Naples is a modern Italian city with a fascinating history, which can be traced back to its founding by sixth-century B.C. Greeks. The city has decadent royal palaces, art nouveau architecture, fashion boutiques, stylish restaurants and churches rich with religious art.
Start your visit in the Centro Storico, Naples’ historic old town. Its narrow, cobbled streets are abuzz with scooters and tourist chatter while market traders sell curios such as instruments and antiques.
Stunning architecture abounds; the Royal Palace (Palazzo Reale) and its immaculately preserved furnishings present the finest example. Naples’ former military prowess is shown in its two main castles, the Castle of the Egg (Castel dell’Ovo) and Castel Nuovo. Visitors interested in religious art could fill several days wandering the many fine churches; the Gesu Nuovo Church and the Capella Sansevero are good places to start.
A trip to nearby Mount Vesuvius provides the perfect break from the city center bustle. Enjoy the views across Naples at the volcano’s 4,000-foot (1,200-meter) summit. Visit the nearby towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, which were buried in ash and lava when Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79. After centuries of excavations that are still ongoing, the towns provide a time capsule of Roman life.
Naples invented pizza! Specialist pizzerias in town squares, back streets and shopping malls throughout the city will cook some of the best pizza you’ll ever taste.
Traffic in the city is notoriously busy. Driving is best left to locals. A good subway network covers much of the city. If you stay near the city center you may find that despite Naples’ large size, you can reach many of the most interesting sights on foot. Taxis are a safe, but expensive, way to get around too.
Historically Naples had a reputation as an unsafe city. While you should take the same precautions as you would in any other major city, you needn’t be over-worried about crime in the Naples of today.
Winters tend to be wet. If you visit from March through October you’ll have a good chance of enjoying the warm, Neapolitan sun.