Naples' Royal Palace (Palazzo Reale) sits in the heart of the city on the elegant Piazza del Plebiscito, and is one of four royal residences used by the Bourbons during their reign, together with the Capodimonte Palace, the Royal Palace of Caserta, and the Royal Palace of Portici. The Palazzo Reale in Naples was the most central of the royal residences and was where the royal family could most often be found during the Bourbon reign from 1734 to 1861. Today, visitors can admire the royal apartments, court theater, library, and gardens overlooking the Bay of Naples.
Location: Piazza del Plebiscito
Hours: 9AM to 8PM
Closed: Wednesday, 25 December, 1 January
Tickets: EUR 8; free for children under 18
Visiting Naples' Royal Palace
The main entrance to the Royal Palace can be accessed via Piazza del Plebiscito, the main square in Naples. The exteriors of the palace are rather plain, with just eight statues representing the rulers of Naples decorating the facade. The interiors, however, dazzle, beginning with the monumental staircase at the entrance designed by the architect Genovesi that leads to the court theater, and continuing through the Throne Room and the Royal Apartments. About 30 rooms and halls are open to the public, all ornately decorated by the prominent artists of the Bourbon reign.
After taking in the interiors, visitors can stroll through the Royal Gardens, scattered with statuary and crosscrossed with paths that offer breathtaking views over the Bay of Naples and Mt. Vesuvius.
The National Library (Biblioteca Nazionale)
The city's national library occupies one wing of the palace, one of the most important in Italy and home to 2 million books and manuscripts, including works by San Tommaso d’Acquino, Giambattista Vico, Torquato Tasso, and Giacomo Leopardi. Papyrus scrolls uncovered at the Herculaneum archaeological ruins are also conserved in the library.
Entrance to the Biblioteca Nazionale is free.
The San Carlo Opera House (Teatro San Carlo)
Naples' historic Teatro San Carlo was once part of the Royal Palace, and there was a separate entrance leading to the Royal Box. Today, visitors can take in the opulent interiors of this landmark theater even without having to book tickets to a performance.
Guided tours are offered daily, unless rehearsals for a performance are being held.
Italian tours daily at 10:30, 12:30, 2:30, and 4:30
English tours daily at 11:30 and 3:30
French tours on Saturdays at 5PM
Tickets: EUR 9
Reservations for tours should be made by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
Getting to the Royal Palace
Naples' Palazzo Reale is located on Piazza del Plebiscito in the heart of Naples.
The closest metro stop is Municipio on line 1. The palace is an easy walk from the port; the city's main train station located on Piazza Garibaldi is about a 30-minute walk away.
Dining Near the Royal Palace
Be sure to stop either before or after visiting the Royal Palace for an authentic espresso at Caffè Gambrinus, Naples' landmark coffee house located on the square. Founded in 1860, the café has its original Art Decò interiors and works by D’Annunzio and Marinetti. Near the entrance is a large moka espresso pot used to hold register receipts for a “caffè sospeso”, or an espresso paid for in advance and "left hanging" for clients who may not be able to treat themselves to an espresso themselves.
If you are a looking for a more filling repast, head to the historic Pizzeria Brandi where the city's iconic Pizza Margherita was invented. The pizzeria is located along Via Chiaia and also makes traditional Neapolitan dishes in addition to classic pizza. Brandi takes reservations, unlike many other eateries across the city.
To sample classic regional dishes in an informal atmosphere, we suggest Trattoria San Ferdinando on nearby Via Nardones. If you instead head to the bustling Quartieri Spagnoli neighborhood, stop at Trattoria Antica Capri on Via Speranzella, famous for their pasta e fagioli made with fresh seafood.