Things to do in Naples

Itineraries for Your Trip to Naples

Naples locals share their perfect days.
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3 Days in Naples for First Timers

Curated by Gianmaria Franchinia travel writer who learned Italian—his first language—while growing up in Naples.

Although I was born in the United States into an Italian-American family, I spent my early childhood growing up in Naples. I return to my second home often and am reminded of its intoxicating energy and brash charisma. Naples very much has a mind of its own.

Each time I also explore more, farther into the Spanish quarters, past the Sanità neighborhood, and up toward the cliffs overlooking the glorious bay. See Naples and die, goes the Italian proverb, meaning, dramatically, that the city holds enough beauty for a life well-lived. In other words, there’s hardly a dull corner in this southern Italian dynamo. To help you see the best of Naples, and thrive, here’s my itinerary for first-time visitors.

Naples is temperate but warm; during summer and early fall it’s nearly always beach weather.

If you only have time for one thing, make it seeing the Veiled Christ sculpture in the Cappella Sansevero Chapel.

Day 1

A trip to Naples should start with coffee at Gran Caffè Gambrinus, near the Royal Palace and Piazza del Plebiscito. Today, walking is the name of the game: Head up the fashionable Via Toledo past the Spanish quarters and deeper into the historic center, sampling street-food along the way.

In the afternoon, check out churches, piazzas, and artisan shops along Via San Gregorio Armeno. Don’t miss seeing the Veiled Christ sculpture in the Cappella Sansevero Chapel. Then, explore ancient aqueducts and World War II–era air raid shelters underground. Dinner is pizza at L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele on Via Cesare Sersale.

Day 2

Naples is home to some of Italy’s finest museums, showcasing everything from archeology to contemporary art. Start your day at the National Archeological Museum, located near the Piazza Cavour and Museo metro stops. A private tour helps ensure you don’t miss anything from the famous Farnese collections or the artifacts from Pompeii.

After lunch at Pizzeria Concettina ai Tre Santi nearby, take the C63 bus to the Capodimonte Museum. Explore the palatial galleries, and don’t miss The Flagellation of Christ—one of three known Caravaggio paintings in Naples. Come evening, catch an opera or concert at the San Carlo Theater.

Day 3

On your final day, head to Pompeii, the vast archeological site with ruins of an ancient Roman city you can freely explore. Pompeii can be reached on the Circumvesuviana commuter rail from Naples’ central train station and is best explored with guides, who are sometimes archeologists themselves.

Alternatively, charming cliffside towns and magical beaches await on the Amalfi Coast. This region also is reachable via public transportation but without any direct routes. Group tours or private drivers can make your visit more efficient—or you could visit both Pompeii and the famous coast on an epic day trip.

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