Free things to do in Naples Italy
Do you want to learn about free things to do in Naples, Italy? In this article we will tell you all you can do in downtown Naples completely free.
These free things to do on the Naples tour are going to be free things to do walking distance from downtown. So no need to take any subway, bus, or taxis. Just walking and a lot of it.
There are a lot of other free attractions in Naples, but those require some sort of transportation. So we will stick with the free things you can do in Naples Italy that are completely walking distance.
People ask us all the time “is Naple safe?” and our answer is yes Naples is very safe. It is like any other big city, you have to be careful with your belongings in the same way you have to be careful in London or New York. One thing that is a little dangerous in Naples is traffic. You have to be quite careful when you cross the street, because drivers are pretty aggressive.
Another thing you should be careful of in Naples is the ground. In fact most of the very old roads of Naples have an ancient pavement. This can be quite uneven and it is rather easy to trip. Also if you have mobility issues be careful and watch your steps.
Our first free thing to do in Naples is Spaccanapoli. This is a very straight and long road that cuts the old city in half. In fact the name Spaccanapoili means cut Naples in Italian. This road originates from Roman time. Over time it became a medieval road and then a modern road.
Spaccanapoli is a beautiful place to walk around, here you can find a lot of stores that sell pastry, coffee, souvenirs and local craft.
At night spaccanapoli is very popular between locals and tourists as a place to grab some food, drinks and walk around.
One of the things that Naples is absolutely famous for other than pizza, are desserts.There’s no shortage of places for desserts here in Spaccanapoli.
Another thing that you need to know about Naples is that the naportani people are very superstitious. They love their superstitions. One of this superstitions regards red horns. According to the locals, these red hiorns good luck. Walking around Spaccanapoli you will see many places that sell the red horns. In order for them to work you have to buy one of these horns and give it as a gift to someone else.
San Gregorio Armeno
The second free thing to do in Naples is a street called San Gregorio Armeno. This street is world famous for nativity scene figurines, called presepi in Italian. On this street you can buy every kind of figurine you want from traditional to modern.
The modern ones can be political figures, singers, famous people from Naples or soccer players.
Our next on the list of free things to do in Naples is the Duomo. The Duomo is a beautiful gothic cathedral. The Duomo is completely free to visit, however if you want to see the museum of the treasury it is not free.
Inside of the church there’s the remains of the dry blood of San Gennaro, the saint patron of Naples. Three times a year, the Bishop of Naples takes the vial with blood out and they show it to the public in prayer. The dry blood miraculously liquefies. According to legend if it does not liquefy something terrible happens to Naples.
In Recent history the miracle of the blood happend the following years and this is what happened:
- 1940: Italy enters WWI
- 1943: Nazi’s invade Naples
- 1973: Cholera outbreak
- 1980: Earthquake near Naples
- 2016: Forrest Fires near the city
The Duomo of Naples was built on top of a paleo christian church, and the paleo christian church was built on top of some greek ruins.
The statue of Pulcinella
Our next free thing to do in Naples is the statue of Pulcinella. The statue has a very shiny nose because according to popular superstition if you rub the nose it will bring you good luck.
Last time we were in Naples we rubbed the nose and we won 1700 euros at the lottery! So we’ll rub it every time we come back!
Mercato di Pignasecca
Our next free thing to do in Naples is the market of Pignasecca. This area is famous for a market that is here every day. Browsing the market is a lot of fun. You can find cheap clothes and food. If you like seafood this is one of the perfect place to buy fish, clams, mussels and other local delicacies.
You can also see some quite interesting local delicacies such as tripe that is infused with lemon juice that drips right on the tripe itself.
Galleria Umberto I
The next thing on the list of free things to do in Naples is the galleria Umberto I or the Galleria as they call it here.
This beautiful galleria has lots of stores and a place to sit down for a little cocktail or a bite to eat. There’s a beautiful place right by the entrance that sells dessert that is a must try. It’s called “Sfogliatella Mary”. They specialise in sfogliatelle, these are pastry with a filling made of ricotta cheese.
Our next free thing to do in Naples is via Toledo. This street is the main shopping area for locals and tourists. People enjoy walking around, grab a bite to eat or shopping in the many stores. This area is completely car free, it is pedestrian only, so you can walk around in the street and enjoy yourself.
Piazza Plebiscito is our next free thing to do in Naples. The royal palace is the main building in the piazza. On the other side of the piazza you can see the church of San Carlo.
This beautiful piazza hosts a lot of events during the summer.
The facade of the royal palace has statues of the past kings of Naples from medieval times all the way to Vittorio Emanuele the II first King of Italy. The Palace is not free to visit inside but it is not very expensive either and it is totally worth it.
Next item on the list of free things to do in Naples is the Royal Gardens at the Palazzo Reale of Napoli or the Royal Palace of Naples. You can stroll around the gardens and relax in the shade. The Royal Garden is a little oasis of peace and quiet in the middle of the city. The perfect place to read a book.
The Lungomare, Castel Dell’Ovo and Borgo Marinaro
The Lungomare is a long stretch of pedestrian boardwalk right on the coast. It is a beautiful place to walk, people watch, eat or stop for a drink.
On the Lungomare there are plenty of restaurants and bars that serve food and drinks al fresco. It is also the place where some of the most expensive hotels in Naples are because of the breathtaking views of the coast, the Island of Capri and Mount Vesuvius.
In the summer, on weekends and in the evening this area is packed with people walking and enjoying the Mediterranean sun.
On the Lungomare there’s another free thing to in Naples Castel Dell’Ovo. This beautiful medieval fortress is completely free to visit. However if you want to know more about the history of the castle there are plenty of guided tours that you can take.
The castle inside is a bit bare but the view from its top is quite spectacular and totally worth it.
According to legend this castle was built on top of an egg, and that’s why it’s called Castel dell’Ovo, uovo means egg in Italian. The legend also says that if the egg ever crack then Naples is gonna be in danger.
Keep in mind, when you visit this castle, that there’s lots of stairs so if you have mobility issues maybe it is not for you.
Right at the foot of the castle there’s this other beautiful area called Borgo Marinaro or the village of the fishermen. This is a great place to go for a seafood dinner. Here you can find a lot of restaurants right on the ocean.
In this area you can also rent a boat and go around the castle for about 20 euros. You can also rent a boat for the day and explore around the gulf of Naples from here.
Piazza Martiri and Chiaia
Piazza Martiri is another beautiful area of Naples to visit. It is the perfect area to go for a stroll and check high-end stores and designer clothes. At night this area becomes very busy with people walking around or eating in one of the many restaurants of the area.
In a few minutes walking in Via Chiaia you will end up in Piazza Plebiscito. Via Chiaia is another favorite place for locals to shop on weekends, because it is full of great stores.
Our last free thing to do in Naples is the Quarteri Spagnoli or the Spanish Quarter. This area used to be a bit rough until a few years ago. Recently it has improved a lot and now it is the perfect place for a stroll. Also in the area you can find a lot of great B&B.
The area is very colorful and alive. It is a pleasure to sit in one of the many restaurants and enjoy a typical Naples dinner.
We hope you enjoyed our free tour of downtown Naples. As we mentioned in the beginning there are plenty of other free attractions in the city that are totally worth checking. However they all require transportation. We will cover them in a future article.
In the meanwhile if you have any questions please leave a comment.
Bye for now.
Andrea was born and raised in Northern Italy. At the age of 30, he moved to Vancouver Canada. Over the years he traveled extensively in North America, Europe, Central America, and Asia. He is passionate about traveling, cruising, and travel photography. He likes to write about his traveling and shows his travel photos.