Southern Italy’s largest town has a special charm, anarchic yet urban, which has been attracting visitors for many years. The city known for amazing pizza and budget-friendly prices will definitely win your heart and it is always a good choice for a city break. Feel the creative buzz on the streets where both modern and ancient culture collide and enjoy the mild climate on a wide azure bay, with Vesuvius, Sorrentine peninsula, Pompeii and Capri right within your horizon. Check out our guide what to see in this chaotic, yet fantastic destination and make the most of your city break!
Start your city break with a ride in one of the world’s best metro station, actually in one of the 11 art stations in Naples, the project of both local and international names dating from 2001. A single ticket valid for 90 minutes costs 1.5€. The first attraction to see is Castel dell’Ovo, the city’s most ancient castle built in the 15th century situated on the peninsula of Megaride (a former island). Today this place is a popular site for holding events, shooting movies and videos. If you want to take a break or try the local ice cream, turn left on the Castle’s exit and go towards the Riviera di Chiaia where you will find many bars and restaurants on Piazza Vittoria while enjoying the walk along the Naples’ coast and admiring the breathtaking view. Continue your tour with Palazzo delle Arti in via dei Mille street, known also as PAN, which houses contemporary exhibitions of paintings, sculptures, photos, cinema and more. The museum is divided in 3 floors where you will find, apart from exhibitions, a library, cafes, terraces, etc. Change your direction to Piazza del Plebiscito, situated in the old town of Naples. For its size, it is considered to be one of the biggest in Italy and it is mainly used for large manifestations. If you want to try your luck, do the walk between two bronze horses with your eyes closed and your back to the Palazzo Reale, which is one of local traditions. However, this square does not lack any attractions itself, from vine-covered slopes leading up to Castel Sant’Elmo, a former prison and a fortress known for spectacular panorama and its Museo del Novecento dedicated to Neapolitan art from the 20th century, the Certosa di San Martino and Palazzo Reale with ancient facade to the Chiesa di San Francesco di Paola and Antonio Canova’s statue of King Charles VII of the Bourbons and Antonio Cali’s rendering of Charles’ son Ferdinand I. At the northern end of the square you will find the beginning of Piazza Trieste e Trento, the heart of the city and home to its most luxurious cafe, Caffé Gambrinus. Your day wouldn’t be complete without trying some traditional food, so make sure to try one of the three Neapolitan pizzas: pizza napoletana marinara, pizza napoletana margherita and pizza napoletana margherita DOC. You won’t have problems with finding a good pizzeria, so our recommendation is to ask a local for advice, they surely know the best.
Start the sightseeing part of this day with a photo next to Castel Nuovo, a beautiful medieval castle located in front of Naples’ city hall, the Palazzo San Giacomo. Continue the day in cultural tone, so if you’ve heard of Caravaggio, you’ll be glad to know that some, more specifically three, of his works have remained in Naples (among many other he made). Seven Acts of Mercy, a life-sized painting hangs in the Pio Monte della Misericordia, the Flagellation in the Capodimonte museum and the Martyrdom of St Ursula to be found in gallery of the main branch of Banca Intesa Sanpaolo on Via Toledo. While in the area, make sure to see the Catacombs di San Gennaro, an underground paleo-Christian burial site of extreme historical significance. You can’t miss the site since there is a large church of Madre del Buon Consiglio nearby. Go down the same road, Corso Amedeo di Savoia, to reach the National Archaelogical Museum of Naples, considered the most important one of such kind in the world whose collection includes works of the highest quality produced in Greek, Roman and Renaissance era and Roman artifacts from Pompeii, Stabiae and Herculaneum. The admission fee is 12€. In the meanwhile, don’t forget to taste another Neapolitan delicacy, coffee. Yes, it is not all about pizza. Some of the best places to do so are Gran Caffè Aragonese, Intramoenia Caffè Letterario and Mexico with probably the best espresso in the city. Also, it wouldn’t feel like Italy without some shopping, so head out to the Galleria Umberto I, a public shopping gallery designed by Emanuele Rocco, who designed the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan as well, situated right across the Teatro di San Carlo next to Piazza del Plebiscito, an opera house and the oldest continuously active venue for opera in the world opened since 1737. If you happen to be there between January and June, you should see an opera or ballet show there. To dine well and taste local cuisine, go to Nardones, Zero Zero Grano, Zia Rossi o Osteria II Gobbetto. After a nice meal, hit the beach party at Arenile, the closest club to the city centre where people gather in the evening the enjoy cocktail and live music.
This day is reserved for day trips to Pompeii and Capri, which are pretty close and it would be a real shame to miss them. To make it both in one day, go as early as possible to Pompeii because the ride takes 30 minutes. Pompeii, an ancient city and one of the most significant proofs or Roman civilization, along with Herculaneum and many places in the surrounding area, was destroyed and buried under 6-meter-high volcanic ash due to Mount Vesuvius’ eruption in 79 AD. The cheapest way to go there is by taking the train. So, head out to the Napoli Centrale Station, more specifically to the Circumvesuviana train ticket window, and buy tickets for Pompeii Scavi. Once there, exit the train station and after 50 m on the right there is the entrance to the ruins. The entrance fee is 13€ (7,50€ for students 18-24). If you go on your own and avoid guided tours, you can finish with your tour until 12:30 p.m. and take the Circumvesuviana to Sorrento (25 min ride) and catch a ferry to Capri from there. There are three ferry lines which operate altogether 30 times a day, so you won’t have to worry about being late, plus the journey takes less than an hour (50 minutes). The ferry ticket price varies from 14€ – 20€, depending on the transport company and the departure time. First thing to do is to try out one of the Capri’s beaches, like Gradola and the Punta Carena Lighthouse. Depending on how much time you have left, stroll through the beautiful city centre to see the Piazza Umberto I, known to the locals as ‘Piazzetta’ (‘little piazza’) where you can have a non-budget-friendly coffee. Climb a few stairs to see the town’s pretty church, the Chiesa di San Stefano. There is much more there to see, but you should decide between catching a ferry back to Naples or spending the night in Capri. For the first option, the ticket costs 15€-21€ and the journey takes 1h 20min. For the details on schedule, check at the ferry station upon your arrival at the island in order to avoid being stuck there until tomorrow, but who would mind such a ‘problem’?