Vacationing in Naples this summer will give you a whole new way to explore Italy’s rich and well preserved cultural history that is equaled by no other city in Europe. It may not be easy to find such a place in modern-day Europe that offers various authentic Italian cuisines by hundreds of restaurants that dot its narrow streets.

Most of these restaurants are found within the Old Town and you will be served the best pizza that you have ever had from anywhere else. Remember, this is the birthplace of pizza, wouldn’t it be so thrilling to taste it from a place known as its origin? Sure it would be fantastic. Forget the self-styled pizzerias in your hometown, but these are the pizza masters!

Naples is the birthplace of the famous Pizza Margherita

Naples has a very rich cultural and religious background that encompasses more than 20 centuries under the rule of the great Roman empire. This is evident in the unique roman ancient architecture that defines its old-style public buildings.

And if you are planning an expanded Italian vacation, let’s say, to visit other cities like Pompeii, Vesuvius, Naples Bay island, Herculaneum, etc, then Naples should be your ultimate starting point. Its strategic location will make it easy for you to hop from one town or island to the other with less spending.

Naples has a lot in store for you to explore the medieval era tucked away from the bubbling life in other modern European cities. At one time, Naples was the second most prominent city in Europe after Rome. Much of its cultural heritage has been well-preserved for generations even when other nearby cities were badly affected by constant wars.

Visit the Main Cathedral where the dried blood of the city’s revered patron saint, Gennaro is kept. It is said that the blood liquefies several times annually and in case this doesn’t happen, it can be a sign of the city’s bad fate yet to happen. Religious celebrations are carried out for this occasion and you shouldn’t miss one this summer.

That’s not all, in the city’s northern part, you can visit the large mausoleums of San Gennaro and these are said to be more than 1800 years old. Furthermore, you should explore more about Naples’ traditions by visiting street side shops that sell presepe (Christian cribs) and adjacent to them is the Gothic church of San Lorenzo Maggiore which is a designated UNESCO heritage site and where the 14th-century writer Boccaccio met his muse Fiametta.

San Lorenzo Maggiore , Naples
San Lorenzo Maggiore , Naples

For you to truly appreciate Naples’ historical preservation, plan to visit the majestic medieval age fortresses that are lined on Naples’ narrow streets. On the same streets, you will find prehistoric churches and underground tracks which are unique in cultural design and style. Altogether, these make Naples a European charming cultural center.

Naples is also home to cult churches that have very many dedicated shrines to the dead in their basements. This is where followers of a religious cult of the chance and death gather to pray and worship. One of the churches is the Santa Maria delle Anime del Purgatorio. The cult has thrived despite relentless Vatican bans.

The 4th Century Santa Restituta Church, Naples
The 4th Century Santa Restituta Church, Naples

If you want to explore further, there’s also the Cappella Sansevero made by an 18th-century prince who was famous in experimenting with the bodies of the dead people in the building’s basement. If you aren’t a faint-hearted, you can also have a look at the preserved capillaries and organs from both a man and a woman.

Nearby, you can explore Mt. Vesuvius, go on shopping in the adjacent Toledo’s main streets, you can also reach out to the crowded Quartieri Spagnoli which is perhaps one of the most vibrant places within the city. Toledo is on a vantage point to help you explore Vomero hill where you can have a pleasant walk through its uniquely narrow streets.

For photographers, climbing up the San Martino monastery terrace will help you to get some fantastic views of the bay and the nearby islands such as Procida and Ischia. But if you want to go down and explore the bay and its suburbs, then you will have to use catamarans and hydrofoils to get you there quickly. The slightly lesser-known islands of Ischia and tiny Procida on the other side of the Bay are equally accessible – and delightful.

You will also love the Neapolitan food that has its origins dated many centuries ago. For example, Pasta which is served with some tomato sauce mixed with garlic, the mouth-watering pizza, and spaghetti, all have their origins in the wonderful city of Naples. You shouldn’t be limited to restaurants as Neapolitan street food is also very delicious, like deep-fried rice balls, fried courgette flowers, and mussels with hot peppers are all delicious native cuisines of Naples.

Apart from all this, there’s a lot more to explore beyond the exterior. Much of Naples’ cultural history is well-preserved thanks to the less number of visitors the city attracts. This provides you with an opportunity to see first-hand the antiquities and unique architecture of Naples. So try it this summer, it will probably be more exciting when you visit with your family!