If you are wondering what to see in Naples in 1 day, this is the article you were looking for. Naples is a major destination in the Italian tourist scene but often visitors appear disoriented, due to the little information they can find. This is why today I want to recommend you 5 unmissable places to see in Naples in 1 day.
It’s impossible to pretend visiting the whole city just in one day. This is why you can choose some iconic places based on your own interests and on the available time. The important thing is you to stop in Naples because too often people land in Naples by plane and then move somewhere else along the coast and to the beautiful islands of the gulf.
Top things to see in Naples in 1 day
Here is my personal list of some places to see in Naples in 1 day. These are some of my favorite spots where I love spending time and where I use to take friends who visit me in the city.
Castel dell’Ovo, with its strategic position in the Gulf of Naples, is my favorite in the city. It is the oldest castle, whose foundation dates back to the Norman era on the ruins of a previous building dated around the first century BC. According to many historians, it would coincide with the ancient Villa of Lucullus. However, there are many myths and legends that hover around Castel dell’Ovo, starting from its location. It rises, in fact, on the islet of Megaride, where tradition traces the foundation of Naples by the siren Parthenope in the eighth century BC.
The second legend concerns the reference to the egg present in its name. It is said that the poet Virgil had hidden an egg in its basement, to keep the structure intact. If the egg had broken, the castle would have collapsed and Naples would have been hit by endless misfortunes. What will be the truth ?!
Royal Palace of Naples
The Royal Palace of Naples, overlooking Piazza del Plebiscito, is part of a larger museum complex which also includes the San Carlo’s Theater and the National Library. Commissioned in 1600 by Viceroy Fernando di Castro as residence of the King of Spain, the Palace was designed by architect Domenico Fontana and underwent numerous restoration interventions. From an architectural point of view, everyone is struck by the monumental entrance staircase, made of piperno with walls covered in pink marble, alternating with Carrara marble bas-reliefs with ornaments and figures.
At the top of the large staircase, there is the gallery overlooking the Courtyard, where you can visit the royal apartments. Above all, the King’s Apartment with the Throne Room and the Court Theater, often used as an alternative to the close San Carlo’s Theater.
Church of the Capuzzelle
The Church of the Capuzzelle in via dei Tribunali is one of the most authentic places in the historic center of Naples. Built on two levels and consecrated in 1638, in this church was born the cult of the pezzentelle souls. As it was a cult of pagan origin, it was not officially recognized by the Catholic Church. The capuzzelle – human skeletons of unknown origin – were placed in the lower level of the church and were considered to be special intermediaries for people’s prayers. Visiting this church will leave you feeling with a mystical sensation.
Among the many skulls preserved here, the skull of Lucia is of particular importance because women asked her for fertility. Additionally, the winding underground path were used as air raid shelters during the Second World War. In some areas it is even possible to find small altars made with kitchen tiles, brought underground by the Neapolitans who found refuge here in order to recreate a familiar-looking environment.
Not everyone knows that another Naples exists under the current pavement. A city under the city. There are several access points to these underground environments used as shelters to protect people from bombing during the war, but the entrance of this Naples Underground that I recommend to experience is the one in Piazza San Gaetano, in the heart of the historic center of Naples. Once inside, you descend to over 40 meters of depth and you’ll be in an intricate labyrinth of tunnels, cisterns and cavities.
These large cavities, used as cisterns to collect rainwater, first were excavated by the Greeks to extract the tuff needed to build the city. Then, the Romans built a real aqueduct for the supply of drinking water through a network of tunnels connected to cisterns. To descend into these wells were the so-called “pozzari”, which allowed families to access water reserves.
The Naples Underground’s tour ends in a typical Neapolitan bass that hides a big secret: it is the ancient Greek-Roman theater, tracable between the fourth century BC and the second century AD, also known as Nero’s theater.
San Gregorio Armeno
San Gregorio Armeno is one of the most famous streets in Naples, also known as the place where “it’s always Christmas” and it’s among the top things to see in Naples in 1 day. In this narrow street between the Decumano Maggiore (via dei Tribunali) and the Decumano Inferiore (via San Biagio dei Librai), there are countless shops dedicated to the art of nativity scenes. Here you can find statues made with terracotta depicting nativity characters but also others that portray celebrities and politicians such as Donald Trump, Berlusconi, Sofia Loren, the Pope, football players and others. If you need some details to decorate or maybe to build your crib, this is the place for you.