Naples is Italy’s third-largest city and the type of place with so much history that it’s impossible to visit in one day. Considering it’s one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, it’s no surprise its historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It’s important to remember that Southern Italy has a more relaxed pace of life, and packing in too many attractions per day will only make you tired, especially in the summer months. Here’s an itinerary for seven days in Naples, but instead of strictly following it, do like the Neapolitans do and take it at your own pace.
Visit Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii
Image via Flickr by Carlo Mirante
You can’t go to Naples without visiting Pompeii, the city that Mount Vesuvius destroyed in 79 A.D. The tour from Naples will take the whole day, and you’ll have the chance to see the city’s ruins, including the forum and the baths. After lunch, you can hike to the summit of Mount Vesuvius and admire the amazing views from up high.
Take In the Historic Center
If you’d like to see the heart of Naples, just head to the historic center and enjoy its vibrancy. Go to Via San Gregorio Armeno to see the nativity scene makers, find some peace at Santa Chiara Monastery, or check Spaccanapoli, the narrow street that splits the historic center in the middle.
Explore Naples’ Underground
Imagine going on a 90-minute tour exploring the underground of Naples. Like many other Italian cities, Naples was built upon old Greek and Roman towns, so it’s possible to descend underground, beneath the Church of San Lorenzo Maggiore, and see the excavations of the ancient Roman Forum and surrounding markets.
Eat an Authentic Pizza Margherita
Naples is the birthplace of the pizza Margherita, and any guide to Naples will point the way toward the most delicious pizzas in town. If you’d like to try one of the original spots, head to L’Antica Pizzeria Brandi, which was established in 1780 and claims to have invented the pizza Margherita.
Make the Most of the Museums
Another way to spend your day in the city is to visit one of Naples’ museums. The most famous is the National Archaeological Museum, which displays Greek and Roman artifacts, including a collection of mosaics collected from Pompeii’s ruins. Make sure you also visit the Museo di Capodimonte to see paintings by Caravaggio and Raphael.
Don’t Forget the Castles
Did you know you can visit many castles in Naples? If you’d like to spend some time exploring a castle from the 12th century, go to Castel dell’Ovo at the Island of Megaride, which apparently has magic eggs in its foundation. Another option is Castel Nuovo, which was built in 1279 and is located in front of Piazza Municipio.
At the end of the day, one week is hardly enough time to explore such a beautiful city. Even if you visit the museums, walk around all the streets of the historic center and try a Margherita pizza in every pizzeria, there’s still a lot to discover. But don’t despair. You have plenty of reasons to visit Naples again!