What to see in Naples in two days? What are the places not to be missed? Here is my itinerary to visit the city in 48 hours!
Naples is a fascinating city that for centuries has become the preferred destination for many foreign tourists who love to spend their holidays in the great cities of art.
Naples is a real cultural center.
The city, extremely varied, offers a pleasant journey to discover history, culture through art, music and cuisine, sports and breathtaking natural landscapes.
In short, there is something for all tastes and for all types of tourists!
What to see in Naples in two days: artistic itinerary
First of all, Naples reserves a real “open-air museum” for its visitors.
We are talking about his wonderful historic center, the greatest of all Europe, as well as declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Along the ancient center it is possible to visit the National archeologic museum, museum set up inside a Bourbon building belonging to the end of 1500.
Continuing along Via Costantinopoli you can see numerous monumental churches (such as, for example, the Church of Santa Maria di Costantinopoli).
It is also already possible to think about the souvenirs to take home, thanks to the "Naples of the professions" made up of the numerous artisan and antiques shops, real historical and characteristic workshops of the city!
On the way to the center the eye undoubtedly falls on Saluzzo Palace in Corigliano, a structure that laid its foundations in Naples in the XNUMXth century by the hand of the architect Giovanni Francesco Mormando and which is now home to the Asia, Africa and Mediterranean Department of the Oriental University. While, with Palazzo di Sangro di Casacalenda, we are in piazza San Domenico, right in front of Palazzo di Corigliano.
This represents a sweet stop, as the ground floor houses one of the most illustrious pastry shops in Naples: "Scaturichio", where you can taste the typical "Ministeriale" dessert. The palace offers visitors a noble floor and a graceful internal courtyard crossed by a characteristic open staircase. Peculiarities of the building are his numerous frescoes by Fedele Fischetti, some of which are, however, kept in the Capodimonte museum.
In Piazza San Domenico Maggiore, theobelisk of San Domenico and the homonymous church. A little further on, in vico San Domenico Maggiore, is Palazzo di Sangro: a striking example of the Neapolitan baroque.
Both buildings are for residential use. Behind Piazza San Domenico Maggiore it is possible to go inside the San Severo Chapel to observe the moving statue of the "Veiled Christ" made in 1753 by Giuseppe Sanmartino.
Crossing via Benedetto Croce you cannot absolutely give up a stop a Palazzo Venezia, one of the most characteristic corners of the city. The building has a part reserved for exhibitions and events, while it will certainly be spectacular to enter the courtyard from the three-sided structure.
Particularly interesting is also the hanging garden housed inside, with a Pompeian house on the first floor and a small chapel called the “grotta della Madonnina” in the front gardens. Green is a fundamental presence for this building!
A few meters from it are the churches of Santa Chiara and Gesù Nuovo. We pass through the famous Spacca Napoli and proceed with the visit of Palazzo Marigliano (or Palazzo di Capua), in via San Biagio dei Librai, seat of the Archival and Bibliographic Superintendency of Campania. The building dates back to the sixteenth century, commissioned by Bartolomeo di Capua, Prince of Riccia and Count of Altavilla.
The structure is a true jewel of the local Renaissance, inside which remains of frescoes by Francesco De Mura are still preserved. It is possible to visit it during the days organized by Fai. In the same street, at number 121, is Palazzo Diomede Carafa. Belonging to the XNUMXth century, it represents a typical example of Neapolitan Renaissance architecture.
Inside it it is possible to observe numerous statues and reliefs, in particular, in the courtyard is the famous one Horse head, terracotta copy of the original bronze part of an unfinished equestrian monument by Donatello for King Alfonso V of Aragon. The last of the most famous buildings is Palazzo Spinelli di Laurino, on Via dei Tribunali.
Its courtyard differs from the others for an elliptical plant, with some statues and two flights of stairs towards the entrance to the family chapel. This building was the setting for numerous films, including Liliana Cavani's “La Pelle” and Ettore Scola's “Maccheroni”. This place is also the source of a legend, according to which the soul of a girl named Bianca would usually wander along the main staircase. The lady was walled up alive in one of the rooms of the building by her husband, Duke Trojano.
Finally, it remains impossible not to mention Royal Palace, designed in 1600, which houses the monumental statues of the Kings of Naples in its niches. The oldest rooms on the main floor, today the Museum of the Historical Apartment, preserve the furnishings and decorations of the royal families: the Court Theater, the splendid Sala degli Ambasciatori, the Sala del Trono, the Sala d'Ercole and the Cappella Palatina dedicated to the Assumption.
Naples was settled for many years by the Spaniards, so we can see references to the Bourbon domination towards Piazza Giovanni Bovio, seat of the Federico II University. The neighborhood is dismayed by squares with roundabouts, equestrian monuments in the Medrilenan style, street signs with the words "rua" ...
Continuing in Piazza del Municipio you will be fascinated by the Maschio Angioino, which dominates the majestic open space that reveals the sea and the gulf to our eyes.
Now we have almost reached the most famous part of the city, where you can find the Galleria Umberto I and Palazzo Reale, Via Toledo and Via Chiaia and in particular the San Carlo Theater. Naples has long been a global reference point for classical music and opera through the Neapolitan school of music, giving birth to opera buffa among other things.
After this area you can go to Piazza del Plebiscito, reaching the natural spectacle of the Gulf of Naples and the Sorrento peninsula. This long walk leads to the Francesco Caracciolo seafront, in front of which stands the hill of Mergellina.
Continuing further you reach the Rotonda Diaz and finally to Piazza Amedeo, famous in a particular way for the Neapolitan Art Nouveau style. From this point, Via Bausan and Via dei mille open up, two streets reserved for shopping!
For nature lovers it is possible to cross the natural reserve of the state of Astroni, WWF oasis that extends for 296 hectares. It is home to a major wildlife recovery center and is crisscrossed by nature trails and observatories.
Inside there are 3 hills: Imperatrice, Rotondella and Pagliaroni. In addition to the hills, it is also possible to find three small ponds (including the '' Lago Grande '' in which particular animal and plant species live).
Speaking of the nature that surrounds Naples we must necessarily focus on VESUVIO, the only European continental volcano still in activity, although currently in a state of quiescence since 1944. The volcano is considered by the Neapolitans "the protector of their city" and is one of the main attractions for climbers.
Whether it's for the adrenaline rush that climbs Vesuvius or for the irresistible beauty, this is one of the journeys to be made once you arrive in Naples.
First of all, you must take into account to wear suitable clothing for walking, comfortable and practical shoes and clothes. To visit the crater it takes about 1 hour and a half. Don't be surprised by bad weather, always have an umbrella and kway! For gourmets, on Vesuvius it will be possible to taste the Lacrime Cristi wine, obtained from the vineyards of the volcano.
Here some advice to get there comfortably:
For the journey there are several options to follow: in case you are already traveling with an organization, you can have the private bus, otherwise there are also public transport (you can buy the Naples Pass, a subscription for public transport in Campania which also provides discounts and concessions in the main museums and attractions of Naples, restaurants and pizzerias). There is a bus on purpose.
If, on the other hand, you have opted for the car rent (for example on Liligo) know that it is also possible to travel by car, accepting the challenge of Neapolitan traffic. There is a parking space on purpose and beyond that it is not possible to continue by car, you will have to take a shuttle or continue on foot to the crater.
For the bravest and expert climbers, many routes have been studied to climb Vesuvius, it is always recommended to be accompanied by an expert guide, as some routes can be inaccessible.
At any rate there is an official mapping of the trails which I always recommend to have with you. It is possible to get to Vesuvius passing through Pompeii or Herculaneum, as there are railway stations or companies that offer transfers are easily found. The positive thing is the fact that going towards Vesuvius it is possible to visit the two historical sites, a certainly intense and touching stage.
Referring to public transport, it should be noted that Naples is so rich in beauty that even the underground stations become real works of art! Starting from Line 1, the most important of the Naples underground lines, which connects the central station of Piazza Garibaldi with Piazza Municipio, Via Roma and the Vomero, up to Scampia and Chiaiano.
Toledo station, in line 1, was considered by the British newspaper “The Daily Telegraph” to be the most impressive metro station in all of Europe. What is striking about this station is the mosaic dominated by the blue of the sea and the sky. The mosaic is dedicated to San Gennaro. There is also a '' marine corridor '' and the "Crater de Luz", which is a gigantic cone from which you can enjoy an incomparable view of the city.
Another amazing station is that of Materdei, as it hosts countless works of art, for example Carpe Diem, a bronze by Luigi Serafini or the mosaic depicting Pulcinella. Pulcinella is a Campania mask from the commedia dell'arte.
Where to eat in Naples: 3 places not to be missed
The Pulcinella mask has been combined with the classic Neapolitan pizza since 1765. Pulcinella, a servant, is known for his insatiable hunger! Where to go to satisfy hunger due to long walks? Of course, we have devoured the wonders of Naples all day, but now the time has come for something substantial and regenerating!
La Art Tavern, on the characteristic ramps of San Giovanni Maggiore, offers typical Neapolitan recipes revisited in a modern perspective, without ever betraying tradition!
The House of Ninetta, in Via Niccolò Tommaseo 11 is a place that preserves the ancient gastronomic memory of Naples. His cuisine tries to combine taste with knowledge. The location suggests a place of culture, as you eat surrounded by books. It is characterized by the proposal of the Neapolitan `` poor cuisine ''.
To eat well and inexpensively you can go to the "O Buvero" local market and Sant'Antonio. The market offers a rich offer of popular restaurants, of which a typical dish is certainly 'o broro' and purpo (octopus broth). Finally, you cannot come to Naples without eating pizza! The Starita pizzeria is one of the most renowned pizzerias in Naples all over the world. About 750 pizzas come out of their wood-burning oven a day! It is located in Via Materdei 27/28.
This short itinerary it is just a taste of the wonders offered by Naples, a real Italian jewel impossible to visit in a few days. You can't help but go back to get deeper and deeper into popular traditions, myths, Neapolitan culture with art and music.
At every trip you always have the certainty of being welcomed with open arms by Neapolitans, friendly people who will make your trip full of joy and colors.