Between history and beauty: a stroll through the historic centre of Naples

The historic centre of Naples is a maze of interwoven streets that jealously preserve the city's history. Here, culture and beauty come together in a fascinating mix of lights, smells and sounds. Through its winding streets and lively squares, you are immersed in a past rich in tradition, a testimony to a bygone era that the city still echoes today.

© canadastock / Shutterstock

Piazza del Plebiscito (Plebiscite Square) and Palazzo Reale di Napoli (Royal Palace of Naples)

Piazza del Plebiscito (Plebiscite Square)

Plebiscite Square

- © Rudy Balasko / Shutterstock

Our journey through this part of the city begins in Piazza del Plebiscito. This majestic square is home to the Basilica of San Francesco di Paola, an imposing neoclassical building inspired by the Pantheon in Rome. The square is surrounded by the Royal Palace and the San Carlo Theatre, making it an ideal starting point for exploring the rest of the historic centre.

The Royal Palace (Palazzo Reale di Napoli)

The Royal Palace (Palazzo Reale) seen from Piazza del Plebiscito.

- © Jordi de Rueda / 123RF

The Royal Palace of Naples, so imposing on the outside, is even more impressive on the inside. Climb the Scalone d'Onore (Staircase of Honour), described as one of the most beautiful ever designed, and you'll reach the historic flat, with dozens of rooms including the throne room and the royal chapel. Outside the palace, a number of gardens enhance it, including the Cortile del Belvedere and the Roof Garden, from which you can admire the Gulf of Naples.

The Royal Palace (Royal Palace)

- © robertonencini / Shutterstock

Practical information

📍 Address

Royal Palace of Naples (Palazzo Reale), Piazza del Plebiscito 1, 80132 Naples

⏰ Opening times

9am to 7pm

👛 Admission

Full price: €10 Reduced price: €2Free for minors (under 18)

For more information, click here

Ticket for the Royal Palace - Naples Naples

Ticket for the Royal Palace - Naples

Admission + Pemcards to the Royal Palace of Naples
£16.20 / person

Spaccanapoli and the Cathedral

Spaccanapoli is a street that winds its way through the historic centre, dividing the city in two and clearly visible from the Belvedere of San Martino, one of the city's most picturesque landmarks. Walking along this street, you can breathe in the authentic atmosphere of Naples, between the typical craft shops, the historic buildings and the wonders of the city.

Aerial view of Spaccanapoli.

- © Gandolfo Cannatella / Shutterstock

Church of the New Jesus (Chiesa di Gesù Nuovo)

On this itinerary, you will cross the Piazza del Gesù and then visit theChurch of the Gesù Nuovo before continuing towards the Piazza San Domenico Maggiore to visit the Veiled Christ in the Sansevero Chapel.

Church of the New Jesus (Chiesa di Gesù Nuovo)

- © Mitzo / Shutterstock

Naples Cathedral (Duomo)

Naples Cathedral (duomo di Santa Maria Assunta ou cattedrale di San Gennaro, en italien).

- © Mitzobs / 123RF

The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, also known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption in Naples, is known to all as the Duomo of Naples. It was built in the late Middle Ages to house the city's archdiocese. It was not long before the relics of St January, also known as San Gennaro, the patron saint of the Neapolitans for centuries, were placed here. The Neapolitans were convinced that their saint had protected them from the great plague of 1497.

The Basilica of Santa Restituta adjoining the cathedral.

- © Isogood / 123RF

For these reasons, the cathedral is also known as the Cathedral of San Gennaro, or Saint Januarius in Latin.

This place of extraordinary religious architecture houses the famous Treasure of San Gennaro, which includes masterpieces of great value: paintings, gold objects, jewels, precious textiles and all the gifts of kings and queens. Among these is the fabulous mitre shown below.

Spaccanapoli extends as far as Via Duomo, where the Duomo di Napoli (Cathedral of Naples) stands out, housing the treasure of San Gennaro, the city's patron saint. Its imposing façade and richly decorated interior bear witness to the wealth of Naples and the city's close links with religion and popular beliefs.

The altar of the Duomo, Naples cathedral.

- © Isogood_patrick / Shutterstock

Naples Underground

The underground passages of Naples

- © PETRUK VIKTOR / Shutterstock

For the more courageous, Naples offers a journey into its bowels with a visit to Napoli Sotterranea, the Underground Naples, a truly unique experience to discover the city's ancient past. During the tour, you can explore tunnels, caves and shafts dating back to Greco-Roman times and discover how they have been used over the centuries.

Where to stay in the historic centre of Naples?

Hotel Piazza Bellini - Naples Naples

Hotel Piazza Bellini - Naples

A central hotel for those wishing to visit the historic centre of Naples.
8.8 Superb
by Faustine PEREZ
Need a hand? take a look at our guide
Latest news
Mahdia, Tunisia's little-known wonder
Road trip on the most beautiful roads in the Ardèche
Southern Alps
The Southern Alps as a family
The Ardèche vineyards
The Ardèche train
Read more articles
Best cities