Why You Should Visit Naples?

Italy can be an extraordinarily big place to visit. With exceptional cities, pristine coasts and historic areas scattered throughout. Visitors to the country flock to cities such as Rome and Venice, but the coastal city of Naples often falls through the cracks on many people’s Italian itineraries. Some may be surprised at all the incredible sights and activities this city can offer, so don’t rule out Naples.

Naples

Activities Around Naples

Pizza Paradise

Let’s face it, who isn’t a pizza fan? Pizza is one of the world’s most popular cuisines, spreading out from Italy into all areas of earth, with each culture putting their own spin on it. However, the very first traditional Margherita pizza came from Naples. Back in the day, the city first started serving comparable dishes of flatbreads with an array of toppings on top to poor workers. It wasn’t until Raffaele Esposito, a local baker, added the tomato sauce, cheese, and toppings that created the first pizza. And with the incredible produce grown in the volcanic soil of Mount Vesuvius nearby, the ingredients of a pizza from Naples are second-to-none!

Historic Elements

There is no doubt that Italy is a dream destination for history buffs. With Rome flooded with ancient buildings and Pompeii listed as the largest archaeological site in the entire world. However, tourists shouldn’t overlook Naples, as it is renowned in having an exceptional history and endless ancient artefacts remaining. With two royal palaces, three castles, and countless ruins, the city has no shortage of historic buildings. As well, it’s not just Pompeii who owns fantastic artefacts from the tragic 79 AD volcanic eruption. Naples is home to the largest Archaeological museum in the country, containing an assortment of ancient artefacts and relics, and several astonishing body casts of ancient Pompeii citizens.

Countless Churches

Naples Cathedral

Even if you aren’t the religious type, visiting the endless amount of churches within Naples is an unforgettable experience. With over 500 different churches within the city, ranging in Christian, baroque, gothic, or neoclassical styles. Travel the small alleyways and discover small local churches with a vast amount of history. Once you’ve seen the little guys, head to Naples Cathedral to marvel at the ancient church built in 1200.

Naples’ Hidden City

If you prefer hands-on adventures, one of the most hidden gems of the city is right under our noses… literally. A completely underground world of ruins from both Greek and Roman times. They call the area ‘Napoli Sotteranea,’ with a jigsaw of ruins spreading throughout the area. One of the most preserved locations is right underneath the San Lorenzo Maggiore church, home to an ancient Roman market. With storefronts of walls and ceilings and even remaining artefacts including an olden day pizza oven! Take a tour of the underground tunnels and rooms lit only by hand-held candles and take in the eerie (and fascinating) ruins.

Metro Art

An unusual display of Naples’ art isn’t hidden in old dusty galleries, but right in the centre of the action; the metro. These stations are not just transport centres but are home to some of the best contemporary installations worldwide. Done by internationally renowned artists and architectures, including Dominique Perrault and Oscar Tusquets Blanca. Jumping on a train has never been so beautiful.

The Markets in Naples

Fuorigrotta Market

See the locals do their thing at the city’s Porta Nolana! This lively street market occurs daily, promising the city’s fresh produce and Naples gold; seafood. Walk down the cobblestone streets and move from stall to stall, meeting the passionate fisherman and friendly locals snap up the fish, prawns, and squid, to make it into a mouth-watering Neapolitan lunch.

The Presepi

Presepi, otherwise known as nativity scenes, are taken very seriously in Italy. Similar to a Christmas tree, each and every home in Italy has a nativity scene, dusting it off at the start of every December to display it proudly. Naples is famous for their Via San Gregorio Armeno, known as the Christmas Alley. With the street lined with endless amounts of hand-made nativity scenes with tiny stores filled with brilliant craftsmen carving and painting away.

Ancient Opera

Live largely and spend a night living like the wealthy, visiting the Teatro di San Carlo Opera house right within Naples. This lavish site has been delighting its visitors since 1737, with soft seating, stunning ceiling frescoes, incredible wallpaper, and epic concerts. Look up what’s on the calendar when you’re visiting and enjoy a night of culture, listening to some of the finest music Italy has to offer.

Coffee Culture

Who doesn’t enjoy a delicious steaming coffee to start your morning? For Italians, this is a religion, extending into lunch, afternoon, and even after dinner coffees. Naples, in particular, is known for its coffee obsession, famous for its signature coffee special; a rich, syrupy, espresso. They even have a coffee tradition named ‘cafe sospreso’. Which is when you pay for an extra coffee and leave it to someone that can’t afford one. This tradition started in World War II and remains a common ritual.

Catacombs of San Gennaro

Dating back to the 2nd century, the catacombs of San Gennaro is home to some of Naples’ oldest residents. For a gruesome beauty, this underground paleo-Christian burial site displays the bones and graves of these ancient people. Creating both a shocking and remarkable sight that is well worth the visit.

The Best Base Point

Sitting along the Bay of Naples, the city acts as a great base point for exploring a range of areas. Visiting SorrentoPompeii, Herculaneum or even the Amalfi Coast is easily done, promising exceptional scenic views along the way. Spend a day in the sun and ocean before heading back to Naples for a delicious dinner amidst the bustling streets.