5 Must-See Museums in Naples and How to Visit
Naples is a city of contrasts, with gritty working-class neighborhoods sitting shoulder to shoulder with some of the most lavish art and archaeological museums in Italy. Ancient mosaics and baroque masterpieces alike call this city home and form part of the captivating fabric of Naples. Here are our top museum picks.
National Archaeological Museum
For Greek and Roman artifacts.
Home to one of the finest collections of Greek and Roman artifacts in the world, the National Archaeological Museum is a treasure trove of more than 3,000 ancient bronzes, mosaics, and papyri recovered at Pompeii and Herculaneum. The massive palace also holds the Egyptian Collection and the Farnese Collection of classical gems, semiprecious stones, and sculpture.
How to Visit: A hugely popular attractions in Naples, the museum often has a crowd at the entrance; book a museum tour with skip-the-line tickets to avoid a long wait.
For paintings and classical sculptures.
Art aficionados won’t want to miss the collection of masterpieces from the Neapolitan and other Italian schools in the Capodimonte Palace galleries, including exquisite works by Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, and others. In addition to more than 100 paintings and classical sculptures in the National Gallery, the complex includes the royal apartment’s collection of furniture and decorative arts and a beautiful surrounding park.
How to Visit: As one of the largest museums in Italy, Capodimonte is best-visited with a guided tour to take in the collections’ highlights without being overwhelmed.
Certosa di San Martino
For Neapolitan art and history.
Dominating Naples from above, this historic monastery atop Vomero Hill is now home to an excellent museum dedicated to Neapolitan art and history between the 15th and 19th century, including the popular art of the Nativity scene. The setting is dazzling, as are the heady views over the city and bay.
How to Visit: There is a lot of ground to cover here, so opt to visit with a guide to fully appreciate the wealth of art and history.
Civic Museum of Castel Nuovo
For a stroll through a castle.
Also known as the Maschio Angioino, this fortress was built in stages between the 13th and 15th century, and visitors today can tour the castle’s historic halls and the Civic Museum, housed inside the castle. Enjoy the collection of 14th- and 15th-century frescoes and sculptures, as well as paintings by Neapolitan artists from the 17th to the 20th century.
How to Visit: Combine a visit of Castel Nuovo with a private or small-group walking tour of Naples’ historic center, which begins just outside the castle gate.
For Naples' royal history.
An impressive reminder of Naples’ royal history, the 17th-century palace was designed by Renaissance architect Domenico Fontana. Visitors enter via the regal double staircase to visit the sumptuous royal apartments, Court Theater, Throne Room, Hall of Hercules ballroom, and Royal Chapel.
How to Visit:The Royal Palace is a highlight of Naples, and booking admission tickets in advance is a must to avoid long lines at the entrance. You can easily pair a stop at the Royal Palace with a tour of the nearby San Carlo Theater and Piazza del Plebiscito.