I love pizza, and I thought about writing a post about finding the best pizzeria in Naples since Naples is the birthplace of pizza. Of course, I’ll be talking about the best things to do in Naples Italy and giving you the ultimate Naples Itinerary. But first, pizza. I quickly learned from the locals here in Naples that finding the best pizza is simply a matter of your location.
Let me explain. If you ask a Naples local where the best pizzeria is, loyal to a fault, they will most likely, point you to the local pizzeria in their neighbourhood. If you ask a person born in Rome where the best pizzeria is, they will most likely say Rome. If you ask an Italian which country makes the best pizza…they will most certainly reply with…you guessed it, Italy.
Back to Naples. If you’re looking for an unforgettable trip to Italy, look no further than Naples. This historic city has something for everyone, from stunning views and beaches of the Tyrrhenian Sea to ancient ruins and world-class cuisine. It can be overwhelming to plan your itinerary with so many things to see and do, so we created the ultimate Naples itinerary featuring the top things to do in the city.
Ok, fine if you really, really need to know where the best pizza in Naples can be found, my good friends and foodie travel bloggers Daryl & Mindi from 2 Food Trippers break it all down in a post called “Where to Eat the Best Pizza in Naples Italy – A Naples Pizza Guide.”
You’re welcome 😉
This article is now available as a mobile app. Go to GPSmyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article.
Fun Things To Do In Naples Italy
1. Naples National Archaeological Museum
Established in the late 18th century by King Charles VII of Spain’s Bourbon dynasty, the National Archaeological Museum in Naples was established to house the antiquities inherited by the King’s mother.
These artifacts became the museum’s Farnese Collection, only one of the four collections featured. The other three include items from Herculaneum and Pompeii, gifts from minor collections, and discovered artifacts from archaeological excavations in the Naples area.
Notable pieces in the museum that must be seen include the Toro Farnese (the Farnese Bull), Ercole Farnese (the Farnese Hercules), the mosaics on the mezzanine level, and the Farnese Atlas (Atlas carrying the celestial spheres) on the first floor.
2. Gabinetto Segreto
The Gabinetto Segreto, better known as the Secret Cabinet or Secret Museum, holds a special section at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples. It is here that visitors can find the famous pieces Toro Farnese, Farnese Ercole, the mosaics and Farnese Atlas, all of which were once only available to those who could afford to bribe museum staff.
The Secret Museum also houses erotic art from the Herculaneum and Pompeii excavations. After long periods of being hidden away and off-limits to the public, it was opened to the public in 2000 and, in 2005, was relocated to its own area in the museum. One can encounter erotic statuary, paintings and mosaics, and other phallic objects.
3. The Royal Palace of Naples | Palazzo Reale di Napoli
Situated in downtown Naples, the Royal Palace of Naples proudly stands along one side of the Piazza del Plebiscito. Palazzo Reale di Napoli is over 380 years old and was once a royal residence. This palace is amazingly furnished and was well-preserved by Gaetano Genovese after a fire in 1837. The grand double staircase immediately makes an impression as soon as you arrive, leading to the Museum of Furnishings, once the palace’s royal apartments.
Palazzo Reale di Napoli is now a museum that showcases Naples’ monarchs’ decadence. Inside, guests can admire the collection of neoclassical and baroque furniture, tapestries, paintings, sculptures, and porcelain. Moreover, the palace houses the Teatrino di Corte, an extravagant theatre, the Capella Royale, a royal chapel which features an 18th-century nativity scene, and the National Library, where the public can find fragments of a Coptic Bible from the 5th century and a 2,000-year-old papyrus.
4. The Flavian Amphitheater of Pozzuoli
The third largest large-scale coliseum, the Flavian Amphitheater of Pozzuoli, is situated at the intersection of two main streets that lead to Naples.
Like many sports stadiums today, it consists of three levels: the ima (arena-level seating with the best seats), the media (where the middle class sits), and the suma (the highest and least favourable section, where women and children sit).
A wide, pillared portico encircles the amphitheatre, and its entrance also grants access to the Phlegrean Fields Museum and Cuma Archaeological Park.
5. Castel Nuovo | Maschio Angioino
First erected in 1279, Castel Nuovo is an architectural staple of Naples. The castle served many purposes: once a cultural center for artists, doctors, and scholars during the reign of Robert of Anjou (14th century), then as a fortress during the Aragonese occupation of Naples. Today, Castel Nuovo serves as a venue for events and also houses the Municipal Museum.
6. Pausilypon Archaeological Park
The Pausilypon Archaeological Park, located high on Posillipo Hill, boasts the remains of a 22-acre villa from the 1st century BC to the 4th century AD.
The Seiano Grotto, a nearly half-mile (770-meter) tunnel, grants visitors access to the villa, where they can observe the remains of an amphitheatre seating 2,000 that follows the natural slope of the hillside, along with an Odeion (a small theatre for intimate musical and poetic performances), a temple, a nymphaeum, a vineyard, and a thermal bathhouse.
7. Castel dell’Ovo
This seaside castle is on the Gulf of Naples and is the oldest standing fortification in Naples. Castel dell’Ovo’s (Castle of the Egg) gets its name from the Roman poet Virgil, who supposedly buried an egg on the castle grounds as a warning that if the egg breaks, the castle will fall. Despite Virgil’s admonition, Castle dell’Ovo still stands and is now used as a venue for exhibits, weddings, and special events and as a tourist attraction.
8. Vesuvius National Park
Vesuvius National Park is sure to delight any enthusiastic hiker. With 83 square miles of land, 13 towns, and nine different trails, this park has something for everyone. Hikers who want to take on the challenge of the crater’s edge can start with Trail 1, Valle dell’Inferno, and continue on to Trail 5, the Gran Cono. Every municipality of the park is full of history and culture to explore, from Trocchia’s medieval district to Ercolano’s Golden Mile to Boscotrecase, the town closest to the Pompeii ruins. There really is something for everyone in Vesuvius National Park.
9. Mount Vesuvius
As the only active volcano in mainland Europe, Mount Vesuvius is well-known as the volcano that destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 AD. Mount Vesuvius stands over 4,000ft tall and is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world due to its proximity to Naples and surrounding towns.
Galleria Borbonica a Napoli, also known as Bourbon Tunnel, was constructed in 1853 by Ferdinand II of Bourbon, who had the tunnel built as an escape route from the Royal Palace to the military barracks in Via Della Pace. During World War II, the tunnel was used as an underground shelter from aerial bombardments. The Galleria Borbonica a Napoli is currently open to the public.
10. Basilica Reale Pontificia San Francesco di Paola
The wonderful Basilica Reale Pontificia San Francesco di Paola is located in the main square of Naples, Piazza del Plebiscito. The basilica is famous for its dome, stunning exterior architecture and the church is dedicated to Saint Francis of Paola. Make sure to explore the interior, too, as it is filled with interesting art pieces. One of the highlights is the painting by Luca Giordano depicting the miracles of Saint Francis.
The area around the Basilica is an excellent place for those looking to people-watch and take pictures of the beautiful facade.
11. Galleria Borbonica
Galleria Borbonica, commonly known as the Bourbon Tunnel, is an 1853 tunnel that connects Palazzo Reale to the military barracks and the sea. This escape route was constructed following the 17th-century Carmignano aqueduct system and was the brainchild of Ferdinand II. During WWII, the underground tunnel served multiple purposes as a shelter during air raids and as a military hospital.
Tours of the tunnel start at the Morelli parking area near the second entrance. There is no need to pre-book regular tours, which last 80 minutes. The Adventure Tour, a mix of walking and rafting, must be booked in advance. For history and archaeology enthusiasts, the 2.5-hour Speleo Tour is available only to adults.
12. Palazzo Zevallos Stigliano
In 2014, the Duke of Ostuni’s Zevallos Palace was converted into a museum containing art pieces from the 17th to 20th centuries, primarily from Italy and Naples. The centrepiece of the 120 works is The Martyrdom of St. Ursula, the famous final painting by Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. The museum is one of three Italian sister museums, with the others located in Milan’s Gallerie di Piazza Scala and Vicenza’s Palazzo Leoni Montanari. Over the centuries, the palace has changed hands several times.
13. San Gregorio Armeno
Visitors to San Gregorio Armeno can enjoy the festive atmosphere of Christmas all year round, as this street is home to numerous artisanal shops that specialize in creating nativity pieces.
Exploring off-season gives travellers a more relaxed pace to appreciate the artisans and their work, which ranges from whimsical celebrity figures and parody characters to more sophisticated works crafted by second or third-generation craftsmen. You can find nativity pieces of all shapes and sizes, from miniatures to giants.
The street is busy the weeks before Christmas, bringing crowds of people out of tradition.
14. Naples Underground | Napoli Sotterranea
This guided tour of the underground aqueduct system of Naples descends to a depth of over 130 feet. Participants will explore Naples’s tunnels’ cavities, tanks, and labyrinths while guides share their history, legends, stories, mysteries, and myths.
Tours are family-friendly. Some tours are by candlelight, and a few tunnels are incredibly narrow, which may be uncomfortable for some people. Remember that the tunnels are near constant 62°F with 90% humidity. Travellers should meet at Piazza Trieste e Trento. Tours in English are on Saturdays and Sundays, and there is an Italian-only tour on Thursdays.
15. Naples Zoo | Zoo di Napoli
Since the 1940s, Naples Zoo (Zoo di Napoli), spanning 25 acres, has been delighting and informing its visitors.
Along with many other zoos, it provides an opportunity for guests to get up close and personal with various animal species and take in the unique, vibrant flora from all over the globe, creating a truly exotic atmosphere. There are over 400 animals to observe here, such as tigers, zebras, camels, elephants, leopards, and much more.
Additionally, this family-friendly zoo also hosts various events throughout the year; Darwin Day in February and World Water Day in March are two examples where children can gain insight into evolution and water, respectively, by engaging in play and experiments.
16. Museo di Capodimonte
The Museo di Capodimonte, located in the Palace of Capodimonte in Italy, boasts a large and impressive art collection. This collection includes the Farnese collection, two Caravaggio masterpieces (including the famous Flagellation of Christ), paintings from the Ligurian-Provencal school and Verona and Tuscany from the 15th century, works from the Veneto and Emilia schools from the 16th to 18th centuries, Flemish paintings and mannerists from the 15th and 16th centuries, and Neapolitan school works from the 15th century to the 17th century.
17. Museo Cappella Sansevero
Cappella Sansevero, located in the heart of Naples, is an esteemed fixture of the world’s artistic legacy.
Originally built towards the end of the 16th century to serve as the final resting place of the di Sangro family, it was substantially renovated between 1749 and 1766 in a Masonic-inspired baroque style by Prince Raimondo di Sangro, who was referred to as the Leonardo di Vinci of his time.
During this period, the Prince hired only the finest 18th-century artists to embellish the chapel’s interior. Within its walls lies a treasure trove of priceless works, such as Giuseppe Sanmartino’s Cristo Velato (Veiled Christ) and Francesco Queirolo’s Disinganno (Disillusion).
18. Palazzo Venezia
When taking a stroll along Spaccanapoli Street in Naples’ historic center, don’t miss Palazzo Venezia and its accompanying terraced garden. Built-in 1412, the building was presented to the Republic of Venice by the Neapolitan King Ladislao I.
Today, the Pompeian-style palace hosts various exhibitions and has become a popular sightseeing destination. The garden is a hidden oasis in the heart of the bustling neighbourhood full of tranquil spaces connected by narrow passages. Explore this unique and peaceful environment as part of your visit.
19. Museo Nazionale di San Martino
Situated in the San Martino monastery complex perched on top of Vomero Hill, the National Museum of San Martino is one of Naples’ most renowned museums. The complex consists of a church, a charterhouse, and scenic terraced gardens.
Visitors can explore the museum’s 70 halls, within the former home of the monastery’s monks, to discover art, including sculptures and paintings from the 13th to 19th centuries, folk art, and much more. Of particular note is the renowned Cuciniello crib, or Presepe Cuciniello, widely admired as one of the greatest nativity scenes in the world, displaying over 150 figures and 450 items.
The terraced gardens of the museum also offer breathtaking vistas of the Gulf of Naples.
20. Catacombs of San Gennaro
The Catacombs of San Gennaro, located outside of Rome and considered to be the most impressive paleo-Christian ruins of southern Italy, are made up of three former cemeteries that have now been merged – San Gennaro, San Gaudioso, and San Severo – and can be found in the northern region of Capodimonte in Naples.
Visitors can access the two-level site down an alleyway near the Madre del Buon Consiglio church. The lower level is the oldest, holding the remains of Bishop Agrippinus. In contrast, the 5th-century remains of St. Januarius were kept on the second level before being moved to the Cathedral of Naples, where they are today.
21. Fontanelle Cemetery Caves
Fontanelle Cemetery Caves, originally used as tufa mines, were turned into an ossuary during a 1656 plague outbreak and cholera outbreaks in the 1830s. As the deceased was thrown in with little ceremony, a flood caused numerous bones and skulls to be scattered across the streets of Naples. This prompted Fr. Gaetano Barbati to organize and catalogue the remains.
During WWII, the ossuary served as a bomb shelter for the living and became popular with a cult following. As a result, the Cardinal of Naples eventually closed it to the public. However, visitors can still tour it by appointment.
22. Funicolore Centrale
Nearly 10 million people each year benefit from the Funicolore Centrale in Naples.
First opened in 1928, this funicular was designed to reduce traffic between the lower central parts of the city and Piazza Vanvitelli. There are four stations along the line, approximately 4,167 feet long, and it runs up a 558-foot elevation.
These stations are Piazza Fuga, Petraio, Corso Vittorio Emmanuel, and Piazza Vanvitelli. The train has a maximum capacity of 450 passengers, and the journey from the bottom to the top takes about 5 minutes. It is a popular mode of transport for the local Neapolitans, so visitors might want to consider riding it on the weekend when the daily ridership drops from 28,000 to 10,000.
Built-in the 13th century, Castel Sant’Elmo is a medieval fortress located on a hilltop in Naples. Originally, Castel Sant’Elmo was a church dedicated to Saint Eramus but it was later transformed into a castle under the reign of Robert of Anjou. Castel Sant’Elmo underwent a further transformation and was used as a military prison until 1971. It is now a museum dedicated to 20th-century Neapolitan art.
Fontana del Gigante
The Top Naples Italy Attractions | Stunning Cathedrals & Basiica’s
24. Cattedrale Metropolitana di Santa Maria Assunta (Naples Cathedral)
This Roman Catholic Church is the main church of Naples. It is considered a sacred church with many relics that date back to the 4th century. However, the French Gothic dimensions of the church were not added until the 13th century, under King Charles I of Anjou.
The Naples Cathedral is most famous for containing the blood of its patron saint, St. Januarius (San Gennaro). Legend has it that the blood of San Gennaro liquefies three times a year, and this spectacle attracts eager pilgrims worldwide who hope to see this miracle occur.
25. Basilica di San Paolo Maggiore
This splendid basilica underwent major renovations at the end of the 16th century and was built over a temple dedicated to the Roman mythological figure Dioscuri. Built-in Baroque style, the church is outfitted with gilded accents, marvellous paintings, striking geometric patterns, and fabulous frescoes of biblical figures and events.
26. Piazza San Domenico Maggiore
San Domenico Maggiore Church is the centrepiece of Naples’ most popular plaza, Piazza San Domenico Maggiore. The lively gathering place for university students, tourists, and people watchers is encircled by palazzi on three sides.
An alleyway near the church leads to Sansevero Chapel, a must-see. Palazzo Corigliano, part of the university, can be found on one side, and Palazzo Petrucci on the third side, with Ristorante Palazzo Petrucci, a Michelin-starred restaurant, nearby. There are numerous outdoor cafés around the piazza, and the renowned bakery, Scaturchio’s, serves delectable puff pastries, rum cakes, and St. Joseph’s Day fritters.
This church was founded by the friars of the Dominican Order, served as the Aragonese royal church, and the monastery was the original location of the University of Naples. Aside from being full of pieces of art and jaw-dropping architecture, San Domenico Maggiore is well-known for being where the famous philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas returned to teach theology.
This quaint 14th-century church is home to one of the first major artworks of the Neapolitan Renaissance – the tomb of Cardinal Brancaccio, who founded the church. Sant’Angelo a Nilo is known for containing the sarcophagus of Cardinal Brancacci, which was sculpted in the city of Pisa by famed sculptors Donatello, Michelozzo, and Pagno di Lapo Partigiani.
28. Complesso Monumentale di Santa Chiara, Chiostro Delle Clarisse & Torre Campanaria di Santa Chiara
These three must-see structures are all part of a religious complex in Naples. Basilica di Santa Chiara is the first of these three, the largest Gothic church in Naples. The Chiostro Delle Clarisse is a complex of cloisters dedicated to the Basilica di Santa Chiara. The last of these three is the Torre Campanaria di Santa Chiara or Tower of Santa Chiara, which overlooks the religious complex and a heaping portion of Naples.
Chiesa del Gesu Nuovo, also known as the Church of Gesù Nuovo, was originally a palace built by Roberto Sanseverino, Prince of Salerno. However, the church was seized by the Jesuits and transformed into a church. Located in the same plaza as the Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo is the Obelisco dell’Immacolata or the Spire of the Immaculate Virgin.
Best Places To Eat In Naples Italy
When it comes to pizza, Di Matteo is one of the most famous pizzerias in Naples. Di Matteo, established in 1936, serves personal Margherita pizzas that are out of this world! The small but famed pizzeria serves hungry patrons worldwide and has even been visited by former U.S. President Bill Clinton!
The pizza was so good, and I was so hungry. I forgot to take a picture, so here’s what the box looks like 😉
31. Try Sfogliatella
When it comes to sfogliatelle (similar to a lobster-tail pastry), there’s no better place to try the Italian dessert than Sfogliatelle Attanasio. They make some of the best sfogliatella in town and are well worth the visit.
32. Have lunch/dinner at Munaciello
Across the piazza from Chiesa del Gesu Nuovo, O’ Munaciello is a well-received pizzeria café that serves delicious Neapolitan pizza and fresh seafood. O’ Munaciello’s quick and friendly service makes the restaurant a favourite amongst visitors and locals. The restaurant also has outside seating that overlooks the streets of Naples.
What better way to end off than with some coffee?! Centrale del Caffè serves fresh hot coffee, espresso, and pastries. The café only has a few tables and a small standing bar, but it is easily one of the best places in Naples for a cup of coffee – or limoncello 😉
34. Pizzeria Trianon
Established in 1922, Pizzeria Trianon is a three-floor pizzeria in Naples that serves what some consider to be the “classic example” of the Neapolitan pizza. Pizzeria Trianon specializes in Margherita and marinara sauce-based pizzas.
This was the neighbourhood pizzeria near my Airbnb! So naturally, I ate her a lot.
Things To Do around Naples Italy
Located at the base of Mount Vesuvius are the ruins of Pompeii. Pompeii was once a bustling city-state but succumbed to ill fortune when it was destroyed, along with neighbouring communities, by the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. What remains of Pompeii is open to the public and showcases the historical richness of the city under the ashes.
In my blog post: One Day Pompeii Guided Tour I go into more detail about this amazingly preserved city.
In between Pompeii and Naples, another city was buried in ashes named Herculaneum. Find out more HERE!
This popular destination is the epitome of coastal beauty and the birthplace of Limoncello.
Overlooking the Bay of Naples, Sorrento is a beautiful town that is perfect for getting away from the hustle and bustle of Naples and enjoying panoramic views of the Neapolitan geography.
Traditionally from the Gulf of Naples and the Sorrentine Peninsula, Limoncello is a lemon-based liqueur popular throughout Italy and other parts of the world. It is usually served cold in a small glass or ceramic cup. Limoncello is typically served as a digestive after dinner.
Things To Do In Napoli | Conclusion
Naples is a popular destination for tourists from all around the world and offers something for everyone, from the beauty of its stunning coastline to its outstanding cuisine. The Naples Itinerary is an excellent way to get the most out of your city visit and make sure you experience the best things to do in Naples, Italy.
Whether you’re looking to explore the ancient ruins, sample some of the world-famous Italian cuisines, or relax on the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea, the Naples Itinerary provides you with the perfect guide to plan your trip. And if you’re looking to indulge in some of the best pizza in the world, you can even consult 2 Food Trippers’ Naples Pizza Guide to find the perfect slice. So why wait? Start planning your Naples Itinerary today!
Naples is a fantastic city. Just by saying it’s the birthplace of pizza, I’m already on a flight. Add Limoncello to the mix, and I’m one happy boy! It’s close to Rome, it’s close to Pompeii, it’s close to the Amalfi Coast, it’s close to Capri, and it’s close to Ischia. It’s pizza, pasta, Peroni and pastries like Sfogliatelle. After all that, your next question should be: When is the best time to visit Italy?