One of Italy’s greatest cities, Naples is brimming with culture, cuisine and plenty of character. From vast medieval castles to delicious margherita pizza, city breaks in Naples are a treat for the eyes and the taste buds.
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With a history reaching back through the Roman period, Naples is an excellent place to go if you’re looking to explore Italy’s rich past. Unlike other historical cities, here you’ll find ancient monuments teetering beside ultra-hip new shops and cafés. Two of the grandest landmarks in Naples are the water-facing Castel dell'Ovo at Porto Santa Lucia and the enormous Castel Nuovo, also known as Maschio Angioino. This medieval castle offers spectacular views of the city and features an elaborate triumphal arch and a museum, Museo Civico, detailing the history of the castle and the city through frescoes and sculptures.
If you’re interested in learning about Naples’ classical lineage you’re in for a treat at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale – home to a world-class collection of ancient Greek and Roman artefacts. To really get a feel for the ancient past, the nearby Ruins of Herculaneum are a must-see. Here you’ll find the remains of a fishing town that was destroyed in 79AD following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Also worth checking out is the Parco Archeologico di Baia, a Roman palace complex that features a number of preserved mosaics and an outdoor theatre.
Naples is home to a staggering number of beautiful buildings, many of which are late medieval and Renaissance churches. You should definitely take a bit of time out of your schedule to see a few of these magnificent structures. The 13th-century Complesso Monumentale di San Lorenzo Maggiore is a monastery complex where you’ll find Gagliardo Primario’s Gothic Basilica di Santa Chiara and cloisters adorned with colourful frescoes. Naples’ Duomo is an unforgettable sight, similarly full of brilliant frescoes. For Baroque architecture head to elaborate Cappella Sansevero, home to Giuseppe Sanmartino's stunning veiled Christ statue. Also worth visiting is Certosa e Museo di San Martino, a fine example of the Neapolitan Baroque.
No visit to Naples is complete without sampling the most famous local speciality, Neapolitan Pizza Margherita. You could argue for days about the best places to get the best pizza in Naples, but Pizzeria Brandi is a strong contender to the throne – the restaurant claims it was the birthplace of Pizza Margherita. Seafood is another staple of Neapolitan cuisine, and there are likewise many fantastic restaurants dotted along the coast. That said Da Giona is a good place for seafood with breathtaking beachside views. Another local favourite for food and drink is Caffè Gambrinus, a favourite haunt of everyone from Oscar Wilde to Mussolini.