Thursday 1 September 2022


Naples, or locally known as Napoli, is the capital city of Italy’s Campania region and the third biggest city in the country (next to Rome and Milan). Founded in the first millennium BC by Greek settlers, this Italian city is one of the world’s oldest cities still inhabited today. With that said, it’s no surprise that Naples has a colorful history and boasts a wealth of culture and art that can be seen both outdoors in the streets and indoors in its plethora of museums.

Museum hopping in Naples is a popular activity because of the abundance of world-class museums and galleries found in the city. Whether you want to admire fine art, marvel at ancient artifacts, or learn about the city’s history, there is one that will satisfy your curiosities. 

Below are our top picks of must-see museums in Naples. (Note: Most of the museums on this list prohibit guests from carrying oversized bags inside the galleries. To avoid any inconvenience during your visit, deposit your items at a luggage storage locker beforehand.)

Top Museums to Visit in Naples

Also known as the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, this museum is one of the city’s most popular cultural attractions and often regarded as Italy’s most significant archaeological museum. Located inside a 16th-century palace, the museum houses a collection of Roman, Greek, and Renaissance artifacts and antiquities. 

One of the highlights of the museum is the secret cabinet, where you can find hundreds of relics retrieved and collected from the historic Pompeii ruins. You can buy a ticket to enter the museum on-site or book in advance online to avoid delays and long queues.

Located in the city’s historic center, the Sansevero Chapel Museum is an extremely important art and cultural institution and a must-visit when in the city. Dating back to the 16th century, the museum is home to a number of distinguished sculptures and paintings, most of which are in the Baroque style. Undoubtedly the crowning jewel of the museum’s collection is the Veiled Christ, a striking sculpture created by Baroque artist Giuseppe Sanmartino that is notable for its mysterious light veil shrouding Christ. 

The museum also features over 30 different works of art, an exhibit of bizarre human anatomical models, and a floor labyrinth. Due to its central location, Museo Cappella Sansevero has become one of Naples’ most visited attractions. You can book an entrance ticket to the museum online here.

Housed within the Royal Palace of Capodimonte, a grand Bourbon palazzo, is one of the biggest and most important art museums in the country – the Museo di Capodimonte. The museum was commissioned in 1738 by King Charles VII to house his family’s Farnese art collection as well as some of the most valuable Greek and Roman antiquities in the world. 

Additionally, the Museo di Capodimonte is also home to the National Gallery, which features works from the 13th to 18th century by artists such as Raphael, Caravaggio, and Titian.

The Certosa e Museo di San Martino (National Museum of San Martino) is another popular Naples museum housed in a former Carthusian monastery that has been around since 1368. The museum is best known for its incredible Neapolitan presepi (nativity scene) created with miniature figurines as well as its collection of religious artworks and sculptures created between the 13th and 19th centuries. 

You can also discover other treasures at the museum such as Bourbon kings’ ships, historic maps, ceramics, mosaics, and frescoes. Apart from the many valuable artifacts inside the galleries, the museum is also worth visiting because of its location. While here, you can get the most incredible view of Naples and Mount Vesuvius.

The Galleria Borbonica (Bourbon Tunnel) is an ancient underground pathway originally built to connect the Royal Palace of Naples to army barracks located in Via della Pace. This tunnel constructed in 1853 under the orders of King Ferdinand II. Before that, it housed water tanks used by the city. Although the tunnel was never completed, the tunnel was used as a bomb shelter and military hospital during the Second World War. 

When entering the tunnel, you will find some period relics and debris along with other objects such as vintage motorcycles, cars, and fascist statues. The museum offers a variety of guided tours that you can choose from – from the Standard Tour to something more unique like the Adventure Tour. Galleria Borbonica is truly one of the most interesting sites in Naples and one that you shouldn’t miss when visiting the city. 

If you want to get to know the ancient Neapolitan history a little bit deeper (literally and figuratively), then you must visit the Catacombe di San Gennaro (Catacombs of San Gennaro) while in the city. This underground attraction is home to the tomb of San Gennaro, the city’s patron saint, along with other noteworthy figures such as the first bishops of Naples. 

The catacombs, which date back to the 2nd century A.D, are made out of tufa rock and boast a number of impressive mosaics and frescoes that are illuminated by a modern lighting system. The catacombs are a true sight to behold and one that you must see with your own two eyes.

The Italian city of Naples has a constantly growing contemporary art scene and its largest and most significant venue is the Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina. Also known simply as Museo MADRE, the museum is located in the 19th century Palazzo Donnaregina and opened its doors to the public in 2005. 

At present, the museum displays a massive collection of contemporary art by popular modern artists such as Andy Warhol, Sol LeWitt, Lucio Fontana, Anish Kapoor, and Jeff Koons. One of the highlights of the museum is the Ave Ovo, an installation that represents ancient symbols of the city and created by Neapolitan artist Francesco Clemente. Apart from its permanent collection, Museo MADRE also regularly hosts temporary exhibitions on the building’s third floor.

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