Naples is raw, a place of panoramas and soul-stirring art, unexpected elegance and spontaneous conversations. Welcome to the most unlikely masterpiece in Italy. The wealth of cultural assets in Naples is extraordinary. You will find ancient ruins, three castles and royal palaces. Some friends of mine who own an Edmonton wedding DJ company absolutely loved their time in Naples and couldn’t say enough good things about it. Thanks to their input and some of my own research, I’ve put together the top attractions in Naples, Italy.
Museo Archeologico Nazionale
You will find some of the finest collections of Graeco-Roman artifacts in this national archaeological museum. It was a cavalry barracks originally and later seat of Naples University. This museum was established in the late eighteenth-century by Charles VII, the Bourbon king to house antiquities inherited from his mother and treasures looted from Herculaneum and Pompeii. Highlights include the celebrated Farnese Bull (Toro Farnese) sculpture and breathtaking mosaics from Casa del Fauno. The ground-floor features a collection of colossal Roman and Greek sculptures. The rest of the ground floor is devoted largely to fascinating discoveries from Cuma, Stabiae, Boscoreale, Herculaneum, and Pompeii.
Museo di Capodimonte
Designed originally as a hunting lodge for King Charles VII of Bourbon, the construction of this monumental place started in 1738 and took over a century to finish. It is now home to this art gallery which is the richest and largest in southern Italy. Its vast collection ranges from 12th-century altarpieces to works by Warhol, Titian, Caravaggio, and Botticelli. The gallery has 160 rooms spread over 3 floors. The 1st floor features works by greats such as Titian, Raphael, and Michelangelo, with highlights including Parmigianino’s Antea, Bellini’s Transfiguration, and Masaccio’s Crucifixion.
It is in this Masonic-inspired chapel you will find Giuseppe Sanmartino’s magnificent sculpture, Veiled Christ (Cristo velato). Its marble veil is so realistic that it is very tempting to lift it and view Christ beneath. It is one of the many artistic wonders that include the colorful frescoes by Francesco Russo, Antonio Corradini’s Pudicizia, and Francesco Queirolo’s Disinganno sculpture.
Certosa e Museo di San Martino
The high point of the baroque of Neapolitan, this charterhouse-turned-museum was between 1325 and 1368 built as a Carthusian monastery. Centered on one of Italy’s most beautiful cloisters, it has been altered, adorned and decorated over the years by some of the finest talent in Italy, most notably Cozimo Fanzago, a baroque sculptor and Giovanni Antonio Dosio, an architect. Today, it is an excellent repository of Italian and Neapolitan artistry. The monastery’s church as well as the chapter house, treasury and sacristy that flank it contain several paintings and frescoes by some of the greatest 17th-century artists of Naples, among them Massimo Stanzione, Guido Reni, Jusepe de Ribera, and Battista Caracciolo.
Catacombe di San Gennaro
The most sacred and oldest catacombs in Naples became a pilgrimage site when the body of San Gennaro was in the 5th century interred here. This carefully restored site lets visitors to experience an evocative world of broad vestibules, corridors and tombs. Its treasures include 5th-century mosaics, 2nd-century Christian frescoes, and the oldest portrait of San Gennaro.