While travelling through Italy in the eighteenth-century, the great German poet Goethe exclaimed ‘Naples is paradise’. Although much has changed since then, the city remains one of the many delights Italy offers tourists. Capital of the Campania region and the largest city in Southern Italy with a vibrant population of roughly 1 million, Naples is renowned for its rich cultural, artistic and gastronomic heritage.

The city’s pedigree derives from its long history, stretching back to its foundation by the Greeks under the name Neapolis in the 7th century BC. The foreign influence remained a prominent part of the city’s development with, amongst others, the Byzantines, the Normans and the Revolutionary French all at one time in control before, finally, the Risorgimento drove the latter faction out and incorporated Naples into the united Italy in the late nineteenth-century.

Despite this history of outside influences, Naples retains a strong regional feeling and pride, speaking the Neapolitan dialect in contrast to the more typical Tuscan-inspired Italian of the North. The city has also exported many famous (and even infamous) individuals from the humanist philosopher Giambattista Vico through to Al Capone and the footballer Fabio Cannavaro.

A bustling city, Naples offers something for everyone, be it shopping, eating out, sport or even high culture.


Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995, culture is the watchword of Naples. However, one of the most obvious places to visit, Mount Vesuvius, is situated just outside the city near the coast of the Bay of Naples. However, public transportation is excellent, with a commuter railway the Circumvesuviana offering rapid and inexpensive service to nearby Pompeii.

Within the city itself, important cultural areas of note include religious buildings, most notably the San Gregorio Armeno, and castles such as the Castel dell’Ovo and the Castel Nuovo. The city is also blessed with a number of museums and galleries, the most famous being the Museo Archeollogico Nazionale Napoli (containing Roman artefacts from Pompeii and Herculaneum as well as the marvellous Farnese Marbles) and the Museo Nazionale di Capodimente respectively (possessing a hugely impressive range of works by Old Masters like Botticelli, Caravaggio, Raphael and Michelangelo).

For those who prefer a gentle stroll in the park, La Villa Communale has been recently refurbished and stretches along the seafront, while the Piazza del Plebiscito contains the fabulous Basilica of San Francesco di Paola.

Like the rest of Italy, Naples is football mad. Although declared bankrupt in 2004, the local club, SSC Napoli, have recently been promoted to Serie B and at one time counted Diego Maradona among their ranks during a brief trophy-laden period. Tickets are easily acquired from the stadium.


Traditional shops can be found in the Quartieri Spagnoli, offering a diverse range of goods including examples of Capodimonte porcelain and gouaches. For more traditional high street fashion, including the big name Italian brands, the Riviera di Chiaia area should be tracked down, being particularly good for male fashion.

With Naples’ history of cheese-making and salami, the many markets littered across the city provide local produce, including the famous Neapolitan salami and the scamorze, burrata and, of course, mozzarella di bufala cheeses.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Finding somewhere to eat is no problem in Naples. Befitting its status and history as an active port, Naples naturally emphasises seafood but you’ll still find all your typical Italian dishes on offer and a wealth of choice in local dishes.

Being the home of pizza, the many pizzerias pride themselves on making la vera pizza (true pizza), with two of the best establishments being Da Michele on the Via Cesare Sersale, and Trianon a Forcelle on the Via P. Colletta.

If that’s not enough, Naples is famous for its wide range of local pastries such as bab� , choux and Sfogliatella, all of which are either filled with cream or mascarpone cheese. Ice cream is another specialty, and a gelateria is never hard to find.

For nightlife, you’ll find the Piazza Bellini the best place for late night bars and cafés and the old city centre generally hosts plenty of clubs (best accessed by the Via San Gregorio Armeno). However, with a university campus in the city, clubs are strewn across Naples, particularly in the Piazza del Martiri and the Piazza San Pasquale.

Should you want something different, Naples has a number of wine bars like the Enoteca Belledonne, ensuring there’s something available for everyone.

Tourist Information

E.P.T. (Ente Provinciale per il Turismo)Piazza dei Martiri, 58Tel: +39 081


Naples International Airport is just 7km from the old city centre and is well served by bus and rail services. The airport itself is growing and there are many international flights available. Easyjet operate from Stansted to NIA, while British Airways and BMI also provide flights from Gatwick and Heathrow respectively. Multiple flights returning to the UK are available daily through all three airlines.

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