Founded by the Greeks between the 7th and 6th centuries BC, Naples was originally named Neapolis, meaning "new city". Neapolis fell to the Samnites in 421 B.C and the Romans in 326 B.C. In AD 79, Mt. Vesuvius erupted, destroying the Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Naples’ historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site, with 448 churches.
Things to do
To make the most of your trip to Naples, visits to Pompeii and Herculaneum are a must. You can take a guided tour of the haunting ruins of these once-thriving civilisations that also includes a visit to the Antiquarium of Boscoreale, a collection of exhibits from Pompeii and the area’s other architectural sights.
Those who don’t mind a good hike can venture to the top of Mt. Vesuvius, where a dusty and rocky pathway takes you to a summit crater with amazing views of Naples.
You can relax on the beach in Naples, or spend the night partying in one of the seaside nightclubs.
Love history? Visit the Naples National Archaeological Museum, which has a great collection of Green and Roman antiques, including erotic art from Pompeii. Discover the Catacombs of San Gennaro, a two-storey underground tomb.
The Royal Palace of Naples was ruled by the Bourbon Kings during the Kingdom of Two Sicilies, and it’s an extremely luxurious palace with a double staircase and frescoes on the ceilings and walls.
For a night at the opera in very fancy surroundings, see a show at the San Carlo Theatre! Europe’s oldest opera house, this horseshoe-shaped theatre has a luxurious red and gold interior.
And there are plenty more attractive churches and buildings in Naples, like Castel Nuovo and Saint Chiara. You’ll definitely want to stay a while!
Shopping and dining
Shopping in Napoli varies from the street markets so common in Italy to designer boutiques, clothing and independent stores. For a little grandeur to go with your shopping experience, wander into the Galleria Umberto. A shopping arcade with towering walls and a domed glass ceiling, it’s a refreshingly spacious place for a coffee or a look-around.
Pizza was invented in Naples, so it’s no surprise that this city has plenty of delightful pizza joints as well as other staples of Naples like pasta, gelati and strong coffee. You can also take your pick from fresh seafood, friend street food and delicious Italian cuisine paired with wine.
Ready to roll? Then take a look at our cheap flights to Naples and book some of our Naples city centre accommodation. With its stunning variety and beauty both natural and artistic, Naples is a destination you won’t forget.Image credit Dr. Conati under Creative Commons