Explore off the beaten path with Naples's best hidden gems

Forget the Duomo and palazzos for the day and learn what locals loves about Naples. Discover wartime bunkers and volcanic wine with these 10 hidden gems.

Move aside Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii: there’s more to Naples than ancient history. Discover secret places that are ideal for romantic dates, or go exploring to find the best spots to eat Neapolitan food off the beaten path. See a whole new side of Naples with these unique excursions and locally-loved gems.

You'll uncover the city's secret underground history and learn how an Argentinian soccer star surprisingly unified the Neapolitan people. Find out about intriguing, forgotten chapters of history with a trip to the National Libraries or learn grisly secrets at the Torture Museum. Whatever you choose, these 10 hidden gems will help to make your itinerary stand out.

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1. Go underground to see another side of the city

What's the easiest way to discover a different side of Naples? Going underground, of course. The city boasts an enormous network of subterranean tunnels, with a surprise waiting around every corner. You'll find WWII bunkers, ancient churches, and medieval passageways.

Highlights:

Take a guided tour to learn more about underground Naples. Watch out for the WWII-era motorcycles and cars abandoned in the tunnels after the fall of fascism.

Address and opening times:

Vico del Grottone 4, 80132 Naples. Open Friday-Sunday 10:00 AM-5:00 PM.

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2. Find out why Neapolitans love Diego Maradona

Diego Maradona, the Argentinian soccer legend, is a controversial figure. However, he is universally revered in Naples, with dozens of enormous murals celebrating his life and career in the Spanish Quarter. There's even a bar with a Church of Maradona shrine dedicated to the late player.

Highlights:

Take a street art tour of the Spanish Quarter, and marvel at the Maradona murals. Your guide will explain how the soccer player transformed the city in the 1980s and became a Neapolitan hero.

Address:

Via Emanuele de Deo 46, 80132 Naples.

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3. Discover the bravery of Neapolitan women at the Historical Libraries

There are three beautiful libraries in Naples' Historical Libraries complex. You might be happy to wander through and admire the gorgeous architecture and impressive books, but it's better to go with a guide. Learn about how the women of Naples defended their libraries during WWII, hiding cherished books to stop the fascists from burning them.

Highlights:

This walking tour is a great way to learn about an intriguing chapter of Neapolitan history.

Address and opening times:

Piazza del Plebiscito 1, 80132 Naples. Open Monday-Friday 8:30 AM-7:00 PM.

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4. Take a lip-smacking tour of the best local food

You'll eat well wherever you go in Italy, but for the best food, you'll have to ask a local. Take a gourmet tour of the best hidden gems in town and enjoy wonderful local snacks that go beyond Neapolitan pizza.

Highlights:

There's something to tempt everyone's palate, but for a real taste of Italy, try a sweet sfogliatella (lobster tail) pastry.

Meeting point:

Piazza Dante 52-25, 80135 Naples. Start time: 6:00 PM.

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5. Drink wine on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius

Vesuvius may be the most famous volcano in the world, but few people realize that its volcanic soil is rich, fertile, and perfect for growing grapes. Lacryma Christi, which is produced here, is said to be the closest you'll get to the wine enjoyed by the ancient Romans.

Highlights:

Make room for lunch. A wine tasting tour includes a delicious meal of the best local dishes, washed down with plenty of rich Neapolitan wine.

Meeting point:

Via Panoramica 6, 80042 Boscotrecase. Start time: 11:30 AM.

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6. Uncover the city's secrets with an expert local guide

If you want to go beyond the big monuments, then it's always best to find a local. Take a special private tour to discover the real Naples. Along the way, you'll learn stories and legends and maybe even find out where the best pizza is served.

Highlights:

On this 3.5-hour private tour, you'll see the city through a native Neapolitan's eyes. There's also a special treat waiting at one of Naples' best eateries.

Meeting point:

Piazza Trieste e Trento, 80132 Naples. Start times vary.

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7. Learn the secrets behind authentic pizza

While other cities around the world have their versions of pizza, the original was invented right here in Naples. Locals will tell you that any other pizza is a poor imitation, so while you're in town, go to a class and learn how to cook like an expert.

Highlights:

They use traditional methods at this pizza-making workshop. You'll come away armed with the specialist knowledge to make an authentic Margherita.

Address and opening times:

Via Santa Brigida 65, 80132 Naples. Start times vary.

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8. Feel the music at a traditional Neapolitan concert

At a traditional Neapolitan concert, you'll hear world-famous standards like O Sole Mio, but with a distinctive twist. The performers don't use microphones or similar equipment, so you'll be able to experience their passion and talent more intensely, the way music has been performed in Naples for generations.

Highlights:

Drinks are included in this traditional Neapolitan concert. The power of the performances will sweep you away.

Address:

Piazza Museo 11, 80135 Naples. Start time: 9:00 PM.

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9. Enjoy Italian home cooking and the best of Neapolitan hospitality

Italian food is known worldwide, but the very best dishes can't be found in restaurants. You'll need to visit a real family home to try delicious Neapolitan home cooking. There's nothing quite like food made by an Italian nonna, so try having dinner in the home of a local, for something really special.

Highlights:

You'll have four courses of exquisite food, along with an incredibly warm welcome.

Address:

The location of your dining experience will be at your host's home.

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10. Let the Torture Museum give you nightmares

The Torture Museum is one of the most disturbing places to visit in Naples. The exhibits here are dedicated to the Spanish Inquisition and show the terrifyingly creative ways medieval heretics were tortured and killed.

Highlights:

You might be surprised to realize that the museum is ultimately quite an uplifting place. It tells how Naples rebelled against the Spanish Inquisition and ultimately won its freedom.

Address and opening times:

Vico Santa Luciella 18/B, 80138 Naples. Open Monday-Sunday, 10:00 AM-7:00 PM.

FAQs

What are some lesser-known attractions in Naples that are worth visiting?

Some of the most interesting sights in Naples can be found underground. The Bourbon Tunnel and the catacombs of San Gennaro are among these thrilling destinations. There are also a number of fascinating museums that most visitors don't know about, like the Torture Museum.

Are there any hidden or secret gardens in Naples that I can explore?

Try the Hanging Gardens of the Royal Palace. You'll find lush, terraced gardens and incredible views across the Gulf of Naples. The garden was closed to the public for many years, and few visitors know about it.

Can you recommend any hidden or secret viewpoints in Naples with great views of the city?

Naples is a fairly steep city, so there are several impressive viewpoints to discover. These include Castel Sant'Elmo, Pedamentina San Martino, and Eremo dei Camaldoli.

What are some lesser-known neighborhoods in Naples that are worth exploring?

The Spanish Quarter is one of the best places to go if you're looking for an authentic Neapolitan experience. It's still largely residential and has some great quirky little shops and wonderful places to eat. If you're looking for nightlife, it's worth visiting Vomero, which is quiet by day but buzzing when the sun goes down.

Can you recommend any hidden architectural gems in Naples that are not as crowded as the famous landmarks?

If you're interested in ancient Roman architecture, go beyond Pompeii and Herculaneum with a trip to the Campi Flegrei Archeological Park. The ruins here are submerged underwater and can be seen on diving trips or from a glass-bottom boat.