In Greco-Roman times, the street plan of Naples (Neapolis) was Greek-style, with streets perpendicular to each other. This ancient layout is still visible in the city’s historic center.
Most beautiful streets Naples
The streets that ran from east to west used to be called decumani. The southern one of the three was the Decumanus Inferiore, which ran where today’s Spaccanapoli is. The central Decumanus Maggiore is now the Via dei Tribunali and the northern Decumanus Superiore is similar to today’s Via Anticaglia and Via della Sapienza.
The streets that ran from north to south and connected the decumani were called cardini.
Most of the city’s main sights are on Spaccanapoli and Via dei Tribunali.
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Spaccanapoli is by far the city’s most important street. It is actually not one single street, but an amalgamation of four straight-lined streets in the city centre. The name means something like “Split Naples” and in aerial photographs it also looks like the street forms a wedge through the city center.
Via dei Tribunali
The Via dei Tribunali is an important pedestrian street in the city center. The street runs where the city’s main street, the Decumano Maggiore, was located in Greek times. Via dei Tribunali starts at the Port’Alba and ends at the Castel Capuano.
Via San Gregorio Armeno
Apart from the church of the same name, the Via San Gregorio Armeno is famous for the shops that make and sell nativity scenes there. This happens all year round, but is of course at its best for the holidays. You have to be a bit careful, as more and more “original products” seem to come from China these days.
Like most coastal cities, Naples has a Lungomare, a 2.5 km-long walkway along the beach. Here, however, among all the beach beauty, you are also treated to views of Capri, Mount Vesuvius and the villas in the Vomero district, among others. The main part of this wide promenade is called Via Francesco Caracciolo.
Corso Umberto I (Rettifilo)
The Via Chiaia is one of the city’s most famous shopping streets and, thanks to its many cafés, also one of the busiest during the evening hours.
The Via Pignasecca is just on the border of the district where most tourists spend their stay. It is an extremely narrow street framed by dozens of small shops selling all sorts of things. Everyone is walking and shouting and it all makes a wonderfully chaotic impression.
The Via Duomo is one of the most important streets in the city centre. On the north side, the street joins Via Foria and on the south side Via Nuova Marina. The street crosses the former Roman decumano maggiore, superiore and inferiore. The main attractions are the Cathedral and the San Giorgio Maggiore Basilica.
Via Santa Maria di Costantinopoli
The Via Santa Maria di Costantinopoli is outside the oldest part of the city centre, but is one of the city’s most monumental streets. This street was built during the time when Pedro de Toledo was viceroy and created a new city layout. Several monasteries and mansions have their façades along this street. One example is the Palazzo Firrao (n.83), with a 17th-century façade.
Corso Vittorio Emanuele
Originally called Corso Maria Teresa, Corso Vittorio Emanuele was commissioned by Ferdinand II in the 19th century. It is the connecting road between the lower town and the Vomero district. The street is 4.5 km long and leads from Piazza Mazzini to Via Piedigrotta. It was Ferdinand II himself who commanded that the road could only be built on the street side, which means it offers stunning views of the Gulf of Naples and the city itself from everywhere.