9 unmissable Naples landmarks and historical sights

See Naples’ historical and iconic landmarks, from Sansevero Chapel and the ancient Underground to Pompeii.

See history come to life by visiting Italy’s most famous landmarks in Naples. Here you’ll find fascinating art museums, glorious food, and iconic Italian monuments. Discover the history of one of the world’s most famous natural disasters at the ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Scale the volcanic slopes of the mighty Mount Vesuvius and peek into the crater that changed the landscape forever. Or discover hidden gems nestled in the center of the city, from castles to palaces, all in this guide to the best landmarks in Naples.

Historic landmarks in Naples

1. Pompeii

The most famous landmark in Naples, Pompeii is a spectacular archeological site. It was destroyed in the year 79 AD when the nearby volcano of Mount Vesuvius had a devastating eruption, and the city was buried totally intact in the lava. Today, it is one of the best-preserved ancient sites in the world and offers a unique perspective on how the ancient Romans lived.

Best time to go: Arrive before 10:00 AM to beat the crowds and skip the long line that can form, especially in the summer months.

Address and opening hours: Pompeii, 80045 Naples. Open daily, 9:00 AM-7:00 PM.

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2. Herculaneum

Often regarded as Pompeii's sister city, Herculaneum was also destroyed by Vesuvius in 79 AD. Once a bustling port city, many of its structures still stand. Wander between the bathhouse and the forum, seeing the remains of ancient villas and temples, for another glimpse into Roman culture.

Insider tip: Learn all about the tragedy of Herculaneum, which was destroyed more slowly than Pompeii, giving the residents false hope as they attempted to flee, on a guided walking tour.

Address and opening hours: Corso Resina 187, 80056 Ercolano. Open daily, 8:30 AM-6:00 PM.

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3. Underground Naples

Delve deep underground and discover 2,400 years of history in hidden tunnels under the city of Naples. Meader through cisterns at Underground Naples on a walk through time, and see how the tunnels have been used throughout history, from Greek-Roman aqueducts to WWII air-raid shelters.

Highlights: See remnants of history, from hydraulic plaster used to waterproof the tunnels, to furniture and graffiti left behind by those who sought refuge from bombing in the Second World War.

Address and opening hours: Underground Naples, Piazza San Gaetano, 69, 80138 Naples. Open daily, 10:00 AM-6:00 PM.

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4. Ovo Castle

This historic seafront fortress is an interesting Naples landmark and gives you a glimpse into the city’s medieval past. Walk through the ancient walls of Castel dell'Ovo and discover charming halls and panoramic views of the Bay of Naples.

Highlights: Learn more about the castle’s history from the water on a boat ride along the Neapolitan coastline.

Address and opening hours: Ovo Castle, Via Eldorado, 3, 80132 Naples. Open Monday-Saturday 8:00 AM-sunset; Sundays and public holidays, 9:00 AM-1:00 PM.

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Architectural landmarks in Naples

photo by: Giada De Pra

5. The Sansevero Chapel

See Naples' most famous statue, The Veiled Christ, at the Sansevero Chapel — it’s a landmark in itself. A 1753 work by Giuseppe Sanmartino, this life-size marble statue is one of the finest sculptures in the world, with its incredibly delicate interpretation of fragile cloth. It is so stunning that when it was first unveiled, many thought that it must be the work of a sorcerer or an alchemist.

Insider tip: The Sansevero Chapel may be one of the best places to visit in Naples, but since it is also a religious site, you must wear modest clothing and cover your knees and shoulders.

Address and opening hours: Via Francesco de Sanctis 19/21, 80134 Naples. Open Wednesday-Monday, 9:00 AM-6:30 PM. Closed Tuesdays.

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6. Royal Palace of Naples

The Royal Palace of Naples dominates Piazza del Plebiscito with its architectural grandeur. In 1888, King Umberto I of Italy made changes to the western facade facing the square, and you can’t miss the chronological series of statues depicting the Kingdom of Naples’ rulers since it was founded in the 12th century. You’ll get a taste of how Naples’ kings and queens lived inside — the palace’s Grand Staircase, Etichetta Apartment, Throne Room, and Royal Chapel are all magnificent, and there are frescoes and priceless furnishings everywhere. Its gardens are also a work of art.

Insider tip: Go inside the impressive Vittorio Emanuele III National Library. The gardens are a must-see too, but pay an extra few euros to enter the incredible hanging gardens, and — as well as a botanical treat — you’ll get probably the most breathtaking view in the whole city, right across the Bay of Naples.

Address and opening hours: Piazza del Plebiscito 1, 80132 Naples. Open 9:00 AM-8:00 PM daily; hours for some galleries and exhibitions and the roof garden can differ.

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7. Naples Cathedral

Discover hidden treasures at Duomo di Napoli, a large Gothic church and one of the most impressive landmarks in Naples. Standing tall in the middle of the city, Naples Cathedral boasts an elegant façade and is lavishly decorated inside.

Highlights: Don’t miss important works of art, including frescoes and 4th-century mosaics, in the Royal Chapel and Museum of the Treasure of San Gennaro — one of the best museums in Naples.

Address and opening hours: Duomo di Napoli, Via Duomo, 147, 80138 Naples. Open daily, 8:00 AM-7:30 PM.

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Natural landmarks in Naples

8. Mount Vesuvius

When it comes to natural landmarks in Naples, it's hard to beat Mount Vesuvius. One of the most famous volcanoes in the world, it last erupted in 1944. Today it's a hotspot for hikers and adventurers, and you can go right to the edge of the crater to peer inside.

Insider tip: The volcanic slopes of Mt Vesuvius are home to fertile land that is perfect for winemaking. Tasting locally produced wines at Mt Vesuvius is one of the most fun and unique things to do in Naples.

Address: Vesuvius, 80044 Ottaviano, Naples.

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9. Virgiliano Park

Known for its gorgeous views across the Gulf of Naples, this city center park is the most beloved green space in Naples. Enjoy performances in the small amphitheater in the summer months, or simply take in the views. On a clear day, you can see a complete panorama, including the Amalfi Coast, Mount Vesuvius, and Gaiola Bay.

Insider tip: Go for a gentle stroll in Parco Virgiliano for a break from the bustling city streets. Stop at a panini shop along the way and enjoy a picnic in the quiet grounds.

Address and opening hours: Viale Virgilio, 80123 Naples. Open daily, 7:00 AM-11:30 PM.

FAQs for visiting Naples landmarks

What is the oldest historic landmark in Naples?

There are several historic landmarks in Naples that hail back to the Roman era, including the ruined cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

What are some free landmarks to visit in Naples?

Many of the natural landmarks around Naples are free to visit, including coastal sights like the hill-top Parco Virgiliano.

What are the most famous buildings in Naples?

The most famous buildings in Naples include the iconic Duomo and Vittorio Emanuele III National Library, which is part of the old royal palace.

How can I get the best views of scenic landmarks in Naples?

Hop on a boat trip to see the best views of Naples’ landmarks and monuments from the water.

What are some natural landmarks near Naples worth visiting?

The mighty Mount Vesuvius is the best natural landmark in Naples, offering visitors panoramic views of the city, as well as the chance to peek inside the crater.