Naples is one of the most beautiful cities in southern Italy, full of fascinating things to see and explore. Being the third-largest city in Italy and the regional capital of Campania, Naples has a rich and complex history. Geographically the town is snuggled between a dormant volcano and Campi Flegrei, which makes it a tropical paradise. The city is full of naturally beautiful pathways with architecturally aesthetic museums and churches on both sides, making it a significant tourist attraction in Italy. Not just the city but the people of Naples will never fail to welcome others with their hospitality.
As tourists, you will have the experience of a lifetime visiting this Italian gem. Naples is economical and inexpensive in comparison to other Italian cities. However, if you want to visit Naples on a budget and are looking for an itinerary to guide you through the city, here are some of the free things to do in Naples:
Christmas Alley is one of the most distinctive streets in the old centre of Naples, which is full of open-door workshops of artisans working on statues and scenery of the Neapolitan nativity scenes. It is one of the must do free things to do in Naples. You will come across artisans working on the figurines of Mother Mary, Baby Jesus and shepherds of the crib. This is one of the best free attractions in Naples, and no matter the season, it always feels like Christmas here. A must-visit for anyone visiting Naples to shop, dine and amuse themselves in this happy holiday environment.
Madre Museum of Contemporary Art is hidden in the heart of Naples, which is a functional space for installations and art pieces by contemporary artists which stands out amongst the ancient backdrop of the city’s historic centre. The extensive exhibition space is used so thoughtfully that with every passing day, there is a change in exhibits and something new for people to see. The museum is free to visit on Mondays, and hence if you are visiting Naples on a budget, it surely is a good place to start.
To experience the city of Naples in the most authentic way, wander around the heart of the city, the historic city centre. Go where the streets take you and explore the narrow alleyways which will lead you to underground caves, ancient catacombs, and mysterious churches. This definitely is one of the best free places to visit in Naples and is also a UNESCO declared a cultural heritage site.
San Lorenzo Maggiore is a 13th-century French Gothic-style church with a single nave, baroque facade, a beautiful apse and 23 side chapels. Over the years, the church has gone through a lot of changes which has resulted in a beautiful mix of Franciscan and French Gothic architecture. You can also visit the museum to experience its rich and quirky history, and it is one of the places to visit if you are visiting Naples on a budget.
Piazza del Plebiscito, the square of the people, is the largest square in Naples, which is full of old fashioned continental grandeur. This semicircular piazza has a beautiful royal palace on one side and the church of San Francesco di Paola on the other, which has a Neoclassical facade. The streets nearby are crowded, but the piazza is calm and tranquil, which makes this the perfect place to stop, rest and grab a bite. This is a magnificent free attraction that attracts visitors to Naples and is admirable from every angle.
Duomo di Napoli is Naples’ main cathedral which is captivatingly beautiful and is one of the best free things to do in Naples. The amalgamation of architectural and religious elements that come together due to various modifications made throughout the centuries is a sight to behold. This is also known as the Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary. A complex mix of various styles tells a story of the social, political, cultural and religious history of Naples. The chapel of San Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples, can be admired for the Baroque frescoes, the artworks, and the two vials of blood belonging to the patron saint. Duomo di Napoli is a place that will amaze you which is full of things to admire.
Taking a metro is the best way to move around in any city, and this experience becomes surreal in Naples. Metro dell’ Arte is a series of 16 metro stations along line 1 and 6 that have been transformed into art exhibits that are out there for everybody to experience. This series features roughly 180 art pieces that have been created and curated by over100 local and international artists. For example, the Museo station houses ancient artefacts that were discovered during the construction of the station and are now put on display. To get out of this experience, you can step out on every station and admire the interesting art on display, all for free.
Park Virgiliano, also known as the Garden of Remembrance, is one of the best parks in Naples. The mesmerizing views from the park overlook the Bay of Naples and the Cape Miseno to the Sorrento Peninsula. The park also has a few ornate sculptures on display, along with an amphitheatre that conducts events during the warmer months.
St. Elmo is one of the city’s most noticeable landmarks. This Neapolitan castle is full of history with a small interesting art museum and its cobbled pathways. Take an elevator to get to the top of the castle to enjoy the scintillating views of the city and the Bay of Naples. It will generally cost you a small fee to get inducted into the castle, but if you reach the place just before closing time, the friendly staff might just let you in free of cost.
The Villa Floridiana is a monumental house situated amidst a big park in the Vomero area. You can admire the breathtaking views of the sea and the suburb of Chiaia while enjoying refreshments in the lush green spaces as you take a break. Remind you this is not just a park. There is also a Museum of Ceramics (Museo Duca di Martina) inside, holding some of the most valuable collections of decorative arts in all of Italy. While visiting Naples on a budget, make sure you appreciate the faux Roman and Ionian ruins along with various foliage spread across the park.
Naples’ Botanical Garden is a very well organized ecological preserve and is known for the number of species it houses across all of Italy. The garden is organized according to ecological criterion as well as into different areas. These areas are suited to different habitats such as the beach area, the rocky area, the desert area and other such areas. Climate simulation is done with the help of greenhouse technology which controls temperature as well as other environmental conditions. There are 9000 plant species, and 25000 plant samples housed categorically within the garden. You can explore and discover all of this for free by just making a reservation preemptively.
Gay- Odin is a place where you can find some of the city’s finest local artisan chocolatiers selling their best produce. This place has been producing some of the finest cocoa creations since the early 20th century. The chocolates are traditionally homemade with the finest of ingredients. Several outlets can be found all over the city and when you visit any of these, be sure to ask for a taste.
Castel dell’Ovo and the Ethno Prehistoric Museum
Castel dell’Ovo is one of the fanciest free attractions in Naples, situated in the middle of the sea. It is located on a little island called Megaride, and the view from the terrace of the castle is breathtaking. The area around the egg castle is known as Borgo Marinari and is famous among the tourists, so you will come across a number of bars, workshops, restaurants and commercial shops around it.
Another interesting thing to do in Naples is visiting the Ethno Prehistoric Museum, which is also situated inside the egg castle and is free to explore for you. However, booking an appointment prior to a visit is important to explore and admire both the museum and the interior of the castle. The museum houses a collection of metal artefacts, ceramics, carved stones and earthenware from different prehistoric eras of history that represents the relationship of climate with man’s evolution. Be sure to visit this gem on your trips to Naples, especially if you are on a budget.
Spaccanapoli is a narrow straight street that splits the old city of Naples into two parts, and it is a fascinating feature of the city. This street offers a lot of places to see and things to do along its length. Piazza del Gesu can be a starting point as you move along the San Biagio Dei Librai street and see the Monastery of Santa Chiara, the San Domenico Maggiore Church, the Gesu Nuovo Church, the statue of God Nile and the obelisk of the Immaculate Conception. The street is no less than an open-air museum and is completely free for you to explore.
Piazza del Gesu is known for the extremely beautiful 18th-century cloister of Santa Chiara Monastery adorned by its majolica and the garden. Apart from the fact that it is on the Spaccanapoli, it is also known for the monumental church, Gesu Nuovo Church. It is a converted 15th-century palazzo which gives it an odd exterior that is unchurch-like and quite different from ordinary churches. Admire this landmark and its Baroque style architecture on your trip to Naples on a budget.
The “Ospedale adelle Bambole” may look like a regular shop in the historic centre of Naples but will certainly surprise you when you visit the shop. It is a 4th generation fully functional doll repair shop with doll parts on the wall, making it appear like a doll hospital. It is one of the free attractions in Naples that will surely be an out of the box experience for you, so make sure to put this on your list.
A collection of museums
Museum of the Sea or Museo del Mare houses documents, atlases and maps along with a historical treasure of instruments used to navigate in the oceans.
The Museum of Anatomy is quite bizarre for a museum as it houses 19th-century wax models of human organs like kidneys, bladders and stomachs. There is even a section where malformations like a one-eyed head and a two-faced head are preserved in alcohol. If you are easily nauseated, this museum is not a recommended place to visit.
Museum of Musical history in San Pietro will be a rather soothing experience that will take you on a journey of music in the city of Naples through the library about composers who lived in Naples along with a display of antique instruments.
Places to visit in Naples under 10 Euros
Here are a few places you can visit to experience some other aspects of Naples for under 10 Euros.
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