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Naples Travel Guide - Sights to See
In the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, Naples has been known to seamen since the 6th century BC. It is still a major port on the Mediterranean. Today, it has its seedy side but also has its towering castles and elegant palaces. Emperor Nero and the poet Virgil were great enthusiasts of Naples. If you arrive in Naples by train you'll be confronted with all kinds of offers the minute you step off the train. It can be very intimidating. When you exit to the front piazza, the noise level is great.

National Museum: Daily except Monday 9-2. Charles III of Spain took over this 16th century building when he was king of Naples in the mid 18th century and turned it into a museum. Today it houses artifacts from Pompeii and the excavations at Herculaneum as well as the Borgia Collection of Etruscan and Egyptian antiquities, making its contents the most valuable archaeological collection in Europe. Among the outstanding works are the gigantic Hercules, dating from the 1st century BC, and the Farnese Bull, a sculpture group that once stood in the Baths of Caracalla in Rome. In addition, the museum has recently reopened its "secret" room of ancient erotic art... after being closed for 200 years.

Capodimonte National Gallery and Museum: Daily except Monday 9-2. Near the outskirts of the city in an 18th century palace which is surrounded by gardens. The National Gallery occupies the top floor of the palace. The State Apartments contain a rich collection of ivories, as well as the Farnese Armory. The galleries are rich in paintings of the 14th century and early Renaissance. Famous paintings include Brueghel's Blind Men, and Velasquez's The Drinkers.

National Museum of San Martino: Daily except Monday 9:30-2. Located in the Vomero District, this museum is worth the trip just to stand on the balcony overlooking the Bay of Naples and to view the panorama of Vesuvius and Capri. The museum is housed in a 17th century Baroque palace and contains costumes, and armor.

The Royal Palace: Daily except Monday 9-2. On the Piazza Plebiscito. Located in the center of Naples, this palace once housed the kings of Naples in Baroque splendor. Its facade is decorated with the statues of 8 monarchs who once ruled the powerful Kingdom of the Sicilies. The Royal Apartments, with their colored marble floors, ornate frescoes, and tapestries, plus the library of more than a million books are the biggest attractions.

Church of Santa Chiara: Located on Via Benedetto Croce, this church built in the early 14th century is in the Southern Gothic style. Among its principle treasures is the elaborate sarcophagus of Robert Wise, King of Naples and founder of this church.

Walking around Naples: Don't! If you must, the area around the train station is very colorful, as are many parts of Naples. But... one should be very alert in strolling around and should preferably walk with a friend or two. Watch your valuables.
About the Author
Author of this article is Gene Gill. For more information visit his website: Gene Gill Miniatures.
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