The birthplace of Neapolitan Pizza, Naples was the capital of the Kingdom of Naples for more than 500 years and played a profound role in the Italian Renaissance. It is renowned for its enormous historic centre, which contains many intriguing medieval and Renaissance landmarks, and has been awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO.
What to see:
The Naples National Archaeological Museum
With thousands of artefacts representing centuries of ancient and medieval history, the Naples National Archaeological Museum is a must-see for anyone keen to learn more about the city's Ancient Greek, Roman and Renaissance heritage. This venue, which was founded in the late 16th century, also houses many objects from nearby Pompeii, and an extensive collection of Ancient Egyptian items.
The Royal Palace of Naples
Once the home of the Bourbon monarchs, the majestic Royal Palace was built in the 17th century and contains impressive statues of all the kings of Naples, from Roger II of Sicily to Vittorio Emanuele II. The palace, which was built when the city was controlled by the Spanish, overlooks the photogenic Piazza Plebiscito, and took around 200 years to complete.
More than 700 years old, the Castel Nuovo is one of the most complete medieval castles in southern Italy and features the elaborate Triumphal Arch, erected in the 15th century. The landmark was actually designed by French architects, and was built on a site that was originally a burial ground in the Roman period.
The Castel dell'Ovo
Another iconic castle, the Castel dell'Ovo is adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea and is the city's oldest fort, although a Roman villa had existed at this site until the early Middle Ages. The current structure, which is known in English as the 'Castle of the Egg' in reference to an egg that was buried here in the Roman era, dates back to the Norman era, and offers outstanding panoramic views of the city.
Where to find some of Naples' best pizzas
The world's oldest pizza, the Neapolitan is normally cooked in just 90 seconds, and is only made with the freshest, local ingredients, which typically include tomato, mozzarella, olive oil and basil. You can enjoy some fabulous, authentic pizzas at La Campagnola – Pizzeria & Trattoria, La Masardona, Pizzeria Napoli In Bocca, or Pizzeria Starita a Materdei.
For other delightful Italian dishes, you can head to the Pescheria lo squalo, treat yourself to other wonderful Mediterranean recipes at the Friggitoria Mediterranea, or visit the Culture Japanese restaurant for some top-notch sushi.
One of the most luxurious Naples Hotels is the Grand Hotel Vesuvio, which offers superb sea views, while the Grand Hotel Oriente, the Decumani Hotel de Charme and the Hotel Excelsior are other highly regarded deluxe venues. For excellent value for money, you could choose the chic Mercure Napoli Angioino Centro, the elegant BEST WESTERN Hotel Paradiso, or the cosy ApartHotel Plebiscito.
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