Naples is Italy in all its splendour. Vespas, laundry hanging from the windows, little neighbourhood markets filled with people shouting… One weekend in Naples is all it takes for you to fall in love with Italy.
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.
For a city break in Naples off the beaten track, let the tourists flock to Capri or climb Vesuvius, and walk in the city’s Spanish quarter. Discover the local life, its narrow streets, its hullabaloo, its smells… This is the daily theatre of everyday life, people chatting from one window to another; a shopping basket hoisted up by a cord; young people on their Vespas, weaving in and out of the vehicles, clutching the handlebars with one hand, their phone in the other. Observe, gaze… After the Spanish quarter, continue to Spaccanapoli (Old Naples).
Move between the market stalls. Step inside the churches. Enter the little shops. Think about starting this walk early in the morning to watch the city come to life. Your weekend in Naples will be unforgettable.
Typical food and gastronomy
Did you know that pizzas and pasta cooked al dente were not Italian, but Neapolitan? Make the most of your city break in Naples to (re)discover these delicious specialities! For example, try the Vesuvio soufflée pizza, then be tempted by a sfogliatella, a ricotta and raisin pastry! Other delicious products come from Naples, such as real buffalo mozzarella, espresso and limoncello. Send your taste buds on a journey!
Where can I find the best restaurants in Naples?
Avoid the Bay of Naples and the restaurants where the waiters will stop you in the street. To experience the foodie side of Naples, make a beeline for Pizzeria Da Michele, with its excellent reputation, ideal for a cheap weekend in Naples. This restaurant is little known by tourists, but very popular with Neapolitans.
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.
What is the Best time of the year to visit Naples?
You’re best planning your weekend in Naples for springtime, even if the weather is somewhat rainy. In summer, the city is oppressive and crowded.
Things to see in Naples
Do you want to discover the temperament of the true Italy? The city of Vesuvius is right for you! Don’t hesitate to plan a short stay in Naples, to discover a colourful working-class city with a serious cultural life, just a stone’s throw from Pompeii!
Roman and medieval heritage
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.
Anything is possible! Trains, bus, tramways, ferries to the islands… If you extend your trip to Naples, stop off at Pompeii, reachable by several trains and buses. Do you want total immersion? Opt for a scooter and take to the lively, working-class streets of the city like a true Italian!