One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Naples is the 3rd largest city in Italy and is located in the Campania region. Naples has been inhabited since the later Stone Age and was then settled by Greeks around the 2nd millennium BC. The following century saw Naples being a major Greek city and even under the Romans, was revered as an epitome of Hellenistic culture and the people of Naples spoke Greek as their primary language. Following the various struggles during the reign and decline of the Roman Empire and during the reign of the Ostrogoths, Naples finally came under the papal suzerainty of Rome. The city again came under several years of struggle and was also one of the most bombed cities during the Second World War. Today, Naples remains one of the major tourist attractions in Italy due to the wealth of buildings and monuments it has come to posses from a history of 2,800 years.
Let’s take a look at the most interesting things you can do in Naples.
1. DIG INTO THAT PIZZA
I hardly know of people who do not like pizza. While, some of you might argue over a topping, you cannot visit the place where the cuisine was discovered without taking a bite into the most authentic Italian pizzas. There are several pizzerias located around Naples and most of them serve some exquisite varieties of freshly baked pizza. Look for the sign board outside pizzerias that say ‘Pizza Vera Napoletana’ which means ‘True Neapolitan Pizza’. Trust us on this when we say that no pizza you eat back in your own country will taste like the true flavors of Authentic Italian Neapolitan Pizzas.
*Check out our post Authentic Neapolitan Food Only Exists in Naples
The museum is located at the northwest end of the original wall of the city of Neapolis built by the Greeks. The museum holds a brilliant collection of some of the world’s oldest artifacts from the Greek and Roman era. It was founded in 1750s by Charles III of Spain and prior to this the building was occupied by the headquarters of the University of Naples. The museum houses in its various galleries several collections of authentic Greek and Roman manuscripts, Marble sculptures, Bronze sculptures, Mosaics from the time of Alexander the Great and Darius of Persia, the mature collection from the secret room and several ancient Egyptian artifacts.
Located in the eastern borders of Naples, Pompeii is the historical city known for housing the ruins of one of the greatest Roman cities. The town was said to have been founded around the 6th and the 7th centuries BC and was occupied by the Romans around the 4th century BC. Pompei was also known to be one of the safe harbors for the Greek and Phoenician sailors and had important trade links to India and other south Asian countries and became a sprawling Roman city by the 1st century AD. But the frolic was short lived as the eruption of Mount Vesuvius following several earth shattering earthquakes destroyed this majestic city and reduced it to ashes and rubbles. Today the site bears witness to the ruins of one of the most advanced roman cities and is visited by almost 3 million people each year. The Roman ruins of Pompei were also declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997.
Declared as a UNESCO world heritage site, the Historic Center of Naples is one of the most refreshing tourism experiences across the globe. The historic city is a maze of alleyways which lead to some of the oldest buildings and churches in Naples. You can also visit the Naples underground, a network of catacombs underneath the historic city, some of which are as long as 80 kilometers. The buildings are a work of art as well with evident gothic, art deco and neo-gothic architectural influences. Spaccanapoli is a narrow street that traverses the historic center and is intersected by a network of alleyways that allow people to trek through the historic city.
5. EXPERIENCE THE BEST OF COFFEE CULTURE
Naples is not just famous for its pizza but is also known for its aromatic variety of coffee beans. Do not think of visiting Italy without refreshing yourself in the coffee culture the country is famous for. The coffee in Naples is short and packs a strong punch. Coffee might have arrived late to Naples as compared to the other Italian cities but soon it got engulfed in the aromatic blend of some of the finest Gourmet coffee ever produced. Do not leave without having a taste of the special Napoletana coffee maker which provides this unique taste to the coffee.
*Check out our post 10 of the Best and Most Beloved Cafés in Naples
6. EAT SFOGILATELLE
Another food item on the list, as visiting Italy is not just a treat for the eye but is a wonderful culinary journey as well. Naples is known for its various types of puff pastries which are all flavorful and a treat for the tummy. Sfogliatelle is one of the signature puff pastries that originated in Naples. The shell shaped pastry has small leafy layers and resemble a bunch of stacked dried leaves. After the pastry is baked in the oven it is filled with an assortment of fillings such as Almond paste and Orange flavored ricotta, whipped cream etc.
Located in the historic center, the Capella Sansevero is a 16th century chapel which contains some of the most breathtaking works of art from artists of the 18th century. The most famous of these are the three sculptures and several other astonishing works of art by some of the finest sculptors in Italy. The Chapel is also named the Chapel of Santa Maria della Pietà as it was dedicated to Virgin Mary at the time it was founded.
Naples is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Europe and is visited by millions of tourists each year. The above mentioned places and activities are just a handful from nearly hundreds of tourist activities offered in Naples.
Want to explore Naples some more? Make a personalized day-by-day itinerary using your interests and budget in moments at Utrip.com, or check out the Discover Naples page to find more restaurants, bars, museums, shopping, and more!
Rohit Agarwal is the contributor for Transindiatravels.com which is one of the best websites for getting information about the various tourist places in India. He is a professional architect and likes to travel around the world in search for the marvels of ancient and modern architecture.