Ciao! My name is Giuseppe Marco D’Isanto. Welcome to my travel guide on the best things to do in Naples, Italy. I’m a 29 year old who was born and raised in Naples. My passion for photography was sparked out of pure chance. When I was looking at pictures of photographers on Instagram and the places they immortalised, I suddenly got hooked on the art form.
From that moment onwards, I wanted to start photographing and giving my contribution towards enchanting places in Italy such as Naples. To me, Naples is a city that offers everything – starting from excellent cuisine to the most incredible monuments and squares. The real added value of Naples is the people who live here. They are sunny and welcoming people.
To be precise, I am from an ancient village of sailors called Pozzuoli. This city is famous in history and ancient times as it offered the largest port in Italy where trade took place. Today, this port is used for taking people to islands such as Procida. Pozzuoli is known for its social life. Young people come from the city of Naples to party. So it’s a very lively place.
Best Things To Do in Naples
Personally, my favourite place in Naples is Posillipo – a hillside area where you can admire the beauty of Naples from above. If we talk about the city centre then I can say my favourite spot is the lovely Piazza Garibaldi. For me, this place is special because it’s my home. To expand even further, I can recommend 12 more places and experiences when visiting Naples:
1. Visit Piazza Plebiscito and Royal Palace of Naples
Piazza Plebiscito is the focal point of the city and main gathering spot for people to take a walk, meet and chat, and soak up the Naples sun. The Royal Palace of Naples, on the other hand, is defined by prestige as it was used by the House of Bourbon and later on the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
2. See the Veiled Christ at Cappella Sansevero
The Veiled Christ at Cappella Sansevero is one of the most stunning pieces of art in the world. Marvel at the details of this statue such as the nail wounds on the hands and feet, vein on the forehead and sunken body which represents an acceptance of death. Ultimately, this statue displays the suffering of Christ who gave his life for the redemption of humanity.
3. Check out the Themed Art at Toledo Metro Station
Art Stations of the Naples Metro is a program that has been running for a few years now where artists, designers and architects enhance the visual spaces in the subways of various stations. The Toledo Station is one of the best in the city with its 50 meter depth and theme around water and light.
4. Discover Cattedrale di San Gennaro and Museum of the Treasure of San Gennaro
Naples Cathedral, otherwise known as Cattedrale di San Gennaro, is a Roman Catholic cathedral built in the honour of Saint Januarius – the city’s patron saint. Faithful church members gather three times a year at the cathedral to witness the liquefaction (a claim to be the blood of Saint Januarius). The Museum of Treasure is where you can find amazing art.
5. Capture Photos of Castel Nuovo (Maschio Angioino)
Construction of this medieval and renaissance castle was started in 1266. It has five large cylindrical towers, each one representing one of the symbols of Naples. Visitors can sightsee around several attractions here including: Triumphal Arch, Palatine Chapel, Hall of the Armory, Hall of the Barons, Chapel of the Souls of Purgatory and more! A great place to take photos.
6. Explore the Islands of Capri, Procida and Ischia
Capri is a must-visit on any trip to Italy. This gorgeous island is full of history, charm, natural beauty and luxury (if you are that way inclined). The boat ride there from Naples takes no more than one and a half hours. Procida is another beautiful island with colourful architecture and fishing boats. Then you have the less explored Ischia with its volcanic terrain and hot springs.
7. Spend Time in Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast
Sorrento is a great place to visit for a couple of days. Go exploring at the historic center, take a dip at Regina Giovanna Bath, have a meal at L’Antica Trattoria and start planning for more exploration of the Amalfi Coast! You can take a ferry from Sorrento to Positano – one of the most beautiful towns in Italy. Here you can relax at the black sand beach and go shopping.
8. Marvel at the Excavations of Pompeii
In the year 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted and showered volcanic debris over Pompeii. The city was then buried beneath ash and pumice. The ruins were first discovered in the 16th century and excavation began in 1738. Today you can see incredible old buildings and more interestingly private homes where over 100 people have been preserved in plaster casts.
9. Take an Excursion to Mount Vesuvius near Naples
Just a 30 minute drive away from Naples, the impressive Mount Vesuvius makes for a fantastic day trip. You can enjoy a variety of adventures here such as food and wine day tours in the surrounding Mount Vesuvius area, helicopter flights over the mountain, and a variety of hikes and treks.
10. Learn about the History of Castel dell’Ovo
The oldest castle in Naples (Castle of the Egg) is known by this name because a Roman scribe buried an egg at the castle with a warning that when the egg breaks, the castle – and all of Naples – will fall. You can visit the castle to see a number of exhibits and learn about the history.
11. Experience the Views at Certosa di San Martino
The Certosa di San Martino (San Martino Charterhouse) is perched on a hill overlooking the Gulf of Naples. The spectacular views are reason enough to visit but you can also explore the lovely gardens, take a walk down the Vomero Hill with its trees, marvel at the church sculptures and visit the museum which is dedicated to the history of Naples.
12. Stroll along the Lovely Lungomare Caracciolo
What better place to take a late afternoon stroll, watch the sunset, admire the views of Naples, see various castles, look out at Mount Vesuvius and enjoy a romantic dinner along the promenade. The perfect place to cap off your time in Naples. Watch the sunset and look back on your memories.
Immerse Yourself in the Local Culture and Food of Naples
The best way to immerse yourself in the culture of Naples is to wander along the main streets where you can find everything. When I say everything I mean: street food, street artists and thousands of other attractions. The real Naples can be discovered down Via Toledo (an ancient and long shopping street), Spaccanapoli and Via San Gregorio Armeno.
When it comes to local food, there are endless varieties of restaurants and cafes. I can personally recommend trying the Queen of Naples: Pizza! My favourite restaurants are Sorbillo, Pizzeria da Michele and Pizzeria Astarita. Another goodness is Fried Pizza which in my opinion should be enjoyed at La Figlia del Presidente or as street food at Sorbillo in Via Toledo.
As for the cafes, they are all excellent in Naples. The oldest one is located in Piazza del Plebiscito and is called Gran Caffe Gambrinus. If you want to search for food at markets you can head to the Fish Market in Pozzuoli which offers freshly caught fish of the highest quality. Make sure you try Napoli desserts such as Baba, Sfogliatella and many other delights!
Where to Stay in Naples
I have had the opportunity to stay in some amazing hotels in Naples. The most beautiful ones are located in Lungomare Caracciolo which offer a view of Castel dell’Ovo. Obviously, the prices go up according to the location and standards. There are also some good options around town.
Personally, I loved my stay at Hotel Palazzo Esedra. This 4-star hotel is located near the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in the Fuorigrotta suburb of Naples. It offers excellent value for money and a comfortable stay. You can also search on Airbnb and see what places have good reviews.
Need to Know Before you Go
First of all it must be said that Naples is not a dangerous city as some in the media like to portray. In fact, quite the contrary! It’s a safe place that welcomes thousands of people from all over the world every year. Clearly, however, Naples is a big city. And like all big cities this has its positive and negative aspects. The same goes for Rome, Milan and Florence.
The best time of year to visit is May and June. The weather is excellent and you can enjoy a pleasant temperature (almost summer). To get around Naples use the metro as the traffic can get quite bad at certain times of the day. You can utilise the metro while admiring the Art Stations of Naples.
Apart from that, just take your time to immerse yourself in this city. Get lost in the streets, eat the local food, meet the local citizens, see all the sights, take amazing day trips and embrace the Naples way of life. There is always something that will surprise you in this authentic Italian city.