Naples is the third largest city in Italy after Rome and Milan. It is famous for its beautiful coastline with stunning views of the Gulf of Naples and the nearby islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida. The volcanic Vesuvius lies almost at arm's length.
The birthplace of pizza and one of the strongholds of Italian cuisine. A fabulous seaside town where lovers of sunbathing and beachcombing will not be disappointed. As a port city, it is a perfect location for exploring the surrounding waters.
Map - Where is Naples?
Naples lies on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea, part of the Mediterranean Sea. The city is located approximately 200 kilometres southeast of Rome, the capital of Italy. It is part of the Campania region, and you are on the west coast of Italy. The city is named after the Bay of Naples. Directly south of it is the Sorrento peninsula.
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- Distance from Rome: 2.5 hours / 220 km
- Distance from Florence: 5 hours / 470 km
- Distance from Amalfi Coast: 1.5 hours / 70 km
- Distance from Capri: 2 hours / 40 km (by ferry)
- Distance from Sardinia: 15 hours (by ferry)
More about the city
The city is located in a strategically important location that has made it a centre of trade, culture and politics throughout history. Its coastal location allowed it to develop into a thriving port, a trade hub with other Mediterranean countries for centuries. Its closeness to Mount Vesuvius makes it a popular destination for tourists to explore the ancient ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, buried by volcanic ash after its eruption in 79 AD.
- The region has diverse geographical features. It includes coastlines, mountains and volcanic terrain. The Apennine Mountains cross it, a natural barrier that helped preserve local traditions, values and dialects.
- Further west lies the Phlegraean, a large volcanic area. It includes many craters, geysers and hot springs. The Phlegraean Fields are also known for their historical significance, as they were the site of many ancient Greek and Roman settlements.
Naples is divided into 10 districts with unique characters and attractions. Here is the list of districts:
- Centro Storico (Historic Centre): The heart of Naples, with narrow streets, ancient churches and lively squares. It includes attractions such as Piazza del Plebiscito, the Royal Palace and Castel dell'Ovo.
- Chiaia: the upscale neighbourhood is known for its excellent shopping, fine restaurants and beautiful seaside promenade. It is home to the famous Villa Comunale Park and Piazza dei Martiri.
- Posillipo: hillside district overlooking the bay and surrounding mountains. Here are the Virgilian Park and the Catacombs of San Gennaro.
- Vomero: residential area on a hillside overlooking the city. Here you find the Castel Sant'Elmo and the Certosa di San Martin.
- San Carlo all'Arena: known for its street vendors and markets, including the Poggioreale market.
- Mercato: located west, it. is the home to the bustling Piazza Garibaldi and the central train station.
- San Giovanni a Teduccio: the area on the city's eastern edge, recognizable by its industrial port and shipyards.
- Ponticelli: located on the city's southeastern edge and known for its historic farmhouses and countryside.
- Barra: the Mostra d'Oltremare exhibition area is on the city's western edge.
- Fuorigrotta: the district is home to the Stadio San Paolo, the home stadium of the SSC Napoli football team.
Things to do
Naples awaits you with a lot to see and do. A bustling yet friendly city where everyone can find something to their liking:
- Historical sites: there will be no shortage of historical sites: the Royal Palace, Castel dell'Ovo and the Catacombs of San Gennaro are the most popular sites.
- Museums: there are excellent museums, including the National Archaeological Museum, which houses the most important artefacts from Pompeii and Herculaneum, and the Capodimonte Museum, which houses an impressive collection of Renaissance and Baroque art.
- Nightlife: there is a vibrant nightlife with many bars, clubs and live music venues. The city's historic centre is also popular for evening walks and parties.
- Beach: the beach promenade offers a beautiful view of the bay. The beach is a popular place for a nice walk or bike ride.
- Local markets: We can't forget lively street markets such as Poggioreale Market and Mercato di Porta Nolana, where you can choose fresh produce, seafood and other local specialities.
Let's take a look at some popular local attractions:
#1 Historical centre
The historic centre contains many important historical buildings, churches and monuments dating back to the ancient Greek and Roman periods. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of Europe's largest and best-preserved historical parts, and covers more than 1,700 hectares. It is easily accessible by public transport, including the metro and many bus routes.
Find the Cathedral of Naples, the Royal Palace of Naples, the San Carlo Theater and the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli. Also, here is the Archaeological Museum, which contains one of the world's most important collections of ancient Greek and Roman artefacts.
The castle is on a small island in the bay, right off the coast of the Santa Lucia district. It is one of the oldest buildings and a symbol of Naples. Its name, "egg castle", comes from a legend in which the Roman poet Virgil placed a magical egg in its foundations to protect it from destruction.
The Greeks originally built the castle in the 6th century BC and was expanded and modified by the Romans, Normans and Angevins, among others. Today, it hosts art exhibitions, including the "Mediterraneo in Archeology" exhibition, which presents artefacts from the Mediterranean region.
#3 Castel Nuovo
Castel Nuovo, also known as Maschio Angioino, is a medieval castle in the heart of Naples. One of the most iconic sights, with a rich history dating back more than 700 years. The Angevin dynasty built the castle in the 13th century and ruled the region then. It was designed by the French architect Pierre de Chaule, who endowed it with Gothic and Renaissance features.
The Royal Palace of Naples, also known as the Palazzo Reale, was originally built in the early 17th century for the Viceroy of Spain and later became the residence of the Bourbon kings. The palace is built in the Baroque style and stands out with its magnificent facade. Statues of the area's rulers can be seen from the outside. Its throne room, the Hall of Ambassadors, is decorated with marble floors, gilded ceilings and elaborate frescoes.
The palace has more than 1,200 rooms, making it one of the largest royal residences in the world. The building contains many impressive works of art, including frescoes by the Italian painter Francesco Solimena and sculptures by the Neapolitan artist Domenico Antonio Vaccaro.
#5 Piazza del Plebiscito
Piazza del Plebiscito is one of the most famous and impressive squares. The square is one of the largest public spaces in Italy, with an area of approximately 25,000 square meters. It is located near the waterfront and is home to the Royal Palace of Naples and the San Carlo Theater.
The square is dominated by the neoclassical facade of the palace, which was built in the 17th century and served as the residence of the Bourbon kings. Also here is the Basilica di San Francesco di Paola, a beautiful neoclassical church built at the beginning of the 19th century and dedicated to Saint Francis of Paola.
#6 Basilica di San Francesco di Paola
The Basilica di San Francesco di Paola church is in the previously mentioned Piazza del Plebiscito square. The church was named after Saint Francis of Paola, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies' patron saint. It was designed by the architect Pietro Bianchi and built in the early 19th century in a neoclassical style.
Modelled after the Roman Pantheon, the church has a large dome, an eight-column portico, and a facade decorated with numerous statues. You can see frescoes and paintings, including a large altarpiece by the painter Domenico Morelli.
The San Carlo Theater is one of the world's oldest and most prestigious opera houses, with a rich history and impressive architecture. It was founded in 1737 by VII. King Karol and architect Giovanni Antonio Medrano designed it. It seats over 1,300 and includes a horseshoe-shaped auditorium, a royal box and several balconies. The theatre is located in Piazza del Plebiscito. It can also be visited in a guided program.
#8 Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo
The Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo, also known as the Church of the New Jesus, is a 16th-century church in its centre. It was originally built as a palace for the Jesuit order but was converted into a church at the beginning of the 17th century. The building is known for its distinctive facade, consisting of irregularly shaped blocks of tuff (volcanic stone) and many ornate decorative elements. The temple has many impressive works of art, including frescoes, sculptures and paintings.
The Catacombs of San Gennaro are a complex of underground tombs. The catacombs were named after Saint Januarius (San Gennaro), the patron saint of Naples, who was martyred in the 3rd century AD. The catacombs are one of the region's oldest and largest Christian burial places, dating to the 2nd century AD.
#10 Certosa and Museum of San Martino
The Certosa e Museo di San Martino is a huge monastery and museum perched on a hill in the Vomero district. The complex was originally built in the 14th century as a Carthusian monastery. Converted into a museum in the 19th century, so today, you can admire its art collection and historical objects. The complex is also known for its beautiful gardens and courtyard, with stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
#11 Castel Sant'Elmo
Castel Sant'Elmo is a fortress next to the Certosa e Museo di San Martino museum presented earlier. It was also built in the 14th century by the ruling Angevin dynasty. Since then, it has been used for various purposes, including a former military fortress, prison and museum. The castle is named after the 10th-century French bishop Saint Elmo, who is said to have lived in a nearby cave. Its pentagonal shape stands out from afar with its tower and bastion. There is also a courtyard inside.
#12 Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte
The Capodimonte Museum and Royal Park is the former Bourbon Palace. It contains a lavish art collection and artefacts, including paintings by Caravaggio, Botticelli and Titian. The museum contains art from the Renaissance, Baroque and Neapolitan schools and ancient Roman and Greek artefacts. The park is famous for its beautiful gardens, including a large botanical garden, several walking paths and a panoramic terrace with stunning countryside views.
The Complesso Monumentale di Santa Chiara is a complex that includes a church, a monastery and a museum. It is known for its beautiful architecture, stunning artworks and rich cultural history. It was founded in the 14th century by the order of the Poor Clares, and in the 17th century, it was expanded with several important works of art and architectural elements. It is characterized by a large church with a baroque facade and a monastery decorated with frescoes. You also find a series of majolica tiles depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments.
The Archaeological Museum is one of the most important museums in Italy, where you can see an extensive collection of ancient Greek and Roman artefacts. The building houses sculptures, mosaics, frescoes and other works of art and contains objects from the ancient Greek and Roman times and the Bronze Age and the Renaissance.
The museum is home to several important works of art, including the Farnese Bull (a huge statue from ancient Rome) and the Alexander Mosaics (a famous Roman floor mosaic depicting Alexander the Great in battle). Its collection also includes objects from the ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
#15 Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta
The Catedral de Nápoles, also known as the Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta, was built in the 13th century and has been extended and renovated several times. This resulted in a unique blend of Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance architectural styles. Here we find the statue of Saint Januarius, the patron saint of Naples. It is the main church and seat of the archbishop of the region.
#16 Quartieiri Spagnoli
The Quartieri Spagnoli, also known as the Spanish Quarter, is a historic part of the city built by the Spanish rulers of Naples in the 16th century to house soldiers. Later it became a working-class residential area, and today it is an exciting mix known for its narrow streets, colourful buildings and lively atmosphere. Vibrant life fills the alleys with many small shops, restaurants and cafes.
Spaccanapoli is a long, narrow street that divides the city into two parts. The street has historic buildings, churches and other attractions, including the Church of Gesù Nuovo and the Chapel of Sansevero.
#18 Via San Gregorio Armeno
Via San Gregorio Armeno is another street outside Spaccanapoli known for its traditional artisan shops specializing in nativity scenes and other religious figures. It is especially busy during the Christmas season when tourists worldwide come to see the shops and the decorated street.
One-day trips from Nalpes
The famous Vesuvius volcano is not far from the city and its surroundings. It is part of the Campania Volcanic Arc, a series of volcanoes in southern Italy. It is part of the Vesuvius National Park, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.
Mount Vesuvius has erupted more than fifty times since its first recorded eruption in 79 AD, which destroyed the ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. It consists of layers of ash, lava and other volcanic debris. It is about 1,280 meters high and is still an active volcano. Its surroundings are known for their fertile soil, ideal for growing crops such as grapes and tomatoes.
A popular attraction located just 20 km from the city centre. It can be visited, and tickets can be bought online on the park's website. We can walk up to the top to see the huge crater.
Pompeii is an ancient Roman city not far from here. One of the most important archaeological sites in the world, it offers visitors a unique glimpse into ancient Roman life.
Pompeii was founded in the 6th or 7th century BC by the ancient Oscans and then taken over by the Romans in the 4th century BC. It was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79, which buried the city under a layer of ash and pumice, so the buildings and artefacts were preserved. Colourful frescoes, mosaics and sculptures were discovered. Its most impressive buildings include the House of the Faun, the Temple of Apollo and the Amphitheater.
Herculaneum is an ancient Roman settlement 12 km from Közont. Like the nearby city of Pompeii, Herculaneum was destroyed and buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, thereby preserving many buildings, works of art and artefacts. It was discovered in the 18th century by excavators looking for ancient artefacts. Today, most of it has been excavated and is open to the public as an archaeological site.
Herculaneum was founded by the ancient Greeks in the 6th century BC and then taken over by the Romans in the 1st century BC. It was a favourite resort of the wealthy Romans, who built many luxury villas and public buildings. Its most impressive buildings include the Bicentenary House, the Szarvasok House and the Mosaic Atrium House. Several public buildings are on the site, including the public bath, the forum, and the House of Telephus Relief.
#4 Amalfi coasts
The Amalfi Coast is a beautiful region 60 km south. It is a popular destination for tourists. A stunning natural beauty with delicious cuisine, rich history and colourful houses. Try local delicacies such as limoncello and fresh seafood. The coast is easily accessible from Naples or Sorrento by car, bus or ferry and is a must-see for anyone visiting the region.
#5 Islands in the areas
There are many islands in the bay within a short and convenient distance. It is worth visiting at least one or two. All are connected by ferry. Here are some of the most popular:
- Capri: the fabulous Capri is approximately 40 km to the southwest. It is known for its rocky coastline, crystal clear waters and upscale resorts. Visitors can reach it by ferry or hydrofoil, which takes about 45 minutes.
- Procida (30 km): Procida, located to the west, is known for its colourful houses, narrow streets and quiet beaches. You can get there by ferry from the mainland, which takes about 40 minutes.
- Vivara: is a subsidiary island of Procida. A bridge connects the small island. The area is the crescent-shaped remnant ridge of an ancient volcanic crater. A nature reserve that provides a 35-hectare home for many plant and animal species.
- Ischia (55 km): With an area of 46 km2, Ischia is a volcanic island known for its mineral-rich thermal waters, Roman ruins and fabulous beaches. The most beautiful sight is the Aragonese castle, which we can walk across via a stone bridge.
- Nisida: the tiny island is only 15 km from the centre. It is known for its scenic hiking trails, historical ruins, and beautiful city views.
The local cuisine is famous for its characteristic flavours and simple and fresh ingredients.
- Pizza: is one of the most famous foods in the world, and Naples is widely considered to be the birthplace of pizza. Fresh mozzarella and cheese are placed on a simple tomato sauce base with a thin, crispy crust
- Spaghetti alle vongole: made from pasta and mussels, cooked with garlic, olive oil and chilli peppers. It is one of the mainstays of the local cuisine, which is often served as a main dish.
- Pastiera Napoletana: This is a traditional local dessert made with ricotta cheese, wheat berries and candied fruit. Usually served at Easter, but it is a popular delicacy all year round.
- Mozzarella di bufala: buffalo mozzarella made in the Campania region. It is known for its delicious taste and creamy texture in several local dishes, including pizza and pasta.
- Sfogliatella: pasta filled with ricotta cheese, candied fruit and spices. Crispy, flaky texture. Favourite breakfast or snack.
- Eggplant parmigiana: a classic local dish made with fried eggplant slices, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Often served as a main course, it is a favourite among vegetarians.
- Seafood: since the city is on the coast, seafood is a major part of the local cuisine. Fresh fish and shellfish are used in many dishes, including spaghetti alle vongole, frittura di pesce (fried fish) and zuppa di pesce (fish soup).
The city's rich and complex history dates back more than 2,800 years. It was founded as a Greek colony in the 8th century BC and was known as Neapolis, meaning "new city". The city flourished under Greek and then Roman rule, and many of its most famous landmarks, including Castel dell'Ovo and the catacombs of San Gennaro, date from this period.
- After the fall of the Roman Empire, it became the capital of the Duchy of Naples - a semi-independent state ruled by successive Lombard, Norman and Angevin rulers. It became an important centre of art, culture and commerce. The historical part of the city was largely built in the Middle Ages.
- In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Spanish ruled the area when it became a centre of Renaissance and Baroque art and architecture. Many of the city's most famous landmarks, including the Royal Palace and the Teatro di San Carlo, were built during this period.
- In 1861, it became part of the newly united Kingdom of Italy. Later, the city underwent significant urbanization and modernization. Unfortunately, it was heavily bombed in WW II, so the city suffered significant damage and loss of life. After the war, it underwent reconstruction and economic growth.
Today it is a bustling and dynamic city known for its art, culture and cuisine, remaining an important trade, industry and tourism hub.
Naples has a comprehensive transportation system that includes buses, trains, a metro system, and funicular railways.
- Buses: An extensive public bus network connects the city centre with the suburbs and surrounding areas. ANM operates the city's bus service; tickets can be purchased in vending machines or at bus stops.
- Trains: the city is served by two major train stations, Napoli Centrale and Napoli Piazza Garibaldi, which connect to other Italian cities. High-speed trains such as the Frecciarossa and Italo trains provide fast connections to Rome, Florence and other major cities.
- Metro: its metro system operates on Line 1 (from Piscinola to Garibaldi) and Line 2 (from Pozzuoli to Gianturco). ANM operates it, and tickets can be purchased from machines at metro stations.
- Funicular railway: you can use four funicular lines that climb steep hillsides. They provide transport between popular attractions such as the Vomero district and Castel Sant'Elmo.
- Naples is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, with a history dating back more than 2,800 years.
- It is known as the birthplace of pizza. The world's first pizzeria, Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba, opened here in 1738. 🍕
- Its historic part is the largest in Europe and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.
- It is home to the world's oldest public opera house, the Teatro di San Carlo, which opened in 1737.
- The city is one of Europe's most densely populated cities, with more than 3 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area.
- It has serious traditions in music, some of which are known worldwide. For example, the famous song "O Sole Mio" was written in Naples in 1898.
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