale – A park located near to the shore. The park is home to an aquarium.
- Centro Sub Campi Flegrei – A modern diving centre offers diving and snorkelling activities in the Gulf of Naples.
- DISACCORDI Open Air Cinema Festival – Held in Naples in the summer, this festival grants tourists a chance to enjoy cinema beneath the stars.
- Check out the talents of the Società Sportiva Calcio Napoli football team at the Stadio San Paolo.
- Catch the S.S. Basket Napoli basketball team at the PalaBarbuto Arena.
- Watch the Società Sportiva Dilettantistica Internapoli Città di Marano football team at the Stadio Salvatore Nuvoletta.
- Take a trip to the Via Giochi del Meditterraneo tennis court and watch up-and-coming tennis stars in action.
- Witness a live golf tournament at the Napoli Golf Club.
Real Teatro di San Carlo is the oldest active opera house in Europe.
Società Sportiva Calcio Napoli have won a UEFA Cup and three national titles and play out of Stadio San Paolo.
A trip to the Amalfi Coast is a must for visitors in Naples and Campania. The area hosts many festivals throughout the summer months, such as the Festival Musicale di Villa Rufolo in Ravello.
Napoli Teatro Festival Italia is one of the most important and avant garde cultural events in the country.
When To Go
The Mediterranean climate of Naples features mild, wet winters and pernicious spells of torridity in summer. Temperatures in January range from 39°F (4°C) to 54.5°F (12.5°C) and from 64°F (18°C) to 86°F (30°C) in August.
The advisable course of action is to circumvent the damp, chilly intervals and mad heatwaves and visit in a month like May or October, when conditions typically waver between 54°F (12°C) to 71°F (22°C).
Naples gets about 40 in (1,000 mm) of rain per year. Most of it occurs between October and February.
Naples Airport, in the Capodichino district of the city, serves as a gateway to the south of Italy. Curiously, however, the Campania capita is the most populous city on the continent without a primary or secondary airline hub. Over 5.5 million passengers use the airport every year and come from the likes of Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Dublin, Istanbul, London, Moscow and Paris.
Naples is the unequivocal rail hub of the south and, as such, relatively hassle-free to manage from the rest of Italy. International service to London, Paris and Madrid provides a genteel alternative to air travel.
A hodgepodge public transport system hints at the municipal morass that is city politics in Naples. The best bet is to purchase a pass good for bus, metro and funicular service. For taxis, use the stands that dot the city and, moreover, take a stand on meter use.
Naples General Information
If Rome is the grande dame of Italy, to use a tawdry metaphor, Naples is the vixen. Risqué and elusive, Napoli seduces and captivates, cajoles and tugs at your heart and soul. Consequently, few depart the Campania capital of one million people with a sense of indifference. As a deliberate holiday target and peerless base for day trips to the gorgeous Amalfi Coast and Vesuvius National Park, the vibrant metropolis is notable. Of course, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Naples compels travellers to invest a few days to fully grasp and appreciate the city. Though often defiant and hard-won, the brazen and fiercely proud city is a paramount capital of culture in Italy.
Mount Vesuvius and the spectacular "Archaeological Areas of Pompei, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata", combine to form a nonpareil UNESCO World Heritage Site in Naples. The infamous eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D. was beyond transformative of course, not only in the most obvious ways - decimation of towns, landscapes, catastrophic loss of life - but for what subsequent archaeological excavations, hundreds and hundreds of years later, have taught us about the Early Roman Empire.
Attractions & Activités
- Castel Nuovo
- Castel dell’Ovo
- Royal Palace
- Naples National Archaeological Museum
- National Museum of Capodimonte
- Real Teatro di San Carlo
- Vesuvius National Park
- Società Sportiva Calcio Napoli at Stadio San Paolo
- Parco di Capodimonte
- Napoli Teatro Festival Italia
Restaurants & Nightlife
- L'Antica Pizzeria Da Michele
- Lombardi a Santa Chiara
- Dal Delicato
- Ristorante Pizzeria Mattozzi
- Di Matteo
- La Brasserie Ristomusic
- Oca Nera Irish Pub
- Around Midnight
- Enoteca Belledonne
- Fusion Bar 66
Naples has a Mediterranean climate, with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers.
- Winter (December to February) 4-14°C
- Spring (March to May) 6-23°C
- Summer (June to September) 15-30°C
- Fall (October to November) 8-22°C
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A Great Jewel Hidden inside a Chaous City
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