Naples Museums Walking Tour (Self Guided), Naples

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:
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Naples Museums Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Naples Museums Walking Tour
Guide Location: Italy » Naples (See other walking tours in Naples)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Author: vickyc
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • National Archaeological Museum
  • Treasure of Saint Gennaro Museum
  • San Lorenzo Maggiore's Excavations
  • Museo Cappella Sansevero
  • Zoological Museum
National Archaeological Museum

1) National Archaeological Museum (must see)

The Naples National Archeological Museum has one of the best collections of classical Greek and Roman art in the world. Most of the exhibits are from excavations around Naples, Pompei, and Herculaneum.

The Naples National Archeological Museum occupies a building that was constructed to house the cavalry barracks of the Spanish army. Between 1616 and 1777, it was the seat of the University of Naples. The building became the Royal Bourbon Museum in 1816. It housed exhibits and artwork collected by the Royal family, a library and archeological objects. The library and art gallery were relocated to other buildings in 1957. The present museum is solely dedicated to exhibiting objects from archeological excavations.

Collections at the Naples National Archeological Museum include mosaics from portions of walls and floors of buildings in Pompei, Herculaneum and Stabiae, frescoes from Pompei some of which are the finest examples of classical Roman art, a collection of 200,000 coins and medals, paintings from the temple of Isis in Pompei and the third largest collection of Egyptian artifacts in Italy. The Secret Cabinet within the museum is a room created to display Roman erotic art that is open only to visitors above the age of eleven years.

Why You Should Visit:
Once you have toured the ruins of Pompei or the Herculaneum, you need to come to this museum to see the items that were recovered from those sites, especially the mosaics.
Inversely, you could start your tour of Pompei right at the museum where artifacts are catalogued. After seeing the museum items, the visit to the ruins would possibly be more meaningful.

Opening Hours:
Wed-Mon: 9am–7:30pm
Free admission: Every first Sunday of the month (Oct-Mar); Mar 6-10 (“Museums’ Week”); Mar 21; May 12, 19,26; Aug 11, 18, 25
Treasure of Saint Gennaro Museum

2) Treasure of Saint Gennaro Museum

The Treasure of Saint Gennaro Museum displays the wealth of offerings made by popes, aristocrats and the common people to the patron saint of Naples, St. Januarius. It is located within the grounds of the principal cathedral of the city.

The Treasure of Saint Gennaro Museum was opened to the public in 2004. At first, the idea of setting up the museum met with resistance from the local people who felt that displaying the treasure for all to see was irreverent to their patron saint. Its planning took eight years and after another seven years the entire collection was displayed.

The Treasure of Saint Gennaro Museum has over 25 display cases with artifacts made of bronze, silver and gold. Each is a work of art, showing the brilliant craftsmanship of Neapolitan sculptors and metalworkers. The earliest object on display is from the 1300s. Most of the exhibits were crafted in the 1600s and the most recent one is from the early 1900s. There are bronze busts of the saint, crucifixes, religious objects made of silver, including chalices, candelabras, plates and other liturgical exhibits, a two foot tall miter, covered with emeralds and rubies, and the necklace of Saint Gennaro, hung with crosses containing sapphires and rubies. Audio guides are included in the price of the entrance ticket for the benefit of international visitors.
San Lorenzo Maggiore's Excavations

3) 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.
Museo Cappella Sansevero

4) Museo Cappella Sansevero (must see)

The Museo Cappella Sansevero has works by leading 18th-century artists and a unique anatomical exhibit. It was once the funerary chapel of the Sansevero family and lies within the grounds of their residence.

The Cappella Sansevero was built in 1590 by John Francesco di Sangro, Duke of Torremaggiore in gratitude for recovering from a serious illness. It was converted in 1613 as the family burial chapel by Alessandro di Sangro. Prince Raimondo di Sangro of Sansevero remodeled the funerary chapel in the 18th century to house his collection of art and unique objects. Until 1888, his residence and the chapel were connected by a passage. He was also an inventor and alchemist. Many of the works in the museum are made with a marble-like substance created by him.

The Museo Cappella Sansevero has over 30 valuable pieces of art. The ceiling fresco called Glory of Paradise was painted by Francesco Maria Russo. The marble-like substance was used to create the Cristo Velato or veiled Christ and the Pudicizia depicting a veiled woman on the tomb of Raimondo’s mother by Giuseppe Sanmartino. The Madonna con Bambino, a painting in the basement by artist Giuseppe Pesce is worked using specially created wax paints invented by Raimondo. The popular exhibits are two human skeletons located in the crypt of the chapel. One is of a male and another of a pregnant female with perfectly preserved circulatory systems.

Why You Should Visit:
The "Veiled Christ" is by far one of the most unusual sculptures of Jesus you'll ever see, but there are even more interesting pieces found downstairs.

Be prepared to queue as this is understandably a very popular attraction; however, very well worth the wait to see some amazing sculptures.
Be focused on what you want to see as the visits are restricted to 30 minutes, which is not long! And don't forget to book a time slot prior.

Opening Hours:
Wed-Fri, Sun, Mon: 9am–7pm; Sat: 9am–8:30pm (May-Dec)
Last entry 30 mins before closing time
Zoological Museum

5) Zoological Museum

The Zoological Museum is a teaching and research facility attached the University of Naples. It has some unique natural history exhibits on display.

The Zoological Museum of Naples was founded by Gioacchino Napoleone Murat, Napoleon’s brother in law and King of Naples between 1808 and 1815. The museum opened its doors in 1811 with Luigi Petagna as its first curator. It housed the natural history collections of the Royal House of Bourbon and the private collection of eminent physician, Giuseppe Saverio Poli. The building housing the museum was severely damaged during World War II. It was restored under the capable guidance of curator, Mario Salfi, between 1948 and 1970.

The donation of the collection of natural history exhibits by physicist and natural historian Giuseppe Saverio Poli greatly enriched the displays at the Zoological Museum. The collection includes rare species of southern European butterflies, fresh water and marine mollusks and marine organisms and sponges unique to the Mediterranean Sea. Other exhibits are from the royal collection with over 3,000 embalmed birds, a collection of vertebrates including the skeleton of a 20 meter long whale found on the beach of Naples, mummified crocodiles from Egypt and the skeleton of an elephant. Guides are available at the museum for the convenience of international visitors.

Hours: Mon - Fri 09.00 - 13.30 also Mon and Thurs 14.30 - 16.30

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.
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
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
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
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
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
Naples Introduction Walking Tour

Naples Introduction Walking Tour

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...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 Km or 3.4 Miles