Colorful and expressive Naples causes ambiguous feelings. The magnificent cathedrals and palaces of the Neapolitan kings stand side by side with the poor city blocks, the bright colors of the city streets give way to the peeling tiles of dilapidated houses. The Neapolitans themselves are a quick-tempered, emotional people who do not like to bother themselves with unnecessary worries.
And yet Naples is a real architectural delight and the inexorable power of history. On the shores of the Gulf of Naples, Roman civilization flourished, Vesuvius erupted and the geniuses of the Renaissance worked. The city has absorbed the history of entire eras and is now ready to share it with everyone. And the local cuisine and excellent wine attract not only foreigners, but even Italians from other parts of the country.
What to see and where to go in Naples?
The most interesting and beautiful places for walking. Photos and a short description.
An active volcano in the Apennine Mountains. History describes 80 eruptions of Vesuvius, but the most destructive happened in 79. As a result, several Roman cities were destroyed and buried under the ashes. In the XIX and XX centuries. Several attempts were made to organize lifts to the volcano for tourists, but all structures were destroyed by another eruption. Nowadays, Vesuvius can be climbed on a hiking trail.
An ancient Roman city founded in the 6th century BC. Oscan Italian people. In the 1st century BC. Pompeii fell under the rule of Rome. In 79, as a result of a powerful eruption of Vesuvius, the city was completely buried under the ashes, several thousand inhabitants died. Excavations of the territory began in the 18th century. As a result, Pompeii was literally "dug out" from under a thick layer of ash. Today, a historical park-museum is open on the territory.
Another ancient city that suffered in 79 due to the volcanic activity of Vesuvius. It was not only covered with ash, but also flooded with flows of lava and liquid mud that poured from the sky along with the rain. Most of the population managed to escape. Organized excavations began in 1738 on the initiative of King Charles III. A museum was opened in the nearest town, where the found exhibits were delivered. The buildings and interior of the Herculaneum houses are well preserved thanks to the hardened lava.
Piazza del Plebiscito
The main city square of Naples, located near the port. Around it are the main attractions of the Middle Ages and the New Age. The piazza acquired its modern shape in the 17th century, when several palaces were built around it. The square was named in honor of the referendum of 1860, in which the inhabitants of Naples voted for joining the Piedmont region.
Residence of the Spanish governor of Naples, Fernando Ruiz de Castro. Kings and other crowned persons used the palace during their visits to the city. The building was damaged in a fire in 1837, after which a grandiose reconstruction followed. At the end of the 19th century, statues of famous Neapolitan rulers were installed on the facade. A separate palace wing houses the library of Victor Emmanuel III.
Basilica of San Francesco di Paola
A 19th-century neoclassical church built under the reign of Ferdinand I. The church is dedicated to St. Francis. The king believed that it was he who helped win back the lands captured by the French and return the crown. The outlines of the building repeat the architecture of the Roman Pantheon, the cathedral altar of the basilica is generously decorated with precious stones, the floor is lined with marble slabs.
Chapel of San Severo
In the past, the chapel was a private church and the tomb of the noble San Severo family. The first duke from this family, Giovanni Francesco Paolo de Sangro, built a temple in gratitude to the Madonna for the miraculous cure of a serious illness. Among the locals, it is believed that one of the Dukes of San Severo was the Grand Master of the Neapolitan Masonic lodges, and the chapel until the middle of the 18th century was the temple of the "society of free masons."
Cathedral of Saint Januarius
Temple dedicated to the patron saint of Naples, St. Januarius. It was founded under King Charles I of Anjou in the 13th century. In the cathedral chapel, unique murals of the 14th century have been preserved. The most important relic of the cathedral is a vessel of the 17th century with the blood of St. Januarius, which is in a frozen state. But three times a year, in the presence of a large number of believers, a religious “miracle” occurs, and the blood again becomes liquid.
Religious complex in honor of St. Clara of Assisi, which includes a monastery, a museum and the tombs of the rulers of the Angevin dynasty. The first temple arose on this site at the beginning of the 14th century. In the middle of the 18th century, a reconstruction was made, and the baroque became the predominant style in the architecture of the complex. In 1943, as a result of the bombing, the church was destroyed, but in 1953 it was restored in its original appearance of the 14th century.
Gallery Umberto I
Shopping arcade of the 19th century in a neoclassical style with neo-Renaissance elements, a wonderful example of modern urban architecture. When designing, the Milan gallery of Victor Emmanuel was taken as a model, but in the end the copy turned out to be more luxurious than the original itself. Shops and restaurants are located inside, piano music concerts are periodically held.
Museum of Capodimonte
The Neapolitan Museum of Fine Arts, home to the largest collection of Titian. Most of the exposition was collected by representatives of the Farnese family, where Pope Paul III came from. The pontiff constantly ordered paintings from Michelangelo and Titian, who created portraits of almost all members of the Farnese family. In the 18th century, a separate palace was built for the collection.
Archaeological Museum of Naples
Museum, where the finds from the excavations of Herculaneum, Pompeii and Stabia are kept. The exposition is located in the building of the XVI-XVII centuries. Initially, this building served as a university, then the private collection of the Bourbons and Farnese, as well as the royal library, were moved here. The most valuable exhibits are works of art created by ancient masters. They were extracted from the rubble of cities destroyed during the eruption.
Opera House of San Carlo
The theater was built under Charles III of Bourbon in the first half of the 18th century. The building accommodated more than 3 thousand spectators, which made the Neapolitan opera stage the largest in the world. The historical building has not survived to this day, as it was destroyed by fire in 1816 and finished off by bombing in 1943. In addition to performances, tourists have the opportunity to visit the theater with a tour.
Castle of Castel dell'Ovo
Coastal fortification, whose powerful walls cut into the waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The fortress stands on a small island and from afar resembles a huge stone ship. The first building on this site was the villa of the Roman general Lucullus. In the 5th century, the building was fortified in case of an attack on the city from the sea. Monks lived on the island until the 9th century. The castle expanded over the following centuries, and in the 17th century it was converted into a prison. The fortress, built at the beginning of the 12th century, has survived to this day.
Castle of Saint Elmo
The fortress is built on a hill and therefore dominates the urban landscape. The castle walls offer a breathtaking panorama of Vesuvius and picturesque views of Naples. The castle was built on the site of a church from the 10th century. In the 16th century, the Spaniards rebuilt the fortress and since then its appearance has not changed much. Over the centuries, the fortification was repeatedly subjected to sieges and assaults due to its advantageous strategic position.
Castle of Castel Nuovo
Palace built for Charles of Anjou in the 13th century. The monarch was never able to settle in it, as he was killed during the uprising. The building combines the impregnability of formidable fortifications and the luxury of a royal residence. The castle was alternately owned by the French, Spaniards and Austrians. At the beginning of the 19th century, he even went into the hands of the Russian squadron. Today, the site houses a museum and the headquarters of the Historical Society.
Royal Palace of Caserta
The country palace of the Neapolitan rulers, built in the 18th century. In size, it exceeds the French Versailles by 3.5 times. The palace was built according to the project of L. Vanvitelli. When planning, the architect took the Royal Palace of Madrid as a model. There is a court theater and a church on the territory. It was supposed to build another library and a university, but these plans remained on paper.
Cemetery of Fontanelle
A ossuary located in caves on the slopes of Materdei hill. The first burials appeared here in the middle of the 17th century, when hundreds of people died every day as a result of the plague. Later, the remains of the poor, who did not have enough money for burial, began to be brought here. The last corpses were brought here in 1837. The cemetery began to be ennobled at the end of the 19th century. In the 21st century, the entrance for visitors was allowed.
Catacombs of San Gaudioso
The complex of underground labyrinths, which began to form from the 2nd century AD. Here the first Christians took refuge from persecution. In the catacombs, the followers of Jesus buried the dead, held worship services, and organized underground temples. Ancient paintings and mosaics have been preserved on the walls. On one of the upper levels is the tomb of the Neapolitan patron and protector of St. Januarius.
Gulf of Naples
Bay on the Tyrrhenian Sea, washing the western coast of Italy. Thanks to the excellent climate and excellent living conditions, these places have been inhabited since ancient times. The islands of the Gulf of Capri and Ischia are considered an excellent place for a beach holiday. From the shores of the Gulf of Naples, picturesque views of the volcano Vesuvius, Naples and the vast expanses of the Tyrrhenian Sea open up.