A list of special things to do in Naples

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For Stendhal, Naples is “Without any comparison, the most beautiful city in the universe”. Instead, the philosopher Benedetto Croce called Naples “A Paradise inhabited by devils”. Certainly Naples has many facets with all the colors. The yellow of its buildings and the unny days, the gray of melancholy and chaos. The blue of the football team and the sea, the red of passion and the blood of Saint Gennaro.

Naples is a city with its own rhythms and rules, oscillating between the sacred and the profane. Naples is an open-air museum of humanity. Here I tried to make a list of 10 incredible things to do in Naples beyond the classic itineraries.

The palaces of the spirits

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Naples is a magical place, where traditions and superstition coexist. Ghosts and spirits still wander around palaces and cursed houses in the city. Firstly, you can go hunting Mercedes de Las Torres, killed by her rival in love, Anna Carafa, wandering around Palazzo Donn’Anna in Posillipo. Secondly, you can go to the Sanità quarter, in search of the so-called “munacielli”.  In addition, go visiting the marine area of the Gaiola and live the atmosphere of its cursed villa. Presences and legends are all around the city. My advice is to not miss a single ghost booking one of the ghost-tours available in the city. Or maybe try to go alone…. If you feel you are brave enough!

The treasure of Saint Gennaro

Saint Gennaro, patron of the city, is everywhere in Naples. Entering Forcella, in the heart of the oldtown, there is a hiuge portray of Saint Gennaro painted on a building, made by the street artist called Jorit. Neapolitans call San Gennaro “Yellow Face”, because the bust of the saint, carried in procession through the city, is gold. The “home” of Saint Gennaro is the Duomo, where the locals go 3 times a year for the celebrations of the dissolution of the blood.

Next to the Cathedral there is the Museum of Saint Gennaro, where everything is related to his life: jewelry, statues, fabrics and paintings. The jewels are works of inestimable value, made by the Master Goldsmiths of the Neapolitan School. Above all, you will be dazzled by the necklace of San Gennaro, by the gilded silver miter, and by the mantle covered with precious stones and enamels.

 

Potato croquettes and other fried wonders

That is to say, pizza has been created in Naples. Therefore, in Naples pizza is Queen. But Neapolitan people live not only with pizza! In fact in the city there is any kind of amazing food. Many typical trattorias and nice restaurants, gelato shops and bakery shops in every area of the city.

Reing food, my honorable mention goes for frying. First, you can find the best potato croquettes in the city – the so called “Crocchè” and here you can also experience the best pasta frittatina you will ever eat in your whole life. I’m not speaking to weak stomachs, but I promise it will be worth it!

 

From the hill to the sea

Naples is a city made of sea and hills, of ups and downs. While on the Vomero hill, you only have to choose one of the stone stairs that take you down towards the sea. It is not only a nice workout, but also a wonderful tour through nice alleys, antique buildings and spectacular views, staying away from the chaos of the main streets.

 

Pompeii and the islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida

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Naples is a unique city surrounded by many other beautiful places. Like Pompeii or the islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida. My advice is to go visit at least one of these places! You can easily reach Pompeii and the islands by public transport. But you can also rent a car to Pompeii or, even better, reaching Capri, Ischia or Procida by a private boat, taking a mini-tour, maybe with a sailor. A good idea is also of having a personal tour guide for both the archaeological park of Pompeii and the islands, to live a more immersive experience.

*Need some tips to visit Capri? Take a look at my post What to see in Capri: not just the Faraglioni, 10 things you will fall in love with!

 

A selfie with the street art of the Spanish Quarters

The Spanish Quarters, called by the Neapolitans only “Quarters”, are a labyrinth of alleys behind the main streets of the city. In ancient times, the Spanish Quarters had a bad reputation, and they kept the bad name for some time. Today the Quarters are one of the most visited places in the city, re-evaluated on an urban and artistic level while preserving their authentic essence.

In recent years, many artist realized graffiti on the buildings of the Quarters, and the streets have become a real open-air museum. Some graffiti portray famous Neapolitan people, such as Sofia Loren and Totò, some are dedicated to comic’s heroes and other characters. An entire square is dedicated to Maradona, with artworks in every corner. There are lot of places where stopping by taking a selfie with an artwork.

The thousand churches of Naples

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Naples is called “The city of a thousand churches”, and it is not a random number! There are lots of churches in different styles, and the Baroque is predominant. Above all, there are the Church of Gesù Nuovo, the Duomo, and the church of San Gregorio Armeno and Santa Patrizia, a true jem still unknown to many tourists.

The oldtown is full of churches, with unique examples of art and histor. Certainly the church of Santa Maria delle Anime del Purgatorio ad Arco, with its suggestive hypogeum, or the basilica of Santa Chiara with its 1600 cloister are two of the most beautiful. If you love art and history, visiting at least one of the thousand churches of Naples, is mandatory!

 

A guided tour in the San Carlo Theater

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The San Carlo theater stands out in all its majesty in the center of the city, incorporated into the Royal Palace. San Carlo is the oldest theater in Europe and one of the most famous and spectacular in the world, and you can go for a visit having a guided tour behind the scenes. The greatest artists of the ballet and topera walked the stage, passing through the scenography and costume lab, where you can still breathe a timeless and unique atmosphere.

 

Shopping in the historic center

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With all the famous pizzerias, the alleys and ancient palaces, and many other beautiful things, the historic center of Naples has countless interesting points. Here you can find the most impressive artisans’ shops and traditional studios, both ancient and modern. First, you can buy typical products like lucky horns, hand-made soaps and ex-votos. Then you can takealk inside ancient typographies and bookstores,d original shops. You will find treasures everywhere.

 

The less touristy and more beautiful Naples

Beyond its historic center, Naples is full of beautiful quarters and spectacular belvedere. Go for a walk on the Posillipo hill, with its Greco-Roman ruins overlooking the breathtaking panorama. Take a ride through the Lungomare (the Seaside), with the five-star hotels in front of the ancient Castel dell’Ovo. Visit the Chiaia district and its beautiful Art Nouveau buildings. Or go to Coroglio, with the amazing pier in the middle of the sea, where you can take a long walk on.

Naples is made of wonders scattered everywhere, from the hills to the sea. The amazing things you can do and see in Naples are countless. I have chosen 10, but I add 1 more as a bonus, one unexpected tips!

 

*Naples seen from the sea

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Naples seen from the sea is the experience that you just can’t miss. Seen from the sea, the city appears in all its majesty and beauty, an unparalleled spectacle! Naples is rich in history, art and natural beauty – not to mention the fantastic food and the super-hospitable Neapolitan people!