Things to Do in Naples - page 2
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.
The smallest island in the Campanian Archipelago, a trip to Procida can make a big impression.
Compared to its better known island neighbors, a small number of visitors venture to Procida, making it a great destination for travelers who don’t enjoy crowds. While Chiaiolella Beach is the island’s most popular stretch of sand, the beach at Pozzo Vecchio is known for its role in the film Il Postino.
Lined with a pastel rainbow of buildings, just wandering the narrow streets can provide hours of enjoyment. It’s questionable who has the better view, the houses and churches along the coast, or the many boats anchored offshore.
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!
Shopping is a popular pastime in Italy, for tourists and Italians alike, but don't be fooled into thinking the Italians are always paying top prices for designer duds. They're often shopping at outlet malls, too. Near Naples, the outlet mall of choice is La Reggia Designer Outlet.
La Reggia is located just south of Caserta, near the town of Marcianise, roughly 30 miles north of Naples. The outlet is designed like a modern outdoor mall, with arcades lined with shops on both sides. There are more than 100 shops in all at La Reggia, featuring discounts of 30 to 70 percent off retail prices. You'll find Italian, European, American and many other international brands, including Armani, Diesel, Camper, Guess, Michael Kors, Prada, Roberto Cavalli, Replay, Timberland and Valentino.
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.
Often regarded as being one of the most important museums in Italy, the Capodimonte Museum is the leading depository to everything related to Neapolitan paintings and decorative arts. It also hosts several important works from other Italian schools of painting, as well as some important ancient Roman sculptures. Some of the collection’s highlights include the Portrait of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese and the Baronci Altarpiece by Raphael, the Antea by Parmigianino, the Transfiguration by Giovanni Bellini, the Annunciation and the Mary Magdalena by Titian, to name just a few.
The first and second floors are entirely dedicated to the 100+ Neapolitan School paintings (which date back from anywhere between the 13th and the 18th centuries), while the other rooms of the palace are dedicated to antique 18th-century furniture and the porcelain and majolica collections.
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.
More Things to Do in Naples
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.
At one point in history, Naples was divided into more than two dozen neighborhoods. Present day city geography breaks Naples into 10 municipalities, but the neighborhood names like Saint Lucia are often still used when referring to various parts of the city.
Saint Lucia refers to the area surrounding the Castel dell'Ovo or Egg Castle. The neighborhood has been the subject and inspiration for some traditional Neapolitan songs, the best-known simple titled Santa Lucia. Numerous lyric renditions are known and recognized around the world.
The ancient Roman poet Virgil didn't die in Naples, but the city had stolen his heart and he said he wanted to be buried there. At least that's what the Neapolitans say. On the pretty Posillipo Hill, there are three attractions associated with Virgil – two parks, and his supposed tomb. Both parks have variations on the same name – Parco Virgiliano.
At the base of the Posillipo Hill, the Parco Virgiliano a Piedigrotta (also known as the Parco Virgiliano a Mergellina, the neighborhood below Posillipo) includes a winding path up the side of the hill, with plants on either side and great views over the Gulf of Naples and beyond. Partway up the hill, the supposed location of Virgil's tomb is at the end of a long tunnel. Although it's less of a pilgrimage destination now, it's still popular with some visitors.
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.
Monte Terminio is located near Avellino, in the small town of Serino. One of the taller peaks of the Picentini Mountains, it’s a popular place for outdoor enthusiasts and families to spend a morning or afternoon.
Hiking is popular activity, and there are numerous well-marked trails to choose from. Those who make the climb to the summit are rewarded with amazing views. If you are interested in a calmer, relaxing experience, it’s also a great place to just bring a picnic and enjoy the fresh air. There is also a riding school on Mt. Terminio if horseback riding is on your vacation must-do list.
Campania's famed truffles grow at the foot of Mt. Terminio. Hunters use specially trained dogs to go truffle hunting in the mountain forest area.
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.
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.
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.
Located in the Campania region, Avellino is not nearly as well-known as its seaside neighbor Naples. History buffs may recognize the name, as Avellino was heavily bombed area during World War II. Today, it’s a nice getaway for visitors looking to trade coastal views for scenic countryside mountain views.
Agriculture is important in Avellino. Wine grapes, tobacco and hazelnuts are important crops here. That said, Avellino is a fairly modern city, having survived and rebuilt after several earthquakes.
Visitors can hike to the Montevergine Sanctuary, visit Avellino Cathedral or see the remains of the Lombard Castle in Piazza Castello (Castle Square). The main street or promenade is car-free, making wandering and window shopping easy. Avellino also has its own basketball club, so if you’re a basketball fan, it’s worth checking the schedule for any games while you are in town.
Things to do near Naples
- Things to do in Pompeii
- Things to do in Sorrento
- Things to do in Positano
- Things to do in Capri
- Things to do in Amalfi
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- Things to do in Amalfi Coast
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