Naples: More Than Just A Tourist Destination – 5 Reasons To Visit

Famous Italian cities such as Rome, Milan, and Venice often overshadow Naples when attracting tourists. This oversight is unfortunate, considering the city’s unique charm that any adventurer wouldn’t want to miss. 

Naples is worth visiting because it gives tourists a truly authentic Italy. The city has the most authentic pizza in the world and a well-developed street art scene. It also offers picturesque ruins of the Ancient Roman Empire and even boasts an ancient “shadow city” beneath it. 

This article will highlight what you should expect to see and do if you visit the Southern Italian city. It will also elaborate on what makes Naples unique and the exciting attractions this city has to offer. Read on to know more.

5 Reasons Why Naples Is Worth Visiting

Southern Italy is famous for having the most picturesque neighborhoods and heavenly food. It also has the warmest people, which seems very fitting to the Mediterranean climate. Naples is a near-perfect embodiment of Southern Italy and everything that makes it great.

1. Naples Has the World’s Best Pizza

If there is anything that Neapolitans are proud of, it’s their pizza. Many believe Naples to be the birthplace of pizza, an iconic “pie” that conquered the world.

Judging by the quality of pizza in Naples, the city holds up to the saying that “nothing beats the original.” Many restaurants worldwide offer Neapolitan-style pizza, but let’s be honest, nothing could be more authentic than a Neapolitan slice from Naples itself. 

Neapolitan pizza is straightforward and is of the thin-crust variety with the following toppings:

  • Clumps of mozzarella
  • Olive oil, basil
  • Raw tomatoes
  • Oregano

If you want to find out how pizza is supposed to look and taste, come and visit Naples. The best pizzerias in the city include:

  • Gorizia 1916 in the Vomero neighborhood
  • Starita in Materdei
  • Fratelli Cafasso in Fuorigrotta

Each of these has its unique spin on pizza so try to check all these places out if you can.

2. Naples Is Unapologetically Italian

Because cities like Rome and Milan have been popular with tourists for decades, people tend to modify these cities to appease tourists to the point that they lose their authenticity. However, you won’t get that in Naples. 

In Neapolitan streets, you see laundry hanging over wires above your head, vendors selling everything in cobblestone alleyways, and many mopeds. 

Spaccanapoli Street lies in the center of Naples, where the sun barely touches the ground. You hear kids cackling as they play traditional Italian street games. The neighbors scream at each other over balconies to get their point across. Can it get more Italian than that?

Don’t worry because the noise is generally homey and tolerable, unlike American theme parks.

Where Naples draws its charm is its stubbornness to bend to the expectations of tourists. In fact, unlike in Rome and Florence, Neapolitans don’t speak English very well, giving you a perfect chance to learn some Italian.

Essentially, Naples doesn’t sell you an idea of Italy, as it gives you Italy for what it is, and it’s up to you if you wish to buy it. 

Check out this walking tour video of Naples from YouTube

3. Naples Has Incredible Street Art

If you support free expression in all forms, you surely will love Naples. Even Banksy, undoubtedly one of the most talked about artists of today, has a street art installment in the city called the Madonna Con La Pistola. Look for it near Piazza Gerolomini.

Another artist, Jorit Agoch, painted his friend as the famous San Gennaro on one of the walls near the city center. San Gennaro is Naples’ patron saint, so this artwork holds significant meaning. 

What’s striking about this artwork is its ability to be hyper-realistic while still being a tribute to the great Renaissance painter Caravaggio. This unique style separates the Neapolitan art scene from the rest of the world. 

While the city allows many innovative artists to play with their brushes as much as possible, street art here generally retains an unmistakably Italian class and sophistication.

Look no further than Naples’ Parco Dei Murales to see what I mean. This area got its name because it houses several street art masterpieces, such as one that depicts a little girl painted by Jorit Agoch. 

Another references the great Maradona, and another is a surreal depiction of two joypads. 

4. Naples Gives You the Best Views of Mt. Vesuvius

The eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and the destruction of Pompeii in 79 AD is arguably the most well-known volcanic event of all time. Going to Naples gives you front-row seats to see the mighty Vesuvius in all its glory and even the ruins of the cities it erased. 

Pompeii is about 30 minutes away if you drive from Naples, while Herculaneum is an even shorter 11 minutes away. Here, you can see artifacts that depict what life was like during Ancient Roman times. 

You can see these fantastic sites:

  • The Amphitheater
  • The Forum
  • The Baths
  • The House of the Faun 

But if you can’t travel that far, there’s also the Parco Archeologico del Pausilypon and the Mura Greche, located in Piazza Bellini. Travel back in time by checking these ruins out and see how the citizens of one of the greatest civilizations in history lived. 

5. You Can Explore Underground Naples

Did you know Naples is host to a secret underground city? This spooky shadow city dates back to the 4th century when the Greeks carved almost 500 km (310 miles) of underground tunnels beneath the city.

The Napoli Sotterranea is a treasure trove of historical remnants, including the following:

  • An ancient Greek-Roman theater from the time of Nero.
  • Evidence of WW2, when people used the tunnels as a bomb shelter.
  • Christan Hypogea
  • Catacombs of San Genarro 
  • Fontanelle Cemetery Graves

The Fontanelle cemetery is particularly spooky and contains the remains of around 40,000 people. A cult sprung up wherein benefactors would clean the skulls and give them names. In return, the souls granted their keeper’s wishes. 

The cemetery is free to visit if you dare, and you may pay your respects to the bones. Who knows, perhaps they will grant you your wish?