Things to Do in Naples - page 2
Set on a busy square and surrounded by palaces, a visit to the 13th-century San Domenico Maggiore offers visitors the chance to see a beautiful church and lively piazza.
The new Church of San Domenico Maggiore was built between 1283 and 1324. It incorporates a smaller church, the Chapel of San Michele Arcangelo a Morfisa – you can see the remains inside—first built at the same location in the 10th century. Like many churches, San Domenico Maggiore has undergone many renovations and remodels over its long history. In 1670, it underwent a Baroque redo, only to be restored to its original Gothic design in the 19th century. San Domenico Maggiore contains well-known Renaissance art including frescoes by Pietro Cavallini and copies of works by Caravaggio and Titian.
This is the square to see and be seen in in Naples. Piazza Trieste e Trento has cocktail-sipping beautiful people and giggling teenagers sipping lemon granitas from the hole-in-the-wall cafe. Don't miss the legendary Caffe Gambrinus.
Across the road is the elegant Piazza Plebiscito. An open, elegant piazza bounded by an elegant sweep of Doric columns, the glorious ex-royal residence Palazzo Reale, now a museum, and the domed church of San Francesco di Paola. Also worth seeing is the Teatro San Carlo, the oldest continuously active opera house in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
There are hundreds of historic churches in Naples, so narrowing down the must see list can be hard. San Lorenzo Maggiore is worth saving time for on your busy itinerary. It’s at San Lorenzo Maggiore where poet Boccaccio is said to have met Fiammetta. During a visit here you’ll see a beautiful church, get a history lesson and an amazing glimpse of underground Naples.
The Monumental Complex of San Lorenzo Maggiore contains the church and a museum that covers its remarkable history. It is constructed atop a Roman marketplace, so when speaking of San Lorenzo, it may refer to the church, the museum or archaeological site beneath. A large portion of the marketplace has been excavated and visitors are allowed to wander around to see the well-preserved remains of ancient shops. On the UNESCO World Heritage list, the marketplace is the only large-scale Greco-Roman site excavated in the downtown area.
This small octagonal church is best known as the home to Caravaggio’s The Seven Works of Mercy. Many visitors come to see the famous Caravaggio prominently hung high above the altar not realizing the extensive collection of other artists on display. Some hang in the church itself, other in the Quadreria, or Picture Gallery.
Pio Monte della Misericordia (Pious Mount of Mercy) is a charitable institution, founded in the early 1600s by seven Neapolitan nobles who strived to help those in need. The organization continues their work today.
Naples version of the Pantheon, San Francesco di Paola Church is located on the pedestrian-only Piazza del Plebiscito. It’s no doubt the first thing you’ll notice when you step into the piazza.
Originally intended to serves as a monument to Napoleon Bonaparte, when Ferdinand I returned to the throne he constructed the church, dedicating it to the saint of the same name. The 19th century church is circular with two side chapels. Its façade is dominated by six Ionic columns and two pillars. The massive dome is 174 feet (53 meters) high. Inside the San Francesco di Paola Church are numerous sculptures and paintings by Luca Giordano and other Neapolitan artists.
These are the most important catacombs in southern Italy due to the length of their use as a burial site and the well-preserved mosaics. In use from the rise of Christianity until the 10th century, they hold the tombs of many bishops including the Basilica di Sant'Agrippino, the 3rd century bishop of Naples.
Nearby is the tomb of San Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples, whose remains were moved here in the 5th century to the Cubicolo di San Gennaro. He was later removed to the Cathedral of Naples.
Travelers looking to venture back in time can explore the eight ramps that delve some 33 yards deep into the depths of Chiaia on an incredible tour of the Bourbon Tunnel, or Galleria Borbonica. What was once a veterinary laboratory, and even earlier an escape route from the Royale Palace to a barrack in Via della Pace, is today one of Naples' top attractions for history lovers wanting to gain a deeper understanding of the city's culture and heritage.
Visitors can choose from a number of tours designed to highlight this unique attraction that operated as a military hospital during World War II and even as the Hall Judicial Outpost. Guides share in-depth details and stories while visitors navigate the tunnel's depths. Travelers say that while it can be difficult to find, the experience of stepping back in time and far below the Naples' surface is not to be missed!
More Things to Do in Naples
Naples is a very hilly city, the perfect public transport solution therefore is the funicular or cable railway. Naples has four. The Chiaia was the first, built in 1889, then the Montesanto, followed by the Central and the Mergellina. The Central is one of the longest funicular in the world, and one of the busiest, carrying over 10 million passengers a year. It was built in 1928.The most famous was the Mount Vesuvius funicular built in 1880. It was the first one built on an active volcano and was damaged by eruptions at various times until finally being destroyed by the 1944 eruption. The famous Neapolitan song Funiculi Funicula was dedicated to it.
Piazza del Mercato has a long history from its beginnings as a marketplace, possibly as far back as Roman times. Later, eastern traders gathered here giving it the name Moors' Marketplace. Then a more gruesome era began with its use as the place for public executions. The first was in the thirteenth century - Corradino, the unfortunate 16-year old new monarch in an unpopular royal Svevian dynasty. The square has also seen revolutionary uprisings including those of 1647 and 1799. The latter led to the State's public execution here of 200 dissidents. The piazza also has the unfortunate honor of being the starting point of the plague of 1656.
These days life is much calmer in the square. It is a marketplace for fabric, toys and tools. It was severely damaged by bombing in WWII and many of the old buildings have been replaced by less-elegant concrete monsters.
Capri may be the most famous island in the Gulf of Naples, but Ischia can lay claim to being the largest. Which is a good thing, because folks like to come and visit; Ischia welcomes about 6 million visitors every year.
Tourism is the main industry on Ischia thanks in part to volcanic activity that’s created much sought after hot springs. Thermal spas lure many visitors to the island, but with 37 km (23 miles) of coastline, there are plenty of things to appreciate about island life and finding a place to call your own isn’t impossible. Be sure to visit Castello Aragonese (Aragonese Castle) at Ischia Ponte. Built in the 15th century, it was once tasked with protecting the island from pirates.
Cala di Mitigliano is an unspoiled beach at the tip of the Sorrentine Peninsula in Italy. It can only be reached by walking down a steep footpath for about 30 minutes, but once you get there, you will enjoy beautiful scenery and views of Punta Campanella and the island of Capri. With a pebble beach and crystal-clear water, Cala di Mitigliano is in a cove surrounded by steep vertical rocks, making for a dramatic landscape.
On the right side of the beach is a circular building, similar to a tower, that was once used for lime production. While no longer in use, the structure adds to the landscape and stands as a reminder of the area’s history. Nearby, a 50-foot deep circular grotto is a popular spot for snorkeling and scuba diving, although it is only possible to enter when the sea is calm and the tide is low.
The historic center of Naples tumbles so effortlessly downhill toward the sea that you might not know the seafront area actually has a different name all its own—Mergellina.
Mergellina actually used to be a separate town, but when Naples grew it was eventually subsumed by the expanding metropolis in the early 20th century. Today, this neighborhood sits between the foot of the Posillipo Hill and the Bay of Naples. There are many restaurants and hotels in the area, and it's ideal for an evening stroll in the summer.
If you're taking a ferry from Naples out to Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast or any of the islands, it's likely that your departure dock will be in Mergellina. It's not the main port for the big cruise ships, but it's where many of the small hydrofoils and other smaller boats depart.
The Royal Palace of Caserta sits majestically on a hill overlooking the estate once belonging to the Bourbon kings of Naples. Built in grand style and stature, it was one of the largest buildings constructed in Europe in the 18th century and remains one of the continent’s largest palaces. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and at nearly 47,000 square meters in size it is the largest royal residence in the world.
The palace was inspired in large part by the Palace of Versailles in nearby France, though maintains its own individuality and style. Similarly surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens, fountains, and parks, it is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture and impressive in its scale alone. A few things not to miss: the Royal Staircase, atrium, and Palatine Chapel, which meet a central, particularly scenic part of the palace.
The Bay of Naples is the body of water located between Naples, Italy and the Sorrentine Peninsula. It also refers to the region that borders the water and includes many worthwhile attractions. It's the perfect place to enjoy seaside relaxation, culture and history all within a few hours. The city of Naples can be a good hub for people interested in traveling throughout the area. Visitors can reach the famous ruins of Pompeii just a short distance away. An entire civilization was preserved here when Mount Vesuvius erupted almost 2,000 years ago.
Three popular islands in the Bay of Naples are Procida, Capri, and Ischia. Visitors can reach these islands by boat from Naples or Sorrento. Another impressive town that sits on the Bay of Naples is Sorrento, which is on the northern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula. This quiet town attracts visitors due to its seaside views, and it is a good base for visiting Pompeii or the Amalfi Coast.
Things to do near Naples
- Things to do in Pompeii
- Things to do in Sorrento
- Things to do in Positano
- Things to do in Amalfi
- Things to do in Salerno
- Things to do in Rome
- Things to do in Matera
- Things to do in Lake Bracciano
- Things to do in Palermo
- Things to do in Taormina
- Things to do in Split
- Things to do in Siena
- Things to do in Amalfi Coast
- Things to do in Lazio
- Things to do in Puglia