Our itinerary goes along two main routes: the first one starts from the Royal Palace of Capodimonte, housing the National Galleries and Museum, towards the city centre, passing through the long straight thoroughfare opened during the Napoleonic age. Arrived at the National Archaeological Museum, it turns leftwards to St Giovanni a Carbonara and follows the lay-out of the ancient upper decuman, to join the elegant Via Toledo. The second part refers to the magnificent Vomero hill, comfortably reachable through the funicular (via Montesanto), that goes down to the coast until Mergellina, ending in Posillipo, where to enjoy stunning views of the Gulf.

The Royal Palace of Capodimonte

Where it used to be a simple hamlet, Charles of Bourbon opened in 1739 a great porcelain workshop and built up a splendid building to exhibit the lovely collection of art treasures given by his mother, Elisabetta Farnese. The "factory" has been in operation for twenty years only (as it was dismantled from the founder himself, when he went back to Spain); while the building has always been used as a museum. You will be able to admire, a part from the incredible panoramas, the marvellous adjacent park: 120 hectares of magnificence designed by Ferdinando Sanfelice, and run by five drives, branching off like rays from "porta di Mezzo".

National Galleries and Museum of Capodimonte

The 213 paintings, put in order of dates and schools, set as a "gallery of rare and precious objects", are the result of re-modernization works that have reinstated the original disposition wanted by Charles of Bourbon. The historical nucleus comes from the Farnese's collection, that Pope Paolo III began with the purpose to embellish the clan's palace in Rome. The presence of masterpieces like "la Trasfigurazione", by Giovanni Bellini; "la Zingarella", by Correggio; the Farnese's casket (1548-61), is due to the donation of the homonym family's collection indeed. Other purchases and donations brought very important oeuvres, such as: the fragments of "Pala di Città di Castello", by Raffaello and Evangelista di Pian Meleto; "l'Annunciazione", by Filippino Lippi; "la Crocifissione", by Masaccio; "l'Annunciazione", by Tiziano; "la Flagellazione", by Caravaggio. The museum is incredibly rich in paintings belonging to the Neapolitan tradition made between XVII and XVIII centuries. Museum and Galleries are open to visits: Tuesday to Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm; Sundays and bank holidays from 9 am to 1 pm; closed on Monday.

Catacombs of St Gennaro

From the Tondo of Capodimonte, you have to go up to the modern Church of Madre del Buon Consiglio. Nearby the church you will find the access to the most important cemetery complex in the South of Italy. Its importance is due to both foundation antiquity (II century) and extremely precious frescoes (II-XI century). The catacombs are dedicated to St Gennaro, whose mortal remains were laid to rest onto the upper floor, at the beginning of the V century. Skirting the Church of St Gennaro extra Moenia, built up in the V century and many times modified, you will access the ground floor and see the Basilica of St Agrippino, bishop and saint, buried there in the III century. The catacombs are open to visits every day at 9.30 am, 10.15 am and 11.45 am.

Santa Maria della Sanità

If you continue your way along Via Santa Teresa di Scalzi, at some point you will find on the right side of the street the Church of St Maria della Sanità, in the heart of the homonym quarter. The Dominican friars built up this lovely church between 1602 and 1613, over the catacombs of St Gaudioso (dating back to the V century). It is a singular building, because of both the interior's articulation – there are 12 small cupolas just above the three naves of the cross's arms – and the high altar's position – high on the chapel, which is the access to the early Christian cemetery. The fervent cult of a statue dedicated to St Vincenzo Ferreri, known as "o' munacone", has made this temple renowned as Church of St Vincenzo. There is an ancient stone chair preserved into the chapel of the left transept, and an old legend tells that that chair has got the power to infuse grace and protection into pregnant women who sit there and pray. The catacombs of St Gaudino are open to visits every Sunday from 9.30 am to 11.45 am; upon request, tel: +39 081 741 1071.

National Archaeological Museum

Built in 1585 as cavalry barracks, then transformed into Palace of Studies, the building was refitted at the end of the XVIII century, when Ferdinand IV decided to set it up as a museum, in order to exhibit the Farnesian archaeological collection and the findings collected by his father in Portici. Extraordinarily enriched by the findings of Herculaneum and Pompeii, this museum is an out-and-out institution about Roman antiquities. The scientific value of the findings along with the incredible influence they had had into our culture has no equals! The "marble sculptures" represent one of the most important complexes: stunning Roman copies of original classical and Hellenistic oeuvres. "Tyrannicides Armodio and Aristogitone", whose original was made in 447 BC by the Greek sculptors Kritios and Nesiotes, under Athenians' commission, is a great example. The high-value of the copy of "Doriforo" (dating back to the second half of the V century), made by Policleto and found in Pompeii, is due to its beauty and completeness. Some works of art come from the thermal baths of Caracalla, such as: "Ercole Farnese", copy of a bronze dated back to the IV century BC; the "Toro Farnese", one of the biggest sculptural groups of the past, reproducing the original made in the II century BC. Further on, the section of paintings coming from Pompeii and Herculaneum is hugely interesting indeed, as rare witness of a much less documented art. Among the subjects, there are mythological and literary themes, still lives, landscapes and architectures, every day life scenes and portraits (like the famous "Paquio Proculo and his wife").

There are also two reconstructions dedicated to the cities buried under the Vesuvius' lava in 79: Villa dei Papiri, where sculptures, paintings and bronzes found into the Herculaneum residence have been repositioned according to the original decorative program; Tempio di Iside where, even not following exactly the original collocation, have been set up frescoes and findings of the city of Pompeii. The mosaic's section is notable, too, thanks to the impressive dimensions and characters' expressiveness, particularly visible in "La Battaglia di Alessandro Magno contro Dario" (the Battle of Alexander the Great against Dario). You will find a great gems collection, as well, whose most important piece is the famous "Tazza Farnese" (II century BC): an admirably decorated cup made by an Egyptian artist from a unique piece of agate, in order to celebrate the Kingdom of Ptolemy. The epigraphical collection counts thousands of pieces, in Latin, Greek, Etruscan and Oscan. The museum is open to visits: Tuesday to Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm; Sunday and bank holidays frm 9 am to 1 pm; Monday closed.

St Giovanni a Carbonara

Built between 1343 and 1418, chosen by the latest Angevin monarchs as pantheon for their dead. It is definitely a singular building: the façade belongs to the church of St Monica, inserted into the end of the nave, while the apsis, visible on the opposite side, is actually another chapel. The real entrance is located on one side, in front of the XVIII-century staircase. Inside the church you will notice the behind the high-altar, the monument dedicated to the king Ladislao (1428); the monarch appears twice: on the throne, beside his sister Giovanna II and, on top, on horseback drawing the sword. Behind the monument you will see the marvellous chapel Caracciolo del Sole (1427), intensely wanted from Ser Gianni Caracciolo, great seneschal and lover of Giovanna II, buried there. The chapel with circular plant, preserves XV-century frescoes and a coeval splendid majolica's floor. On the left side of the presbytery, there is the chapel Caracciolo di Vico (1517), maybe the first Roman Renaissance example in Naples. Along the left wall of the nave there is the monumental altar Miroballo, of Lombard School.

Santissimi Apostoli

Maybe founded in the V century, this church was completely changed by the Theatines between 1609 and 1649, and nowadays represents one of the main Baroque churches of the city. The interior is fully decorated by a cycle of frescoes framed by golden stuccoes, made by Giovanni Lanfranco (1638-46). Gorgeous XVII-century angel lamp-stand and bronze candelabrum nearby the presbytery and, into the left transept, the Filomarino altar, by Francesco Borromini. The chapel are just beautiful picture-galleries of XVI and XVII century works of art. Into the crypt, large as the church itself and divided into five naves, is buried the poet Giovan Battista Marino (1569-1625).

Santa Maria Donnaregina

Built up in 1293 for want of Maria of Hungary, wife of Charles II of Angiò, enlarged in the XVII century. The current separation between the two churches is the result of a restoration work made between 1928 and 1934. The "new church", richly decorated with marbles, houses the diocesan museum; the "old church", accessible from the alley Donnaregina, is closed by a pentagonal apsis and pillars supporting the chorus of the nuns, high positioned just after the entrance. To the left you will find the monument of Maria d'Ungheria, designed by Tino di Camaino and Gagliardo Primario, which is a perfect prototype of Angevin grave. The dead appears on her knees in front of the Virgin; the small arches on her brow, represent the numerous children. The biggest cycle of XIV-century frescoes of the whole Naples is preserved all around the nuns' chorus, made by anonymes belonging to the circle of Pietro Cavallini.

Ospedale degli Incurabili

Founded in 1519, this ex-hospital does worth a visit to the famous pharmacy: XVIII-century environment, the only almost intact building of this sort in Naples. The medicines were stored into majolica pots (originally 480) made by Donato Massa (1728), with bible scenes and allegories. The chapel of St Maria Succurre Miseris, annexed to the hospital, preserves "La Scandalosa": a wax sculpture dated back to the end of the XVII century, representing the plague with exasperated realism. Open to visits upon request, tel: +39 081 291 518.

Santa Maria Regina Coeli

Going over the pensile bell-tower, you will see this pretty church's elegant façade, consecrated at the end of the XVI century. A fantastic staircase goes up to the atrium, decorated with lovely frescoes by the flaming Croys. The stunning interior, in excellent condition, shows the signs of the constant embellishment works made between XVI and XIX century: the paintings made by Massimo Stanzione and exhibited onto the ligneous golden ceiling, date back to 1640-47; the skilled hand of Luca Giordano (1684) signed some of the saints among the windows and some paintings exposed into the chapels.

Santa Maria delle Grazie a Caponapoli

The name remembers that this used to be the highest point of the old city, where there was the acropolis and, during the high Middle Ages, were built many monasteries. Devastated by a long series of thefts (1980-92), this church is unfortunately closed to the public, even remaining one of the most beautiful examples of the Neapolitan "Cinquecento". Inside, the chapels' width, surmounted by an entablature, create an excellent decorative complex with a Renaissance taste. As part of the holy furnishings we must mention the sepulchre of Joannello de Cuncto and his wife Lucrezia (1517-19), into the chapel of the right side of the presbytery and, above the sacristy's altar, a Madonna delle Grazie by Giovanni di Nola.

Via Santa Maria di Costantinopoli

The lay-out largeness will let you understand that you are out of the Greek-Roman Naples. The street was opened indeed by the viceroy Toledo in the XVI century. You will be amazed by the numerous churches and buildings, composing a charming architectural landscape. The street underwent important changes during the XIX century: the transformation of the convent of St Giovanni into the neo-Renaissance "Accademia delle Belle Arti"; the block of Galleria Principe di Napoli, opened in 1870-73. including the church of St Maria di Costantinopoli (protectress against the epidemics), founded in the XVI century and remade two centuries later.

Piazza Dante

Once known as Piazza del Mercatello, is defined by the hemicycle of Foro Carolino (1757-65), made by Vanvitelli with the purpose to frame an equestrian monument to Charles of Bourbon, which was never made. There are 26 statues representing the king's virtues onto the banisters. On the hemicycle's left end there is the splendid Port'Alba: built in 1625, in the days of the viceroy Pedro Alvarez de Toledo, duke of Alba, and remade in 1797.

St Michele a Portalba

Little jewel of the Italian eighteenth-century architecture, one of the best realizations by Domenico Antonio Vaccaro. He built it up in 1729-35, over a pre-existing worship place and made the paintings on the altars; the sacristy has kept intact the original furnishings.

Spirito Santo

The foundation of the church along with some of the internal oeuvres (sculptures by Naccherino, paintings by Santafede), date back to the end of Cinquecento; while the building’s restoration and the largest part of the paintings (De Mura, Fischetti, Celebrano) have been made during the XVIII century. The church is dominated by one of the most elegant cupolas of the city (the best point to admire it is the piazza at the end of Vico de’ Bianchi).

Via Toledo

The viceroy Pedro Alvarez de Toledo wanted this street to be made as axis of expansion, with the purpose to attract in Naples the baronial nobility of the kingdom. It is one of the main street of the city, whose great dimensions and liveliness have always struck the travellers imagination. More than 2 Km (1.24 miles) long and very large, it has not had any comparisons in Europe for centuries. Always alive, this street is characterized by the almost total absence of churches and the presence of civilian buildings – among which, at the street number 46, Palazzo Carafa Maddaloni (1582) – that lend to it a special "public" look.

N.B. The western side of the elegant Via Toledo offers the thick plot of "Quartieri Spagnoli" (the Spanish Quarters), that the viceroy Toledo used to give as residence to the troops in town. The chequered plant makes them look like camps and the buildings’ style, if not martial, is extremely sober, even with some notable architectural episodes. Unfortunately the Quartieri are not famous for artistic reasons: during the XVII century in fact, when the soldiers were moved to Pizzofalcone, the "common people" occupied that area, that became the "belly" of the city where, in good and evil, it is shown the Neapolitan stereotype: the most extroverted cordiality, the ‘art to get along by themselves’, the clothes hanging out, the street, the "vile", the bag-snatching. One of the many contradictions that have made Naples so famous.

The Carthusian Monastery and National Museum of St Martino

Even representing one of the highest examples of the Neapolitan Baroque, thanks to the restoration made by Cosimo Fanzago, this monastery was actually founded in 1325 for want of Carlo, duke of Calabria, that entrusted the works to Francesco de Vito and Tino di Camaino. The National Museum of St Martino was set up into the convent in 1866, in concomitance with the dissolution of the religious orders. This place is renowned even for the gorgeous panorama of the gulf.

The lovely Chiesetta delle Donne (Women’s Church – as they were not allowed to access the complex) faces the entrance. The Church’s façade overlooks a pretty courtyard on the right; while the interior, aisleless, with three chapels on each side and a deep rectangular apse, offers marvellous decorations made by the best artists of the Italian Seicento called by Fanzago. From the courtyard you will access two amazing cloisters: Chiostro dei Procuratori, through which you will move to the gardens (with splendid pergolas and olive trees) and the Museum’s halls. A long corridor, where to admire the remains of XIV-century sculptures, goes to the Chiostro Grande, set out to the pre-existing Angevin structure, in the middle of the huge platform created to build everything on the same level. The reconversion of the enormous complex is due to the archaeologist Giuseppe Fiorelli that, after 1866, became promoter of a museum in order to tell and show the Neapolitan history and society throughout the centuries. He thought the monastery could have been the perfect place to make his dream come true, so safeguarded the building from any improper use. The museum was open in 1900, and has remained one of the most avant-garde exhibitions for many years. The most important and famous section, among the visitable ones, is the "Sezione Presepiale" (Crib Section), fruit of a long tradition with no comparisons in Italy. It is composed by some of the most popular Neapolitan artists and two exceptional groups: ‘il Presepe di Cuciniello’, so-called from his donor, that counts hundreds of pieces; ‘le Statue Lignee’ of the XV-century crib of St Giovanni a Carbonara. You will find extremely interesting even the section set up into the ‘Qaurto del Priore’ halls, with the ancient picture-gallery and the XV-century sepulchre of Carlo Gesualdo; the Sculptures’ Section, covering a long period (from XIV to XX century) of Parthenopean oeuvres. The ‘Sezione Orilia’, collecting woodworks, porcelains, ceramics, sculptures and paintings from the Middle Ages to the Settecento; the ‘Farmacia’, with Murano glasses dating back to the centuries XV and XVI. The Carthusian Monastery and National Museum of St Martino (subjected to partial restoration works) are open to visits: Tuesday to Sunday from 9 am to 2 pm; Monday closed.

Castel St Elmo

Once the hilltop of Vomero represented the ideal place to garrison the ancient city. Where in 1329 the Angevins built up the Belforte, two centuries later the viceroy Toledo built a stunning fortress, with a six-pointed star plant (1537-46). The fortress was built for defensive purposes: here the viceroy found indeed a way of escape when Masaniello’s Naples revolted against the Spanish Habsburg.; subsequently became military seat, and then prison. A Carlo V coat of arms marks the castle’s entrance; the small Church of St Erasmo overlooks piazza d’Armi. From the terraces you will enjoy a gorgeous view of the city and the gulf, from the Mount Vesuvius to Ischia and Camaldaioli. The Castle is open to visits every day from 9 am to 2 pm; Monday closed.

La Floridiana

This splendid eighteenth-century complex was totally restored between 1817 and 1819 for want of Ferdinand I, who gave it to the duchess Lucia Partanna, his morganatic bride. Surrounded by a neoclassical style park, the villa offers an exceptional panorama of Naples and the gulf, with the Isle of Capri as background. Villa Floridiana has been a state property since 1919 and nowadays houses the National Museum "Duca di Martina", deriving from the lovely collections of Placido di Sangro, munificent applied arts’ (specially ceramics) estimator. The best documented productions are the Italian (Capodimonte, Doccia, Fabbrica di Napoli, Venice) and European ones (Meissen, Vienne, Chantilly, Sèvres, Vincennes, Derby, Wedgwood, Chelsea), but you will even find numerous Asian pieces, particularly Chinese and Japanese.

Impressive majolica (Faenza, Deruta, Cafaggiolo, Urbino and Venice) and glasses (Murano, Bohemia), as well as Neapolitan painters’ sketches dating back to the XVIII century. The Museum is open to visits every day from 9 am to 2 pm; Monday closed.

Via Chiaia

Main Neapolitan shopping street, that traces the deep valley that used to separate "Palaepolis" (the old city), facing the sea, from the internal hills. From the XVIII century, thanks to the beautiful patrician residences built there, the street has begun contending the primacy to Via Toledo in terms of luxury shops.


The quarter rises up on top of the hill of Mount Erchia, marking the border between the historical centre and Chiaia. It is crossed by Via Monte di Dio, one of the most monumental streets in Naples during the XVIII century. At the beginning of the street there is the Baroque St Maria degli Angeli, by Francesco Grimaldi; further on , the wonderful Palazzo Serra di Cassano. Not far from Via Monte di Dio there is the Nunziatella, already Jesuits’ novitiate and, since 1787, seat of one of the most important military academies in Italy. The church offers great XVIII-century interiors, with a splendid high-altar, by Sammartino. The last building of the street, Gran Quartiere di Pizzofalacone, has always been used for military purposes, since 1600.

Santa Lucia

The great "tourist" vocation of this place has started in the XVIII century, when the first hotels were born. The old promenade, before the reclamation, consisted of the two sections of Via Chiatone and Via Santa Lucia, where rises the Church of Santa Lucia a Mare, isolated on the water, that gives the name to the whole district. The current promenade is composed by Via Sauro and Via Partenope, separated by the lovely fountain of Immacolatella (1601), oeuvre made by Pietro Bernini and Michelangelo Naccherino. The fantastic walk along this quarter will let you admire the city as never before, while seeing the most sumptuous hotels in town.

Castel dell’Ovo

The appellation has a doubtful etymology, anyway what we surely know is that it has been called like this from the XIV century: someone thinks it might derive from the elliptical shape of the plant; someone else thinks it may come from the virtues of a magic ‘egg’ (Ovo, Uovo in Italian) preserved inside. However, according to the history, the castle rises up to a small island called "Megaris" (natural spur of Mount Echia), which was attached to the dry land through a small rocky isthmus. Historians think that the Cumans, arrived in the VII century, landed there, founding the first Palepoli’s (the old Naples) nucleus. During the I century BC, Lucullus built there a gorgeous villa that later on became a Basilian monastery. The first fortifications rose up just before the Norman age, while the castle is due to the Normans and Frederick II. The castle was royal residence and treasure seat under Frederick II and the Angevin age, but it was unfortunately destroyed in 1503 and then remade, undergoing further transformations between the XVII and the XVIII century. It is now used for military purposes, but the restoration works made in 1975 have highlighted the main elements: the curtains, where to admire the stunning local panorama; the Columns’ Hall, divided into four aisles; the Basilian settlements and Church of Salvatore; the Towers Maestra and di Normandia; the open galleries, dating back to the Gothic and Aragonese ages. The Borgo Marinaro on the East side of the castle, that now offers refined restaurants, even if it was originally made for the fishermen’s families coming from the quarter of Santa Lucia.

Villa Comunale

Public garden built for want of the Bourbons at the end of the XVIII century and designed by Carlo Vanvitelli, on the reclamation that allowed the prolongation of Chiaia’s promenade. Delimited southwards by Via Caracciolo, from where there is a magic view of Vomero with the Chartusian Monastery of St Martino and Posillipo’s promontory; northwards by Riviera di Chiaia, posh street along which there used to be the first coastline. Spotted with precious sculptures and fountains, the garden counts many architectural works of art, like the Zoological Station, founded in 1872 to study the submarine world. The stunning frescoes made by Hans von Marèes evidence, through rural and marine scenes, how great was the charm that the Northern Europeans had on the people from the South of Italy. The notable Aquarium (the most ancient of the Old Country), is dedicated to particular marine species from the Gulf of Naples. The Villa is open to visits: Summer, every day from 9 am to 6 pm – Sunday, from 10 am to 6 pm; Winter, Tuesday to Saturday, from 9 am to 5 pm – Monday closed.

Villa Pignatelli

The most famous example among the Neapolitan neoclassical residences in Chiaia. Villa Pignatelli is surrounded by the only patrician garden located close by the sea. Built after 1826, the villa has been a State property since 1952. The beautiful Museum Principe Diego Aragona Pignateli Cortes is there along with the original Coaches Museum (museo delle carrozze) , with marvellous models from the XIX to the XX century. The Villa is open to visits every day from 9 am to 2 pm; Monday closed.


Incredibly fascinating place where today modern yachts lined up, even though it used to be the charming little port with the fascinating fishermen’s ships that inspired poets and painters from all over the world. A lovely staircase goes to the Church of St Maria del Parto, made for want of the humanist Jacopo Sannazaro. Go inside the church, if you still have a bit of free time, to admire the worthy painting called Diavolo di Mergellina, by Leonardo da Pistoia, representing the devil as women. Over the viaduct of Piedigrotta, on the left, you will see the Virgilian Park (Parco Virgiliano), which is a must for any tourists. The name is due to a funerary Augustan monument, traditionally considered as Virgil’s grave; in 1939 Giacomo Leopardi’s (one of the maximum Romantic Italian poets, died in Naples in 1837) tomb was moved there, too.

Via di Posillipo

Opened for want of Joachim Murat (king of the Two Sicilies from 1800 to 1815), Via di Posillipo climbs up the promontory that separates the Gulf of Naples from the Gulf of Pozzuoli, where the Romans built their own villas. The name Posillipo comes from the Greek "pausìlypon" (that ease the pain) obviously referring to the stunning beauty of the panoramas. The slope is accompanied by refined residences, like: Palazzo di Donn’Anna, built in 1642 by Cosimo Fanzago for Anna Carafà, the viceroy’s wife, and left unfinished. Now it looks like a suggestive ruin reflected in the sea. Nearby the Quadrivio del Capo there is the stunning view immortalized by the XVIII-century landscape painters, the so-called ‘vedutisti’. There is another place with impressive panoramas, which is the Park of Posillipo (parco di Posillipo): from Coroglio’s cliff your eyes will be amazed by the near gulfs if Naples and Pozzuoli to the Phlegraean Fields, Baia and Ischia and, on the opposite side, Capri, the Sorrento peninsula and the Mount Vesuvius. The fantastic villa owned by sir William Hamilton rises close by the sea with a large, beautiful terrace overlooking the gulf.


From Quadrivio del Capo there is an old street that goes down to an ancient fishermen village, nowadays place of renowned restaurants, one of the main symbols of the Italian dolce vita during the 60’s: Marechiaro. The element that has definitely contributed in making this place so popular is the so-called ‘Fenestrella’ (small window): according to the legend, the poet and writer Salvatore di Giacomo was inspired by the view of a window, with a carnation on the windowsill, to write one of the most famous Neapolitan songs, "A Marechiaro". That window still exists, there always is a fresh carnation on the windowsill, and a white marble memorial stone, reporting the song’s lyrics and the name of the author.

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