Naples Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Naples

Naples is the 3rd largest city of Italy. It is situated on the shore of the Mediterranean and is a dream city for tourists. Within it there is a hidden city of ancient civilizations. You can visit its underground streets. The architecture of the city is magnificent and contributes to the magical landscape of the city. This orientation walk will lead you to the most ancient and amazingly beautiful sights of Naples.
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Naples Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Naples Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: Italy » Naples (See other walking tours in Naples)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 Km or 3.4 Miles
Author: vickyc
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Duomo di Napoli
  • San Lorenzo Maggiore's Excavations
  • San Domenico Maggiore Square
  • Dante Square
  • Via Toledo
  • Castel Nuovo
  • Teatro di San Carlo
  • Royal Palace
  • Piazza Plebiscito
  • Lungomare di Napoli
  • Fountain of Giant
  • Castel dell'Ovo
Duomo di Napoli

1) Duomo di Napoli (must see)

Duomo di Napoli is the principal church of Naples and the seat of its Archbishop. It is dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary although it is popularly believed to be dedicated to the Patron Saint of Naples, Saint Januarius.

The Duomo stands on the site of two earlier Paleochristian churches that date back to 570 AD and is built in the shape of a Latin cross. The roof is supported by 110 ancient granite columns and the interiors are richly decorated with gold leaf, mosaic and marble. The popular attraction within the church is the chapel of the Treasure of St. Januarius with frescoes and altarpieces by some of the best known religious artists of the time. The Duomo is also famous for the "miracle of the blood". It houses a vial of Saint Januarius' blood that is brought out for public viewing on the first Saturday of May and on the 19th of September annually. If the blood liquefies, it is said to be a sign of good fortune, but if the blood remains dry, it is believed that some disaster will occur in Naples that year.

Why You Should Visit:
To see three basilicas gathered in one; from the French-style gothic to the Spanish-style Baroque and the Paleochristian/Byzantine.
Amazing Italian marble works and pietra-dura mosaics everywhere, and the collection of silver statues and busts of saints is absolutely amazing.

The stairs beneath the altar take you to a crypt with the relics of St. Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples.
They have clean bathrooms inside, but be sure to bring your change to pay the small fee.

Opening Hours:
[Duomo] Mon-Sat: 8am-12:30pm / 4:30-7pm; Sun: 8am-1:30pm / 5-7:30pm
[Museum] Tue-Sat: 9:30am-5pm; Sun, Holidays: 9:30am-2pm
San Lorenzo Maggiore's Excavations

2) San Lorenzo Maggiore's Excavations (must see)

The Excavations of San Lorenzo Maggiore show a complete Roman forum and earlier Greek Agora. They are located under the church of San Lorenzo Maggiore. The site was opened to the public after 25 years of painstaking work by archeologists.

The excavations of San Lorenzo Maggiore have revealed a wealth of details about the city of Naples in classical times. The site of Piazza San Gaetano near the church was once a Greek Agora or marketplace. Later, it became a Forum or Roman marketplace. Excavations have also revealed the great hall and three naves of a sixth century paleo-Christian church. Under the Sala Capitolare of the San Lorenzo Maggiore church are the medieval city halls. The excavated area has been opened to the public since 1992.

The excavations of San Lorenzo Maggiore are the only complete excavations around Naples. They show life in the city through the ages. Only half of the original Roman forum has been excavated and visitors can view it by entering the marked gate near the entrance of the church. One can see a whole ancient street from the 4th century BC complete with workshops, laundries and the public treasury. Most of the objects from the archeological finds are at a nearby museum, housed in a converted four story Palazzo.
San Domenico Maggiore Square

3) San Domenico Maggiore Square

The San Domenico Maggiore Square lies in front of a church of the same name. It is in the historic center of Naples and Spaccanapoli" Street on which it is located was one of the three roads laid by the early Greeks when the city was called Neapolis.

The San Domenico Maggiore Square was laid between the 15th and 19th centuries during the reign of the Aragonese rulers. They made it one of the most important centers of the city. The square is surrounded by many important medieval and structures built by the Spanish rulers.

The San Domenico Maggiore Square has an important monument at its center. It is an obelisk erected by Dominican monks of San Martino after a plague killed a large portion of the population of Naples in 1656. The statue on top is that of San Domenico di Guzman, the founder of the Dominican order. Other notable buildings flanking the square are the Palazzo Petrucci, the oldest surviving building in Naples, the San Domenico Maggiore church and the adjacent abbey, that was the original seat of the university of Naples and the Palazzo Sangro di Sansevero, the residence of the family of the early scientist and innovator, Raimondo di Sangro, Prince of Sansevero.
Dante Square

4) Dante Square

The Piazza Dante or Dante Square in Naples is dominated by the statue of the renaissance poet, Dante Alighieri. It is a centrally located square in the city.

The Piazza Dante was once the site of a large marketplace. At the time, it was called the Largo del Mercatello or Market Square. The square was redesigned and renovated by the architect, Luigi Vanvitelli in 1765. After the modifications, it was called the Foro Carolina after Maria Carolina of Austria, the consort of the then reigning King of Naples, Ferdinand IV. After the unification of Italy in 1871, the statue of Dante Alighieri by sculptor, Tito Angelini was erected here in 1872.

The Piazza Dante today is a popular square for both locals and tourists. It is within easy reach of most of the important monuments in Naples and lies near the new first line of the underground station. There is also a well known food market at the Rione della Pignasecca nearby. The original modifications by Luigi Vanvitelli including a semicircle of highly decorated columns with statues are still located on Piazza Dante and form the western side of a boarding school. It is a popular venue for family activities in Naples.
Via Toledo

5) Via Toledo

Via Toledo is an ancient street in the city of Naples, in Italy. The street is almost 1,2 km long. It starts at Piazza Dante and ends near Piazza del Plebiscito.
The street was created by Spanish viceroy Pedro Álvarez de Toledo, 2nd Marquis of Villafranca in 1536; Don Pedro charge Ferdinando Manlio, an Italian architect, who also built Quartieri Spagnoli. Among, the buildings fronting the street are the Galleria Umberto I, the Teatro Augusteo, and the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Castel Nuovo

6) Castel Nuovo (must see)

The Castel Nuovo is a large medieval castle in Naples that houses two museums. It is a major tourist attraction and a venue for many events in the city.

Commissioned by Charles I of Anjou and built between 1279-82 as the royal residence after the capital of the Kingdom shifted from Palermo to Naples, it became the venue for all important events during the rule of the Angevin dynasty. The Spanish Aragon dynasty that ruled Naples after the Angevins improved the structure and used it both as a royal residence and a military fortress. The marble entrance arch was created by sculptors from Catalonia in Spain to celebrate the beginning of the Aragonese rule of Naples.

The Castel Nuovo has housed the Neapolitan Society of National History from 1875 and the Civic Museum that contains works of art from churches around Naples. It is open for public viewing and managed by the Naples Ministry of Culture. Among the things to see are a display of weapons in the armory hall and the Palatine or Saint Barbara chapel located within the castle. Cultural events and exhibitions are held at the two levels of the southern courtyard and at the Charles V hall and the Salla della Loggia inside the castle.

Why You Should Visit:
The castle is truly breathtaking when observing it from outside. Massive and beautiful, it can really stun – especially if you try to take some photos of it on a sunny day.
There are many historic layers, and you may even get to visit the excavations underground and also take the elevator/stairs to the top, where the city view is extensive.

It's the visit with a guide that gives you what you can't see with the main ticket. If you go, make sure to first buy the ticket for the museum and then the ticket for the tour if you want to make most of your visit (the small extra fee is worth it).

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 8:30am-6:30pm
Teatro di San Carlo

7) Teatro di San Carlo (must see)

The Teatro di San Carlo is the main opera house of the city of Naples. It has been the venue of major productions by well known composers throughout its history.

The Teatro di San Carlo was commissioned by the Bourbon King Charles VII of Naples and designed by the architect, Antonio Medrano. The building had a neoclassical style with gilded interiors and blue upholstered seats. The theater opened in 1737 with the performance of Domenico Sarro's, ‘Achille in Sciro’, based on a play by the poet and playwright, Metastasio. The original structure was damaged by a fire in 1816 and rebuilt within ten months by the architect, Antonio Niccolini under the orders of another Bourbon monarch, King Ferdinand IV.

The Teatro di San Carlo remains the oldest continuously active opera house in Europe. The theater’s museum has exhibits tracing the history of the building and the many great productions that it has hosted. It can seat an audience of 1,470 and its acoustics are regarded as one of the best among opera houses in Italy. It has hosted productions of internationally famous composers like Giuseppe Verdi, Donizetti and Rossini. A guided tour is available in English that takes visitors around the theater and backstage.
Royal Palace

8) Royal Palace (must see)

The Royal Palace is located opposite the Basilica of San Francesco di Paola on the Piazza Plebiscito. It was used as a residence by the Bourbon kings who ruled Naples between 1730 and 1860.

The Royal Palace was commissioned by the Spanish viceroy in Naples, Fernando Ruiz de Castro in 1600 to host Philip III of Spain on a planned visit to Naples. The king, however, never made the visit. The present palace was designed by architect, Domenico Fontana for the Bourbon kings in the 17th century. It was greatly expanded and embellished during the reign of King Ferdinand II. The most recent refurbishment was after the damage caused to the structure during World War II.

The Royal Palace houses the National Library of Naples, several city offices including the tourist office and a small museum today. A magnificent double staircase takes visitors up to the former royal apartments with their lavish furniture and furnishings. The Royal Chapel has a large 18th century Nativity scene that is regarded as the building’s art treasure. The National Library of Naples has an impressive collection of papyrus scrolls found during excavations at Herculaneum and a 5th century Coptic Bible. The western façade of the palace that faces the Piazza Plebiscito has statues of many of the kings from different dynasties that ruled Naples from the twelfth century.
Piazza Plebiscito

9) Piazza Plebiscito (must see)

The Piazza Plebiscito is a square named after the plebiscite that resulted in the 1860 unification of Italy. It is the largest square in Naples.

The Piazza Plebiscito was laid under the orders of Joachim Murat the brother in law of Napoleon who was installed as the King of Naples after the defeat of the bourbon rulers. He ordered the demolition of an ancient abbey and a church to make way for the square. When the Bourbons returned to power after the defeat of Napoleon, Ferdinand I, the reinstated Bourbon ruler completed the unfinished Piazza. Before the plebiscite, it was called the Largo di Palazzo or space in front of the palace. After World War II, it was neglected and became a large parking lot until 1997, when it was restored to its former glory for the G7 summit held in Naples.

The Piazza Plebiscito has a semicircular shape. It has the Royal Palace at one end and the church of San Francesco di Paola on the other. The equestrian statues of the Bourbon kings, Ferdinand I and Charles III are placed in front of the church. Today, the square hosts New Years Eve and other festival celebrations and events like rock concerts. Large installations of contemporary art are also placed here periodically.
Lungomare di Napoli

10) Lungomare di Napoli

When it's time to take a break from hectic Naples, consider taking yourself to Lungomare, a pedestrian seafront promenade, hugging the bay from Mergellina to Via Partenope and offering exquisite panorama of the sea, Mt Vesuvius and Naples Villa Comunale Park. This oasis of green, blue and quiet amid a hyperactive metropolis comes complete with boat rentals, a number of free small beaches, and lots of white rocks to sprawl on and soak up the Naples sun. If you have an appetite for more, there're plenty of kiosks serving cold drinks and snacks, as well as restaurants and cafes offering al fresco seafood and traditional Neapolitan Pizza.
Fountain of Giant

11) Fountain of Giant (must see)

Fountain of Giant also known as Fontana dell'Immacolatella is one of the most beautiful fountains in Naples. It was created by Pietro Bernini and Michelangelo Naccherino in 1601. It stood in different places, in the Largo of the Palace, in the Villa of the Popolo. Now it stands on the Bench of Saint Lucia not far from Castel dell'Ovo. The fountain is made from marble. It is made out of three round arches, the one in the middle being the tallest. Different statues and sculptures of divinities decorate the arches.
Castel dell'Ovo

12) Castel dell'Ovo (must see)

The Castel dell’Ovo or Egg Castle is a seaside castle in Naples, located on the former island of Megaride, now a peninsula, on the Gulf of Naples in Italy. The castle's name comes from a legend about the Roman poet Virgil, who had a reputation in the Middle Ages as a great sorcerer and predictor of the future. In the legend, Virgil put a magical egg into the foundations to support the fortifications. Had this egg been broken, the castle would have been destroyed and a series of disastrous events for Naples would have followed.

The Greeks from Cumae were the first inhabitants of the island and it was from the location of the fortress that they founded what later became the city of Naples. The present structure dates back to the 15th century and was built by the Aragonese rulers. It served both as a royal residence and the state treasury. A small fishing village grew around the Castel dell’Ovo in the 19th century and is well known today for its marina and seafood restaurants.

Why You Should Visit:
The castle's roof is beautifully paved with bricks, making an ideal platform for 360 views of the city, the Mediterranean, and Mount Vesuvius.
The climb on foot is easy, via a wide, very gradually ascending thoroughfare. A few shops and one small art gallery occupy some castle space.
There are myriad points for great scenic photos, and also a public restroom near the top where you can buy drinks/snacks in vending machines.
In summary, if you're up for exploring, don't need gift shops and tour guides, and open to random experiences... it's an enjoyable time.

Try to go towards the end of the day as the sun is setting, and be sure to bring a camera, binoculars, plus water!
The castle is very close to the boat terminal and you can go back to Sorrento by boat if you stay there.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 9:30am-6:30pm; Sun: 9am-2pm

Walking Tours in Naples, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Naples

Create Your Own Walk in Naples

Creating your own self-guided walk in Naples is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Art Galleries and Art Museums Tour

Art Galleries and Art Museums Tour

Italy is well known in the whole world for its outstanding artists. Naples has an especially rich culture and history that you can admire by visiting its museums and galleries. These contain priceless paintings and works of art that are both old and contemporary. This self-guided tour will lead you to the most prominent art exhibitions in Naples:

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
Chiaia District Walking Tour

Chiaia District Walking Tour

Chiaia is deservedly considered to be the most exquisite part of Naples. Refined and exclusive, it hosts world-known brand name stores and is the place where one can always meet a famous personality. Home to once-in-a-lifetime pizzas and amazing seafood restaurants, it also offers gorgeous views of the Bay of Naples and its marina. The famous volcano Vesuvius can be seen from Chiaia too. Villa...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Naples Museums Walking Tour

Naples Museums Walking Tour

Naples is one of the oldest cities in the world and has an incredible past. The city went through a multitude of civilizational changes that have left their mark, something you can see in the city's museums. This self-guided tour will lead you through the museums that will show you what remains of Pompei and Herculaneum, and other great world historical sites:

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Landmarks of Naples Walking Tour

Landmarks of Naples Walking Tour

Naples is one of the most significant and most beautiful cities in Italy. It is known for its old and majestic architecture, monuments, fountains. Some of its landmarks are a thousand years old and are still preserved in their original condition. This self-guided tour will lead you through the most spectacular places of Naples:

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.7 Km or 4.8 Miles
Capodimonte Hill Walking Tour

Capodimonte Hill Walking Tour

Capodimonte Hill is very rich and full of unique attractions. It rises above the lower part of Naples and offers panoramic views of the sea, the islands and the volcanoes. The unique Royal Botanical Garden and the famous Capodimonte Palace are set on this hill. This self-guided tour will lead you through the most popular sites of Capodimonte:

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.0 Km or 2.5 Miles
Historical Churches

Historical Churches

Naples is a city with many religious, historical and architectural sights of great artistic value. The city has numerous magnificent churches. They are especially worth a visit because they have preserved their original structure from ancient times. This self-guided tour will lead you to churches, cathedrals and basilicas with beautiful paintings, architecture and history:

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles