I think that Naples has got to be one of my favorite Italian cities (I’ve probably said that a few times now). It has something for everyone. Great history, great food, great people and it sits in the most spectacular setting.
When coming to a new city people tend to head for the more recognisable sites but below you’ll find a few the are off the beaten track and not to be missed.
Number 1 on the list is visit the Veiled Christ Statue in the Museo San Severo.
I absolutely love this statue and it takes my breath away even just seeing its picture. In real life its mesmerising. The museum has some other really interesting exhibits including an anatomical display downstairs which is a bit weird but still incredibly fascinating. On the other floors there are statues and mosaics that are just stunning. You’re not allowed to take pictures of the veiled christ and that is strictly enforced so head to the gift shop and snap up a fridge magnet or postcard to remind you of your visit.
The ticket gives access to the entire museum area and costs €8 but concessions are available: this includes the nave of the Sansevero Chapel, which houses, among other works, the Veiled Christ, the Underground Chamber, where the Anatomical Machines are displayed, and the sacristy/bookshop.
The Sansevero Chapel Museum does not provide a guided tour service directly. An audio guide service lasting about 25 minutes is available in Italian, English, French, Spanish, and German. It can be rented at a cost of € 3.50.
Friday to Sunday: 9.00 am – 7.00 pmLast entry 30 mins before closing
Next is number 2 – I think you’ll really want to see the Caravaggio in a Church
In Naples Caravaggio painted 3 famous works of art and the stunning Seven Works of Mercy he painted for the high altar of the Church of Pio Monte della Misericordia, which still stands today with the painting in its original position. I really like this painting because it wasn’t painted to hang in a museum, it was painted for the very place it hangs now and that makes it special. The rest of the church, including upstairs has some fantastic works of art. Also upstairs there is a little balcony where you can look down on the Caravaggio giving it a completely different perspective.
The standard ticket price of €8 is very much worth it as it allows you not only access to the main church area and the beautiful Caravaggio but also to the upstairs area which is a museum with paintings and artifacts from many ages. On of the other areas the ticket allows you to visit is the crypt downstairs which has an eerie feel about it some incredible stories. The ladies in the foyer are really helpful and there is a guide leaflet in many languages.
Number 3 is quite special – The Catacombs
There are 2 fantastic, if not a little macabre, sites here which can be accessed on the same entrance ticket and they are Catacombs of San Gaudioso which tells a fantastic story of how the tombs were used through the ages. The second site is the Catacombs of San Gennaro which is a fantastic wander through various tomb chambers through the ages. The tours are in both Italian and English and incredibly informative. Nearby you can also visit the Fontanelle Cemetery where the bones of ancient Neopolitans are laid and take a wander down the Miglio Sacro (The holy mile) identifying more treasures in the heart of Naples. All of these sites are pretty much accessible from central Naples and just be mindful of the opening times and tour times so you make sure you have time for it all.
The price for the tickets that combine all the attractions is around €15 but there are many variations and concessions available. These catacombs and the surrounding area and stories will give you a great insight into old Naples but do wear comfy shoes and a light jacket/sweater as it can be a bit chilly in some of the deep catacombs.
Number 4 takes us underground to discover layers of Neapolitan history.
Naples Underground is one of the best tours in Naples today. It takes you through a myriad of tunnels and chambers which signifies approx 2400 years of usage. The tour is extremely well thought out and surprises and delights with the discoveries that they’ve made, sometimes even in the basements of peoples houses.
Tickets are around €12 and tours tend to be every hour with a variation on different language tours throughout the day.
Number 5 takes us on the Line 1 Metro line to see some breathtaking art features
The city’s primary metro line “Linea 1” hosts a wide array of striking art installations – more than 180 one off commissions by pioneering international artists such as Sol LeWitt, Joseph Kosuth and Michelangelo Pistoletto.
The glittering silver-blue walls at Toledo metro station were designed to make you feel like you’re traversing through the ground and into the sea.
Naples is a fantastic city to explore, enjoy !
TIP OF THE TRIP
This trips tip is to wear comfy shoes as you’ll be doing a lot of walking exploring the old narrow streets of Naples which are always full of surprises.