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The most Italian of cities

Conjure up any image of Italy, and you can find it in Naples, arguably the most Italian of cities. Pizza, sunshine, scooters, football, and some of the world’s greatest art, all in the shadow of Vesuvius, mainland Europe’s only active volcano. Settled by the Greeks around 470 BC, the city has had an often troubled past, and the present is not without its troubles either – however, the infamous rubbish problems have been resolved, crime figures are down, and tourism is on the up.

FacciataposterioreReggiadiCapodimonteNaples3IlSistemone / CC BY-SA 3.0



Famous One of Italy's largest and most artistically rich museums

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Antonella Frezzetti

Specialized Archaeologist

A fantastic palace that contains works by the greatest artists from the Renaissance to the Baroque. Don’t miss the small woods around the palace.

One of Italy's largest and most artistically rich museums Editors' Note

When construction began in 1738 on Capodimonte, the palace that now houses one of Italy’s largest and most artistically rich museums, King Carlo III envisaged no more than a hunting lodge.

Seduced by plans for something far grander – and hard-pushed to find space for the vast art collection he had inherited from his mother, Elisabetta Farnese – a monumental three-storey palazzo reale (royal palace) went up in the heart of a magnificent park covering seven sq km (2.5sq miles). Though it would be 100 years before the finishing touches were put to the building, the Farnese collection was moved in by 1759. Over the years the palace was variously a receptacle for the royal collections, the main seat of the court, and a royal summer holiday home. Now it is the venue for internationally renowned exhibitions that draw visitors from all over the world. After it closed in 2005, the acclaimed Caravaggio exhibition transferred from Capodimonte to London.

On the first floor are the Royal Apartments, including Queen Maria Amalia’s boudoir, the magnificent ballroom, the dainty Pompeian drawing room, and a range of French furniture and paintings. The newly refurbished second floor features works made in Naples from the 13th to 19th centuries. The area around the palace is especially busy on sunny Sundays; the rest of the park is strangely deserted. Smaller buildings are dotted about, including the Reale Fabbrica delle Porcellane.

Via Miano, 2 Napoli, 80131 Naples
081 749 9111
Park 8am-1hr before sunset daily. Museum 8.30am-7.30pm Mon, Tue, Thur-Sun (last entry 6.30pm