Flanked by the two volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and Campi Flegrei, the city of Naples is the largest city in Italy after Rome and Milan. It is located on the western coast of southern Italy with a history that dates back to almost 2800 years.

The city with its extensive and layered history is full of historic buildings, churches, and piazzas. Also known for its magnificent cuisine, Naples is the birthplace of the original wood-fired Neapolitan pizza. With its buzzing art scene and many places of historical and cultural values, Naples is an ideal destination for architects to explore. Below are 15 such marvelous places to visit when in the city of Naples –

1. Piazza del Plebiscito

This grand piazza is the city’s main public square and is bordered at one end by the Royal Palace and the other by Basilica of San Francesco di Paola with its series of colonnades. Inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, the Basilica is placed at the center of the colonnade of Piazza del Plebiscito. Occasionally, the square is also known to have hosted open-air concerts with performances by Italian and international stars.

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    Piazza del Plebiscito ©Flickr
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    Piazza del Plebiscito ©Flickr

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    Piazza del Plebiscito ©reidsitaly

2. National Archaeological Museum

For lovers of antiques and artifacts, the museum has a rich and unique archaeological collection to offer. The beautiful and ornate palace was built at the end of the 16th century as a royal cavalry barracks and was later converted into a museum. It houses a magnificent collection of Roman and Greek sculptures, ruins of Pompeii, Egyptian art, intricate mosaics, and erotic frescoes.

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The National Archaeological Museum ©inexhibit
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The National Archaeological Museum ©inexhibit
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The National Archaeological Museum ©inexhibit

3. Mount Vesuvius hike

The only active volcano in mainland Europe, Mount Vesuvius dominates the skyline of the bay and city of Naples. It is famously known for its 79 A.D. eruption that destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The volcano is just 6 miles away from the city and is a very popular tourist attraction. A hike till the top will surely be an adventurous and worthwhile experience.

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Mount Vesuvius ©Flickr
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Mount Vesuvius ©Time Travel Turtle
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Mount Vesuvius ©Time Travel Turtle

4. San Carlo Theatre

Opera is one of Europe’s most important and long-standing artistic traditions. Built-in 1737, the San Carlo Theatre is one of the finest and oldest Opera houses in the world. The theatre has a horseshoe-shaped interior with seats arranged in six tiers of 184 boxes each, plus a large royal box placed in the center. It has a total capacity of 1379 seats excluding the standing-room crowd.

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San Carlo Theatre ©inCampania
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San Carlo Theatre ©visit Naples
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The iconic San Carlo Theatre ©CulturalHeritageOnline

5. Ruins of Pompeii

The ancient city of Pompeii was buried under ash and pumice with Mount Vesuvius’ historic eruption in the year 79 A.D. Despite the devastation, the highly advanced and sophisticated settlement of Pompeii remains mostly intact till date. While walking through the ruins, one gets to see the House of the Faun, the Forum, the Temple of Apollo, and the amphitheater.

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City of Pompeii ©Britannica
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City of Pompeii ©Avventure Bellissime
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The ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii ©Britannica

6. Castel Nuovo

This colossal and magnificent Medieval Renaissance castle is located next to the port of Naples. It was originally built in 1282 and has been rebuilt several times since then. The castle features five round towers with an intricately carved white marble triumphal arch as the main entrance. Along with the beautiful paintings and frescoes inside the castle, it provides spectacular views of Naples and the harbor.

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Castel Nuovo which is also known as Maschio Angioino ©visit naples
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Maschio Angioino ©Traveltipy
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Maschio Angioino ©World Travel Attractions

7. Naples Cathedral

The 13th century-old Roman Catholic cathedral also called the Duomo is the main church in Naples and is an amalgamation of different architectural styles – Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque. With its beautiful ornamentation, intricate frescoes, and grand altars, it is truly a sight of grandeur.

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The cathedral of Duomo in Naples ©Wikipedia
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Cathedral of Duomo in Naples ©Flickr
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Cathedral of Duomo in Naples ©Magical Earth

8. Castel dell’ Ovo

Also known as the egg castle, this imposing structure is the oldest fortification in the city located on the Naples coastline. The castle has served as a prison and royal residence in the past and is now used for temporary art exhibitions and events.

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The seaside castle of Naples, Castel dell’ Ovo ©Wikipedia
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Castel dell’ Ovo ©Lonely Planet
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Castel dell’Ovo ©Thousand Wonders

9. Royal Palace of Naples

Built when Naples was under Spanish rule, the Royal Palace sits opposite the Basilica of San Francesco di Paola in Piazza del Plebiscito. The spectacularly ornamented interior of the palace offers visitors to experience the history of Naples with its many rooms, courtyards, and gardens.

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The Royal Palace of Naples ©visit Naples
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Royal Palace of Naples ©Tripadvisor
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Royal Palace of Naples ©visit Naples

10. Cappella Sansevero

Amongst the many churches and chapels in Naples, Cappella Sansevero is the most visited museum-chapel in the city. It is known to house one of the most remarkable marble sculptures called the Veiled Christ from the 18th century. Another of its notable features is the beautiful ceiling painted fresco named the Glory of Paradise.

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The most visited chapel in Naples, Cappella Sansevero ©Flickr
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Cappella Sansevero ©Flickr
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Cappella Sansevero ©Easy Reserve Italy-villas

11. San Domenico Maggiore church

Built-in the 13th century, San Domenico Maggiore church is one of Naples’ most important places of worship with great historic value. Contrary to its blank Gothic façade, the interior is magnificently decorated with intricate gold details, frescoes, tall columns, and grand altars.

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The historic San Domenico Maggiore church ©Wikipedia
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San Domenico Maggiore church ©Flickr
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San Domenico Maggiore church ©Thousand Wonders

12. Galleria Umberto I

Galleria Umberto I is a 19th-century public shopping arcade located directly across the San Carlo Theatre. It was built when many Italian cities including Naples were being re-planned and re-built. The high and spacious structure with glass and steel roof has the ground floor as shops, cafes, and restaurants while the upper floors act as business offices.

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City’s popular shopping arcade, Galleria Umberto I ©Flickr
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Galleria Umberto, I ©Sygic Travel
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Galleria Umberto, I ©Wikipedia

13. Naples underground

This subterranean network was originally dug up by the Ancient Greeks for material and was later used by the Romans as aqueducts. It was also used during World War II by hundreds of people as bomb shelters. This labyrinth of tunnels, caves, aqueducts, and cisterns have now been renovated and is one of the most visited places in the city.

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Napoli Sotterranea ©Napoli Sotterranea
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Napoli Sotterranea ©Wikimedia Commons
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Napoli Sotterranea ©Flickr

14. Via Toledo

Via Toledo is one of the most ancient and buzzing shopping thoroughfares in the city of Naples. Dating back to 1536, it is home to some of the most important religious and cultural monuments.

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Via Toledo, a historic street dating back to 1536 ©Wikipedia
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Via Toledo ©Wikimedia Commons
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Via Toledo ©Wikipedia

15. San Lorenzo Maggiore Basilica

Built-in the late 1200s, it is one of the oldest churches in Naples. It is located in the exact geographical center of historic Naples with an ancient two-story Greco-Roman market below it.

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One of the oldest churches in Naples, San Lorenzo Maggiore Basilica ©Flickr
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San Lorenzo Maggiore Basilica ©Wikimedia Commons
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San Lorenzo Maggiore Basilica ©Tiqets
khushboo patel
Author

Khushboo Patel is an Architect by profession who is now trying to unlearn and reflect on everything she learned in college. She is an avid reader, writer, and traveler who believes that ideas and words can change the world. She says that every place and person has a story that is worth telling and it needs to be told.

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