The headliner in Naples is its historic center (centro storico), which you can visit on foot by strolling the length of Via dei Tribunali and Spaccanapoli, as well as their many cross streets. This is where the famed Sansevero Chapel (Cappella Sansevero) is located, home to the astounding Veiled Christ statue (Cristo Velato) by Giuseppe Sanmartino.
You can also access Naples Underground (Napoli Sotterranea) and the Galleria Borbonica from the historic center, an ancient warren of tunnels that run under the modern city and house a number of Greek and Roman archaeological treasures. Be sure to visit the baroque Duomo, Naples' main cathedral dedicated to the city's patron saint of San Gennaro (and where the legendary ampoule of the saint's blood and the breathtaking Tesoro di San Gennaro are located), as well as the Monastery of Santa Chiara and its beautiful majolica-tiled cloister, and the churches of Gesù Nuovo and San Domenico. In Piazza del Plebiscito, you can tour the Royal Palace (Palazzo Reale) and the San Carlo Opera House (Teatro San Carlo). You'll also want to take a walks down Via San Gregorio Armeno, the picturesque lane lined by artisan workshops that make traditional Neapolitan nativity scenes. Art lovers should pop into the 17th-century Pio Monte della Misericordia to admire works by Caravaggio.
Take the funicular to the Vomero hilltop, where the Charterhouse of San Martino (home to the 19th-century National Museum of San Martino) and Castel Sant'Elmo loom above the city, both full of important works of art and offering sweeping views across the city and bay.
Make time to walk along the waterfront promenade of Via Caracciolo between Castel dell'Ovo and the Maschio Angioino (or Castel Nuovo) to admire the views and rub elbows with locals.
The city's top museums include the National Archaeological Museum (Museo Archeologico Nazionale), home of the Farnese collection, archaeological artifacts and frescoes unearthed in Pompeii, and an impressive Egyptian collection; the Capodimonte Museum with fine collection of paintings, and Madre, dedicated to contemporary art.
The entire region of Campania in southern Italy is rich in historic and cultural sights to discover, first among them the Roman ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, both buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius (Monte Vesuvio) in 79 DC. North of Naples, the magnificent Caserta Palace (Reggia di Caserta), built by King Charles of Spain, and its sweeping English gardens are one of the highlights of the region. To the south, the Sorrentine Peninsula and resort town of Sorrento are worth a day trip, as is Positano and the Amalfi Coast. From the Molo Beverello pier in the center of Naples, you can catch one of the hydrofoils to the islands of Capri, Ischia, and Procida to explore the jewels of the Bay of Naples. You can also explore the coastal area north of Naples around Pozzuoli, home to the volcanic Phlegraean Fields.
The most convenient area of the city to stay if you want to concentrate your time in the historic center is Via Toledo. There are a number of B&Bs and hotels in the Quartieri Spagnoli, around Piazza Dante, and tucked along the side streets of the old town. These are all central bases that allow you to take in the city's highlights on foot. The Chiaia neighborhood is also an excellent option, with its chic boutiques and vibrant nightlife. The historic Grand Dame hotels with views across the Bay of Naples are all set along the water's edge in Mergellina and the Posillipo neighborhood.
Where to stay in Naples, Italy