Naples is the capital of the Campania region and the most important city in southern Italy. It is notorious because of its chaos and criminality, but also loved because of its hospitality, food and beauty. The most famous attraction is the Archaeological Museum, where most of the objects found among the ruins of Pompei and Herculaneum are preserved.
All about Naples City Guide
Tourist office: There is a tourist information office in the main railway station. Free maps are provided.
Museum pass: The main museum and transportation discount card is called Campania ArteCard.
The international Capodichino Airport is easily reachable by public transport or taxi. The main station Napoli Centrale is at the Piazza Garibaldi and has two metro lines taking you to the historical centre. The station is not far from the centre, but the area is not the best, so it is recommended to use public transport from here. Apart from the two metro lines, there are lots of buses taking you to other parts of the city and also a couple of very useful funiculars. From the Molo Beverello you can take ferries to islands like Capri and Ischia.
Most beautiful squares
Just as in most Italian cities it is easiest to divide Naples according to its most important streets and squares. It is on the main squares (Piazza Dante, Piazza Trieste e Trento) that the most famous attractions are found.
Piazza del Plebiscito
Standing in the center of the Piazza del Plebiscito and slowly turning around, one can see the Royal Palace, a hill with a castle, grapevines, a church, two statues, one of which is by Canova, and another interesting square (Piazza Trieste e Trento).
Piazza San Domenico Maggiore
Piazza San Domenico Maggiore is considered the central square of Naples. A famous pasticceria, a famous restaurant and a famous church are the major attractions of this square.
Piazza Dante is located at the end of the Via Toledo shopping street. Dante himself stands in the middle of the square, 26 other statues at its edge. Four churches, a boarding school and a metro station full of modern art complete the picture.
Piazza del Gesù Nuovo
Piazza del Gesù Nuovo is one of the most beautiful and lively squares in the city. Sights include the church that gave its name to the square, the Santa Chiara Basilica and the central obelisk. Every year on December 8 it is the scene of the Festa dell’Immacolata.
At the Piazzetta Nilo (along the Spaccanapoli), the Nile god and the soccer god Maradona dispute each other’s rule over the square.
The most important street is called Spaccanapoli, which is really a series of shorter streets and translated means something to the tune of “Split Naples”. Other important streets are the Via Toledo and the Via Duomo.
The Via Mezzocannone is the street where the University buildings are, while the Via Gregorio Armeno is completely taken up with shops selling nativity scenes.
The Via Toledo is a wide, pedestrian shopping street connecting the Piazza Dante to the Piazza Trieste and Trento. It is lined by several historic buildings, including the famous Galleria Umberto I.
The most famous museum is the enormous National Archaeological Museum, with objects and art works saved from the ruins of the volcano-hit Roman cities of Pompei and Herculaneum. The Capodimonte Museum has works by masters such as Caravaggio and Tizian.
Shopping in Naples is generally considered a lot cheaper than in wealthier northern Italy. The main shopping street is the aforementioned Via Toledo. Santa Lucia and Chiaia are the main shopping districts. There are several, extremely lively, food markets daily all over the city.
Day trips from Naples
Napoli is also an excellent starting point to visit surrounding attractions. You can easily reach islands such as Capri and several others by boat and it takes only 20 minutes on the train to get to Pompei. Herculaneum and the Greek temples of Paestum can also be easily reached. The famous, gorgeous Amalfi Coast with picturesque coastal towns such as Sorrento and Positano are within reach and even Rome is only a train trip of slightly more than one hour away.
The other provincial capitals in Campania are Avellino, Benevento, Caserta and Salerno.