One of the many highlights of a Mediterranean cruise, Naples is overflowing with fascinating things to see and do. But no matter how much you love exploring the crater of Mount Vesuvius, wandering around the ruins of Pompeii and admiring the exhibits at the National Archaeological Museum, sometimes you want to mix it up a bit. If you want to see the more unusual side of the ancient Italian city, add these 5 off-the-beaten-track things to do in Naples onto your itinerary.
5 Unusual things to do in Naples
Walk along Via San Gregorio Armeno
You might not think walking along a street is that unusual, but that’s before you see Via San Gregorio Armeno. Often referred to as “Nativity Street”, this charming lane is bursting with tiny shops jam-packed with all things Christmas. From incredibly detailed nativity scenes and hand-painted baubles to traditional children’s toys and festive artwork. If it’s got even the remotest connection to Christmas, you’ll find it here.
Tour Naples’ underground
Over the last 2,500 years, a gargantuan network of tunnels and caves has been dug out of the volcanic rock underneath Naples, creating a spooky town hidden 40m below the city’s streets. The network covers around 450 km of sewers, aqueducts, catacombs, caverns and rail tunnels. Some of them are inaccessible and still submerged in water. Tour highlights include WW2 shelters, an underground vegetable garden; abandoned cars and an ancient Neapolitan house with trapdoor access to the Neapolis Theatre.
Meet the anatomical Adam and Eve
The ambitious project of a wealthy Renaissance man, the Museo Cappella Sansevero is home to many unusual wonders of things to do in Naples. Two of the most spectacular being anatomical machines of a man and a pregnant woman. Constructed on genuine human skeletons, the fleshless duo look like something out of a horror film, with highly-detailed veins; arteries and muscles crafted from beeswax, wire and silk.
Request favours from the dead
The final resting place of thousands of plague and cholera victims, the Cimitero Fontanelle houses the remains for all to see, with skulls and bones neatly arranged on shelves, racks and in boxes. The majority of the remains were anonymous. And as they were being sorted, volunteers would prey for their owners and give them names. Some volunteers would even return to ask for favours and predictions by writing them down and tucking the papers into the skulls’ eye sockets.
Admire Metro artwork
Most Metro stations are nothing to look at, but the ones between lines 1 and 6 in Naples are truly the exception. During a Metro expansion several years ago, Il Metro dell’Art was conceived, giving contemporary artists and architects the opportunity to do their thing and brighten up the place however they saw fit. Today the stations house more than 180 examples of stellar artwork across a spectrum of artistic styles and techniques, making everyone’s commute to work much more enjoyable.