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With the spectacular Mount Vesuvius as its backdrop, the narrow streets of the historical centre of Naples crowd around the bay. This is a frenetic, noisy, fun city; quintessentially Italian, Naples definitely grows on you the longer you stay, but don’t expect the orderly quiet of some of Italy’s more northern cities!
Visiting the historic centre of Naples means travelling back twenty centuries in history, as this is one of the most ancient settlements in Europe. Founded by the Greeks in 470 BC, the modern-day city retains some of the original street plan, as well as the imprint of the cultures that have passed through the Mediterranean. This long history makes it a unique site and home to outstanding monuments such as the Maschio Angioino, the Castello dell’Ovo and the Royal Palace.Show me all the hotels in Naples
Places to see in Naples
If you head out of town, then Pompeii and Herculaneum are easily reached by a regular train service.
Why not take a private guided tour to show you the hidden gems of Naples?
A visit to this magnificent Museum is a must, as it hosts the richest art collection in Southern Italy. Works by Botticelli, Caravaggio and Titan are all housed in this beautiful building.
Food and Drink
Pizza, is of course the most famous dish in Naples and said to have been invented at Da Michele’s in 1870. They are still serving pizza today, although you’ll probably have to queue for the pleasure, and only two types are offered; Pizza Margherita and Pizza Marinara, with tomato and garlic. Simple but delicious!
Naples is also home to pasta with fresh tomato sauce, and seafood is excellent all along this coast: spaghetti and clams, mussel soup and fresh squid all make regular appearances.
Naples is not primarily a tourist-geared city and many of the restaurants are family-run and generally excellent value for money. Street food is also very much part of the culture and you can always grab a hot snack from a stall. And don’t forget to finish any meal off with a shot of limoncello liqueur.
Festivals & Events
Naples loves to party, and as a deeply religious city, many celebrations are linked to saints and religious festivals. The period leading up to Christmas is a wonderful time to visit, as Italians flock from all over Italy to buy their nativity scenes in Via S Gregorio Armeno, which buzzes with this shopping frenzy. Easter week is also interesting with processions and passion plays, but the most heartfelt festival is the thrice yearly (Dec, May & Sep) feast of San Gennaro, the patron of Naples, when his blood is said to liquefy, thus signifying that the city is safe for another year.
Maggio dei Monumenti celebrates the architectural and artistic heritage of the city and every weekend in May, monuments that are normally closed to the public open their doors. As home to Italy’s most famous export, the pizza, Naples holds a 10-day celebration in its honor with pizza-making lessons and tastings (mid-July).