Attractions in Naples
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- See DigoPaul for dictionary definitions of Naples, Italy. Includes geographical map and city sightseeing photos.
Museo Archeologico Nazionale
The Naples National Archaeological Museum was founded as early as the late 18th century. It has one of the world’s largest and best exhibitions from Greek and Roman history and from the Renaissance, and you can also see many objects taken from Pompeii and Herculaneum. The famous mosaic illustrating the battle between Alexander the Great and the Persian king Darius can also be found here. If you have a touch of historical interest, you will easily be able to spend many hours here.
The museum is open daily except Tuesdays from 7 pm. 0900 to 1900, and the entrance fee does not cost the whole world and it tends to be free for children under 18.
Naples most characteristic building, Castel Nuovo or the New Castle, is not new at all. It was built by King Charles I of Naples in 1282. when the kingdom’s capital was moved here from Palermo. The castle is also called Maschio Angioino by the locals, and is very visible down by the harbor. Open daily except Tuesdays from 0900 to 1900. Free for children under 18.
At the beginning of the 17th century, a royal palace was built for the Spanish King Philip III, and this still dominates one side of Naples most central square, Piazza del Plebiscito. A majestic staircase leads up to the royal comforts, where you can see rococo furniture, paintings and frescoes and visit the lavish royal chapel.
Open daily except Wednesdays from 10 am 0900 to 1900, and the entrance fee costs around NOK 40 for adults. Free for children under 18.
The Neapolitan has an extremely close relationship to death, and in few places is this as evident as in these caves, which were used for burial site for the first time in 1656. At that time, it was to get piles of corpses caused by plague out of the way so quickly and as efficiently as possible. For a long time, victims of epidemics were placed here, the last time at the outbreak of cholera in 1837.
In these caves are still skulls, hip and thighs, some decorated with small chapels or monuments. You can visit this mysterious place, but only by appointment by phone 081-5490368 Monday to Friday between 10am. 1000 and 1200.
Naples Cathedral (Duomo de Napoli)
Built around the year 1300, this cathedral is dedicated to the patron saint of St. Gennaro and is Naples’ most important church building. Twice a year (the first Sunday of May and September 19), the entire city’s attention is directed to St. Gennaro’s Chapel, where remnants of the saint’s blood are brought forth, and it will usually float again.
Legend has it that a disaster will hit Naples if this miracle were to happen. The cathedral is located on Via de Duomo in the old town of Spaccanapoli. Open Monday to Saturday at. 0800 to 1230 and 4 p.m. 1630 to 1900. Sundays at. 0830 to 1330 and 7 p.m. 1700 to 1930. Free admission.
Chiesa di San Lorenzo Maggiore
San Lorenzo is today both a museum, a church and a monastery, which has its roots all the way back to the very French of Assisi. The church has a great Gothic architecture, and is located exactly in the middle of historic Naples. Traces of a Greco-Roman marketplace have been found in the archaeological excavations below the church. The museum on the floors above the courtyard takes in all the history of the Naples area. The church has free admission and is open daily from 6 p.m. 0900 to 1300, and from 1 p.m. 1600 to 1830. A donation is expected for access to the archaeological site.
Catacombe di San Gennaro
Naples patron Saint Gennaro is constantly worshiped, and especially in the working class he is popular. There are many sacred places dedicated to him, such as the cathedral, but the catacombs of the Madre del Buon Consiglio Church are perhaps what make the strongest impression. Here you will find portraits of the martyr dating back to the 400s, and his remains were here until the 900s. These sacred chambers and corridors were originally the tomb of a noble family with roots dating back to around 180 AD, but were later given to Naples’s ever-expanding Christian community.
The catacombs are open to visitors every day between 7 p.m. 0900 and 1300. Entrance costs some money and there are differentiated prices for adults and children.
Santa Chiara Monastery
This is not only a monastery built around 1310–1340, but also a church and an archaeological museum. Here you can see a number of beautiful frescoes from the year 1330. Several kings are buried here, like the national hero Salvo d’Acquisto.
The monastery is open to visitors from 6 p.m. From 0900 to 1300 and from. 1530 to 1730. The attraction costs entrance fee.
Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte
This museum, housed in an old royal palace, has a world-class painting collection of artists such as Titian, Caravaggio, Martini and Napoli’s own Caravaggisti. Most works of art are from the 13th to the 18th centuries. On the upper floors of the palace, the royal residences are preserved, and you can visit many of the rooms the kings lived in.
Open daily except Wednesdays from 10am. 0900 to 1900. Free for children.
Tourist in Naples
Few tourists use Naples as anything but a crossing point en route to places like Capri, Pompeii, Sorrento and Amalfi. But Naples has a long history and culture that most justifies a few days’ stay. One day is not enough to catch everything, but it is enough to get a solid impression of this walled garden of a lively city. You can stroll around on your own for suggestions below, or join an organized guided tour of City Sightseeing Naples, which runs around the city in double-decker buses. Here you can go on and off as you like, while getting information in your own headphones.
Day 1 in Naples
We start today’s tour of downtown Naples down the harbor. From the docks where the boats take you out to the islands of the Mediterranean, you will quickly notice the first stop of the day. The grand fortress, with its round defense tower dominating the harbor, is Castel Nuovo (the new fortress) of 1285. Naples’s own residents are most often called the Maschio Angioino, and the building has become a symbol of the city. Several historical events and sieges have taken place here. The entrance fee costs around 40 kroner, and you can stroll around huge halls, up the defense towers and down the dungeons.
Afterwards, continue west through Parco Castello (Fortress Park) and you will then reach the Piazza Trento e Trieste square. Here is one of the city’s tourist information offices, which it might be a good idea to stop by for a city map and brochures. On the east side of this square is Europe’s oldest active opera house, the Teatro di San Carlo of 1737, which is also on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
Right next to it is Naples Royal Palace, which was used by kings in the 18th and 19th centuries while Naples was an independent kingdom. Since 1925, the National Library has also lived here, and houses hundreds of papyrus scrolls found in the Herculaneum. The entrance fee to the castle costs around 40 kroner. The library is free, but you must be able to identify yourself at the entrance.
On the west side of the castle lies the magnificent Piazza del Plebiscito square, and here lies the church of Chiesa di San Francesco di Paola from 1817, built on the model of the Pantheon in Rome. The dome is 53 meters high, and both the church and the square outside were built by Napoleon’s brother-in-law, King Gioacchino Murat.
If you are now ready for lunch, coffee or a refreshment, Naples’s oldest cafe Gran Cafe Gambrinus happens to be beautifully situated on the north side of the square. Here, celebrities like Bill Clinton and Diego Maradona have eaten (though not at the same time), but if it’s high season, you have to wait a while before it becomes a vacant table.
After lunch you can continue north up Naples main street Via Toledo, which after a few hundred meters changes its name to Via Roma. These are the city’s premier shopping streets, where you will find almost all the chain stores you know from before. You will soon reach the main square of Piazza Dante, which is dominated by a large 19th-century statue by the poet Dante Alighieri, after which the square is named. On the northeast side of the square lies Port’Alba, one of the remaining gates in the original city wall, dating from 1625.
If you continue north from the square, you will soon reach Naples main attraction, the Museo Archeologico Nazionale (Archaeological Museum). Founded as early as the late 18th century, it has one of the world’s largest and best exhibitions from Greek and Roman history and from the Renaissance. Here you can see many objects taken from Pompeii and Herculaneum, and the famous mosaic illustrating the battle between Alexander the Great and the Persian king Darius can also be found here. The entrance fee costs around 75 kroner.
Return to Piazza Dante when you manage to tear yourself away from archeology. A few hundred meters west of the square, at Piazza Montesano, you’ll find one of the three lower cable car stations that takes you up to Vomero, Naples’s higher-lying neighborhood where the wealthier section of the population lives. The cable car takes only a few minutes, and at the top you set the course for Castel Sant’Elmo. This star-shaped castle offers spectacular views of Naples and the Tyrrhenian Sea. It was built by Spaniards around 1540. Entrance fee is only 8 kroner.
Close by, in an ancient 13th-century convent, is the San Martino National Museum, an exhibit that focuses on Naples’s time as a kingdom and on the city’s maritime history. From the garden terraces outside you also have a fabulous view of Naples.
After a trip back to the hotel to rinse off sweat and dust, it’s time to start thinking about dinner. Neapolitan people generally eat late dinner, and the restaurants are usually not filled until the 22 o’clock. If you are willing to spend a little extra for something special, we recommend Restaurant Grapalu on Via Toledo 16. It has one of the country’s best selection of Italian wine, as well as excellent service and high quality local dishes.
Day 2 in Naples
We spend the first half of this day discovering the rest of Naples’ historic Spaccanapoli area. Yesterday you were introduced to the shopping street Via Roma, and one of its eastern side streets is Via Benedetto Croce, one of Naples oldest streets. Here the churches are close. At the first square you reach, Piazza del Gesu Nuovo, lies both the Basilica of Santa Chiara and Chiesa del Gesu Nuovo. In a side street to the next square, Piazza San Domenica Maggiore, lies the Capella di San Severo with its stunning Cristo Velato statue.
Turn left into Via Duomo, and on your right you will soon reach the city’s majestic cathedral. It was built around the year 1300, is dedicated to the patron saint of St. Gennaro and is Naples most important church building. A few hundred meters east of the cathedral is Piazza Garibaldi. From here take the Circumvesuviana train for 25 kroner to one of not only Naples, but Italy’s most visited and impressive attractions.
Get off at Pompeii-Scavi Villa dei Misteri Station and you are now just over 100 meters from the main entrance to the legendary Pompeii. This Roman city was buried by ash and volcanic rock when the volcano Vesuvius erupted in the year 79 AD, and it lay untouched for 1600 years before it was accidentally discovered in 1748. In retrospect, scientists have learned a great deal about daily life in a Roman city two millennia ago, when Pompeii is almost intact. The entrance fee costs around 80 kroner.
Well back in Naples you must also try the dish the city is proud to have invented, the pizza. In one of Naples’s nicest streets, Via Partenope, you’ll find PizzaRé, a stylish and affordable pizza restaurant that also serves pasta and meat dishes.