5 Off-The-Beaten-Track Things to Do in Naples

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.

Unusual Things to Do in Naples. It's Christmas Every Day at Via San Gregorio Armeno.
It’s Christmas Every Day at Via San Gregorio Armeno. Image via Flickr, Neil Howard, CC BY-NC 2.0

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.

Unusual Things to Do in Naples. Discover the hidden city that lies deep below Naples.
Discover the hidden city that lies deep below Naples. Image via Flickr, Feline DaCatCC BY-SA 2.0

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.

Unusual Things to Do in Naples. The anatomical machines show incredible detail.
The anatomical machines show incredible detail. Image via Flickr, Get Directly Down, CC BY-NC 2.0

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.

Unusual Things to Do in Naples. Thousands of skulls dating back to the 17th century at the Cimitero Fontanelle.
Thousands of skulls dating back to the 17th century at the Cimitero Fontanelle. Image via Flickr, Marcel Haring, CC BY-SA 2.0

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.

Unusual Things to Do in Naples. Artistic beauty in Naples' metro stations.
Artistic beauty in Naples’ metro stations. Image via Flickr, Marite Toledo, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

About Nicola Quinn

Website: http://www.happyhealthymotivated.com

Nicola is a travel and food writer living in the Canary Islands who loves exploring far-off places, pushing herself to the limit and trying local eats wherever she goes.

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