Top Historic Sights in Naples, Italy

Explore the historic highlights of Naples

National Archaeological Museum

The National Archaeological Museum of Naples is an important Italian archaeological museum, particularly for ancient Roman remains. Its collection includes works from Greek, Roman and Renaissance times, and especially Roman artifacts from nearby Pompeii, Stabiae and Herculaneum. The building was built as a cavalry barracks in 1585. From 1616 to 1777 it was the seat of the University of Naples. During the 19th ...
Founded: 1777 | Location: Naples, Italy

Teatro di San Carlo

The Real Teatro di San Carlo (Royal Theatre of Saint Charles) is located adjacent to the central Piazza del Plebiscito, and connected to the Royal Palace. It is the oldest continuously active venue for public opera in the world, opening in 1737, decades before both the Milan"s La Scala and Venice"s La Fenice theatres. The construction was ordered by Bourbon King Charles III of Naples. Given its size, ...
Founded: 1737 | Location: Naples, Italy

Royal Palace of Naples

Royal Palace of Naples was one of the four residences near Naples used by the Bourbon Kings during their rule of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1734-1860): the others were the palaces of Caserta, Capodimonte overlooking Naples, and the third Portici, on the slopes of Vesuvius. Construction on the present building was begun in the 17th century by the architect Domenico Fontana. Intended to house the King Phil ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Naples, Italy

Castel Sant'Elmo

Castel Sant"Elmo is a medieval fortress located on a hilltop near the Certosa di San Martino, overlooking Naples. Documents date a structure at the site from 1275, from the era of Charles d"Anjou. Known originally as Belforte, it was likely a fortified residence, surrounded by walls, its entrance gate marked by two turrets. In 1329, using designs by the Sienese architect Tino da Camaino, king Robert of N ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Naples, Italy

San Gregorio Armeno

San Gregorio Armeno ('St. Gregory of Armenia') is a church and a monastery in Naples. It is one of the most important Baroque complexes in Naples. In the 8th century, the iconoclast decrees in Greece caused a number of religious orders to flee the Byzantine empire and seek refuge elsewhere. San Gregorio Armeno in Naples was built in the 10th century over the remains of a Roman temple dedicated to Ceres, ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Naples, Italy

Macellum of Naples

The Macellum of Naples was the macellum or market building of the Roman city of Neapolis, now known as Naples. Due to the rise of the ground level the macellum is now located beneath the church of San Lorenzo Maggiore. The first construction dates to 5th or 4th century BC when the area was the location of the agora during the Greek period. When Neapolis became a Roman possession it was eventually transformed int ...
Founded: 400-500 BCE | Location: Naples, Italy

Sant'Agnello Maggiore Church

According to tradition, Agnello of Naples, now co-patron (compatrono) of the city of Naples, is buried in the Sant"Agnello Maggiore. Agnello was a 6th-century Neapolitan bishop, who defended the city against the besieging Lombards. Supposedly the church had been founded and devoted to the Virgin, by Agnello"s parents. Recent studies have shown that the church was built atop an Ancient Roman Acropolis from the ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Naples, Italy

Naples Cathedral

The present Naples cathedral was commissioned by King Charles I of Anjou. Construction continued during the reign of his successor, Charles II (1285-1309) and was completed in the early 14th century under Robert of Anjou. It was built on the foundations of two palaeo-Christian basilicas, whose traces can still be clearly seen. Underneath the building excavations have revealed Greek and Roman artifacts. The Archbish ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Naples, Italy

Cappella Sansevero

The Cappella Sansevero contains works of art by some of the leading Italian artists of the 18th century. Its origin dates to 1590 when John Francesco di Sangro, Duke of Torremaggiore, after recovering from a serious illness, had a private chapel built in what were then the gardens of the nearby Sansevero family residence, the Palazzo Sansevero. The building was converted into a family burial chapel by Alessandro di Sa ...
Founded: 1590 | Location: Naples, Italy

Castel Nuovo

The building of the Castel Nuovo began in 1279 under the reign of Charles I of Anjou, on the basis of a plan by the French architect Pierre de Chaule. The strategic position of the new castle gave it the characteristics not only of a royal residence, but also those of a fortress. From the very beginning it was called Castrum Novum to distinguish it from the older castles dell"Ovo and Capuano. During the reign of R ...
Founded: 1279 | Location: Naples, Italy

San Francesco di Paola

San Francesco di Paola church is located at the west side of Piazza del Plebiscito, the city"s main square. In the early 19th century, King Joachim Murat of Naples (Napoleon"s brother-in-law) planned the entire square and the large building with the colonnades as a tribute to the emperor. When Napoleon was finally dispatched, the Bourbons were restored to the throne of Naples. Ferdinand I continued the cons ...
Founded: 1816 | Location: Naples, Italy

Santa Chiara

Santa Chiara is a religious complex that includes the Church of Santa Chiara, a monastery, tombs and an archeological museum.  Architecture The double monastic complex was built in 1313–1340 by Queen Sancha of Majorca and her husband King Robert of Naples, who is also buried in the complex. The original church was in traditional Provençal-Gothic style, but was decorated in the 17th century in Baroque style by ...
Founded: 1313-1340 | Location: Naples, Italy

San Domenico Maggiore

San Domenico Maggiore is a Gothic church and monastery, founded by the friars of the Dominican Order. The church incorporates a smaller, original church built on this site in the 10th century, San Michele Arcangelo a Morfisa. Charles II of Naples began the rebuilding that produced the gothic structure that comprises the present church. The work was done between 1283 and 1324, but the church has undergone modificat ...
Founded: 1283-1324 | Location: Naples, Italy

Castel dell'Ovo

Castel dell"Ovo (Egg Castle) is located on the former island of Megaride, now a peninsula, on the Gulf of Naples. 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 wou ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Naples, Italy

Certosa di San Martino

The Certosa di San Martino is a former monastery complex and now a museum. Along with Castel Sant"Elmo that stands beside it, this is the most visible landmark of the city, perched atop the Vomero hill that commands the gulf. A Carthusian monastery, it was finished and inaugurated under the rule of Queen Joan I in 1368. It was dedicated to St. Martin of Tours. During the first half of the 16th century it wa ...
Founded: 1368 | Location: Naples, Italy

Museo di Capodimonte

Museo di Capodimonte is an art museum located in the Palace of Capodimonte, a grand Bourbon palazzo in Naples. The museum is the prime repository of Neapolitan painting and decorative art, with several important works from other Italian schools of painting, and some important ancient Roman sculptures. It is one of the largest museums in Italy. The vast collection at the museum traces its origins back to 1738 ...
Founded: 1738 | Location: Naples, Italy

San Giovanni Maggiore Basilica

A church at the site of current San Giovanni Maggiore Basilica was likely erected sometime in the 4th century. There are a number of founding legends for the church. One is that emperor Constantine Ifounded the church in gratitude for the rescue of his daughter Costanza from a shipwreck. It may have been built or introduced into a pre-existing pagan temple dedicated to the cult of Hercules or Hadrian. One of the stones ...
Founded: 1656 | Location: Naples, Italy

Santa Caterina a Formiello

Santa Caterina a Formiello is located at the extreme eastern end of the old historic center of the city, on Via Carbonara and Piazza Enrico de Nicola. Construction of the church began about 1510, designed by the Florentine Antonio della Cava, and completed in 1593. The church was one of the first domes in Naples, and was dedicated to the virgin and martyred Saint of Alexandria. It was attached to an ancient convent ori ...
Founded: 1510 | Location: Naples, Italy

Santi Apostoli Church

Santi Apostoli is a Baroque-style church in Naples. Legend holds that a church at the site was built atop a Temple of Mercury by Emperor Constantine. Restored by the Caracciolo Family, it was ceded in 1570 to the Theatine Order. By 1590, the adjacent cloister and monastery was designed by Francesco Grimaldi. In the early 17th century was reconstructed by Giacomo Conforti. In 1638, the work was continued by Bartol ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Naples, Italy

Villa Floridiana

The Villa Floridiana dates from 1816 when Ferdinand I of the House of Bourbon, King of the Two Sicilies, acquired the property. Between 1817 and 1819 the architect Antonio Niccolini reconstructed the building and the surrounding gardens. The director of the Botanical Gardens, Friedrich Dehnhardt, planted oaks, pines, palms, cypresses and a large selection of flowers in the gardens. The King then donated the prope ...
Founded: 1816 | Location: Naples, Italy

Virgil's tomb

Virgil"s tomb is a Roman burial vault in Naples, said to be the tomb of the poet Virgil (70-19 BCE). It is located at the entrance to the old Roman tunnel known as the grotta vecchia or cripta napoletana in the Piedigrotta district of the city, between Mergellina and Fuorigrotta. It is a small structure, with a small dome of rocks located at the top of the park.
Founded: 19 BCE | Location: Naples, Italy

Catacombs of San Gennaro

The Catacombs of San Gennaro are underground paleo-Christian burial and worship sites in Naples, Italy, carved out of tuff, a porous stone. They are situated in the northern part of the city, on the slope leading up to Capodimonte, consisting of two levels, San Gennaro Superiore, and San Gennaro Inferiore. Originally, there were three separate cemeteries, dedicated, to Saint Gaudiosus (San Gaudioso), Saint Seve ...
Founded: 3rd-4th century AD | Location: Naples, Italy

Posillipo Archaeological Park

The archaeological park is one of the most beautiful places in the city and along the coast of Posillipo. Among the most important sites are the Seiano cave, the underwater park of Gaiola, the imperial villa of Pausilypon, the Odeon, the theatre and the Palace of the Spirits. The ruins of the Roman villa of Vedius Pollio, also known as the Imperial Villa, include a 2000-seat theatre on the rocky promontary at the end of ...
Founded: 1st century BCE | Location: Naples, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Stavanger Cathedral

Stavanger Cathedral is Norway's oldest cathedral. Bishop Reinald, who may have come from Winchester, is said to have started construction of the Cathedral around 1100. It was finished around 1150, and the city of Stavanger counts 1125 as its year of foundation. The Cathedral was consecrated to Swithin as its patron saint. Saint Swithun was an early Bishop of Winchester and subsequently patron saint of Winchester Cathedral. Stavanger was ravaged by fire in 1272, and the Cathedral suffered heavy damage. It was rebuilt under bishop Arne, and the Romanesque Cathedral was enlarged in the Gothic style.

In 1682, king Christian V decided to move Stavanger's episcopal seat to Kristiansand. However, on Stavanger's 800th anniversary in 1925, king Haakon VII instated Jacob Christian Petersen as Stavanger's first bishop in nearly 250 years.During a renovation in the 1860s, the Cathedral's exterior and interior was considerably altered. The stone walls were plastered, and the Cathedral lost much of its medieval looks. A major restoration led by Gerhard Fischer in 1939-1964 partly reversed those changes. The latest major restoration of the Cathedral was conducted in 1999. Andrew Lawrenceson Smith is famous for his works here.