Naples is a unique and fascinating city, rich in history, culture and traditions. Moving between its streets is like entering an open-air museum, where art and beauty are everywhere. Starting from Piazza del Plebiscito, the heart of the city, you can easily reach many of the most iconic places in Naples. In this article, we will explore some of the most interesting points to visit for a pleasant day in the capital of Campania.
Naples is an ancient city, founded by the ancient Greeks in the seventh century BC. Throughout its history, the city has been controlled by numerous kingdoms, empires and governments, including Romans, Byzantines, Normans and Spaniards. This varied history has left its imprint on the city, as evidenced by the numerous architectures and monuments of Naples. The name ‘Naples’ has ancient origins and was given to the city by the Greeks, who founded it in the seventh century BC. According to legend, the name ‘Naples’ comes from the Greek ‘Neapolis’, meaning ‘new city’. However, there are also other theories about the meaning of the name: one theory suggests that the name “Naples” derives from the Greek term “nauplia”, which means “port”, another theory suggests that the name “Naples” derives from the Etruscan term “Napla”, which means “place of water sources”. In any case, the name “Napoli” has been used for centuries to describe the city and its history, and continues to be one of the most iconic and recognisable names in the world.
The first highlight to visit is the Castel dell'Ovo, which is located a short distance from the Piazza del Plebiscito. The castle dates back to the 12th century and is built on an artificial island of tuff. According to legend, the name of the castle comes from the fact that a magic egg was hidden in the castle's foundations to protect it. The Castel dell'Ovo offers a panoramic view of the city and the Gulf of Naples, and is the ideal place to take photographs.
The second highlight to visit is the Maschio Angioino, A mediaeval castle located in the historic centre of Naples. Built in 1279, the Maschio Angioino was the centre of the political and administrative power of Naples for centuries. Today, the castle hosts temporary exhibitions and cultural events, and it is possible to visit its ancient halls and towers.
The third highlight to visit is the National Archeological Museum of Naples, which houses one of the largest collections of art and archeological finds in the world. The museum boasts an extensive collection of Greek and Roman works, including the famous statues of Farnese, as well as numerous treasures of Pompeian civilisation, including mosaics, frescos and art objects.
The fourth highlight to visit is the Sansevero Chapel, an 18th-century Baroque church located in the historic centre of Naples. The church houses numerous works of art, including the famous sculpture of the Veiled Christ, a wonderful work of art that seems to be wrapped in a transparent veil.
The fifth highlight to visit is the Piazza del Gesù, one of the oldest and most fascinating squares in Naples. The square houses the Church of the New Jesus, a magnificent example of Renaissance and Baroque architecture, and the Palazzo Pignatelli in Monteleone, a splendid aristocratic residence of the eighteenth century.
In addition to the surface wonders, one of the most fascinating attractions of Naples is certainly the underground necropolis that with a thousand-year history has given rise to a series of tunnels, tunnels, cisterns and caves that extend below the surface of the city. This underground world has been used for centuries as a shelter, building materials quarry, water cistern and even as a burial place. The origins of underground Naples date back to the times of the Greeks and Romans, who created tunnels and tanks to collect rainwater. Over the following centuries, the tunnels were expanded and used as shelters during wars, as caves to extract stone, and as burial places for plague victims. Today, the underground Naples has been recovered and opened to the public, and represents a unique experience that offers a striking view of the history and culture of the city. There are many guided tours that allow you to explore this underworld, which spans over 80 km. One of the most famous places to visit in the underground Naples is the Fontanelle cemetery, an ancient tuff quarry that was transformed into a burial place during the plague of the seventeenth century. Here, visitors can observe the thousands of skeletons that have been found over the years, and learn more about the history of the place through expert guides. Other interesting places to visit in the underground Naples include the cisterns of the Roman aqueduct, the tunnels used as shelters during World War II, and caves used as alchemy laboratories. Ultimately, ‘Underground Naples’ is a unique attraction that represents an opportunity to discover the hidden history of the city and to have an alternative view of Naples.
In conclusion, Naples is a city that never disappoints, and visiting it starting from Piazza del Plebiscito is an excellent starting point.