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What to See and Do in Naples – a guide to notable attractions and landmarks

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Naples may be a loud and boisterous city, but it doesn’t feel the need to shout about its many treasures. It wears them with relaxed confidence, hiding magnificent frescoes and ornate sculptures behind rough and ready urban facades. Meanwhile, great squares teem with people, who pass by glorious architecture on their way to do some shopping, with barely a second glance. But take your time in Naples, and slowly its many glories will be revealed.
Duomo

 

 

Compared to other grand Italian cathedrals, the Duomo of Naples seems like a run of the mill religious building on the outside, standing halfway along the Via Duomo. But this exterior hides a truly magnificent interior, containing the Royal Chapel of the Treasure of San Gennaro, densely decorated with Baroque sculptures and frescoes. It is a place which inspires intense religious devotion, with crowds pouring in twice a year to watch the liquefying of a saint’s dried blood. Mark it on a map, search it out in the maze of central Naples, and be amazed.

 

Castel Nuovo

 

 

Dating back to the 13th century, this is a castle which could only be called ‘new’ in the epic scheme of Italian history. Looking like it's sprung straight from the pages of a fantasy saga, the façade is dominated by three round, crenulated towers and magnificent, two-story marble archways. Take your time to explore, and the castle will start to come to life – there are the remains of a swimming pool, skeletons, and a cannon ball lodged forever in a weighty wooden door, a memento from one warrior to another in the tussle over this land.

 

National Archaeological Museum

 

 

Housed in a pretty, stately, coral pink building in the center of Naples, this museum is Italy’s foremost collection of classical archaeology. Whether it’s Pompeii, Ancient Egypt or Ancient Greece which stirs your interest, you’ll be richly rewarded with rare artifacts from some of the world’s greatest excavations and discoveries. Don’t miss the Toro Farnese sculpture, the largest complete sculpture from classical antiquity ever recovered, which was restored to its full glory by Michelangelo himself. The mosaics from Pompeii also attract plenty of attention, as does the subversive Secret Cabinet, a collection of ancient erotica.

 

Lungomare

 

 

Curving around the Napoli seafront, Lungomare is a breath of fresh air after the frantic, dusty streets of the city center. This long stretch is completely pedestrianized, and becomes particularly lively in the early evening, when couples stroll by the sea, and friends stop for drinks and gossip at the seafront cafés or the Villa Comunale park. With a view of Vesuvius and Capri, hazy and majestic in the golden evening light, Lungomare is a place to come and soak up the natural beauty and conviviality of Naples.