© Antonio Sortino / Culture Trip

The Insider Guide

Few cities have a sense of identity as strong as Naples, standing proudly on the shores of Southern Italy. It was a cultural hub back in Roman times and remains so today, with chaotic streets full of street art, scooters and an unrivalled food scene. So grab a slice from the home of pizza and take in the singular energy of Napoli.

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The Main Attractions

For an authentic Neapolitan experience you have to take to the streets. There’s a story on every corner – whether it’s a mural of Diego Maradona or a church housing works by Caravaggio. The Centro Storico, a Unesco World Heritage Site, is a good place to start. Stroll down the bustling Spaccanapoli – a narrow street that bisects the city – where you’ll find artisanal shops and street vendors, while architectural wonders such as the Cappella Sansevero and Duomo di Napoli are just around the corner. As night falls the bars and restaurants reveal what every Neapolitan knows, that life after dark is even more exciting. As well as pizza, the city is famous for coffee, ice cream and pasta, not to mention a population that loves to party. Head down to the shore and you’ll find two castles overlooking the Bay of Naples. The oldest fortification in the city, Castel dell'Ovo, is named after the magical egg that supposedly gives the castle its structural fortitude. Down the road is its younger, medieval brother, Castel Nuovo, an equally impressive feat of engineering – albeit one that lacks in the mythical egg department. Looking out over Naples is Mount Vesuvius, and if you can’t make the extraordinary trip to Pompeii and Herculaneum – the two ancient cities it destroyed almost 2,000 years ago – the National Archaeological Museum has artefacts from both. If you’re looking for a more relaxing excursion head to Sorrento or the island of Capri, at the southern tip of the Bay of Naples, for a real dolce vita experience.

Neighborhoods in Naples