5 Must-See Museums in Naples for Art Lovers

Naples is chock full of history, art, and archeological finds, which means it’s a great city for museum enthusiasts. It would take you weeks to visit all the museums in Naples, but the good news is that you can’t go wrong.

This guide will highlight 5 of the most breathtaking museums in the city.

Insider’s tip: Public museums are free every first Sunday of the month. All museums in this guide, apart from San Severo, are included in the initiative. For the full list of participating museums and archeological sites, visit the culture minister’s website

Ancient Roman fresco in Italy.
No need to go all the way to Pompeii – you can see frescoes and art at museums in Naples. Photo credit: Casey Lovegrove

Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

The Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli (say that five times fast) is THE museum of Naples. You could spend an entire day here. It’s home to frescoes and mosaics from Pompeii and Herculaneum, an Egyptian collection with mummies, and relics of Mediterranean history spanning from the paleolithic era to modern day. 

One of the most popular collections, though, is the gabinetto segreto (secret room). It’s a collection of ancient Roman erotic art. There are over 250 pieces of creative erotic art mostly collected from Pompeii and Herculaneum.

People walking around the main hall of the Archeology Museum in Naples. Photo credit:
Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli is the place to visit if you’re into art. Photo credit: Jeremy Weate

Museo Capella San Severo

If you want to have a museum experience without being overwhelmed by massive collections of art, check out Museo Capella San Severo. It’s a small but impactful baroque chapel built in 1613.

It’s home to the Veiled Christ (1753), widely considered to be one of the most impressive sculptures in the world. The marble sculptures present in the chapel have a level of detail, precision, and beauty rarely seen. 

Close up of Veiled Christ in Naples must see museum.
The impeccable artistry of the Veiled Christ makes it a must see while in Naples. Photo credit: David Sivyer

Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte

The Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte is a former royal palace and hunting grounds. The museum was created in 1735 when King Charles VII of Naples and Sicily needed a place to store his Farnese art collection, by that time already. It’s now home to classic masterpieces by Caravaggio and modern pieces by Warhol. 

Look for the iconic Warhol prints of Vesuvius. It’s also located within a sprawling park, one of the only large green areas of the city. Perfect for a post-museum picnic.

It’s about a 10 minute drive from the city center. Take the 168 or C63 bus from Piazza Dante or the 178 bus from the National Museum. Or grab a taxi. 

People walking around Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte.
Get lost in the artwork at Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte. Photo credit: Mentnafunangann

Museo Nazionale di San Martino 

The Museo Nazionale di San Martino is up the hill in the Vomero neighborhood. Some of its standout features are immaculately maintained baroque church, beautiful courtyard gardens, and royal boats and carriages from the 17th and 18th centuries. 

Before going into the museum, you can enjoy the San Martino lookout point that gives you a full panoramic view of the city and Vesuvius. One of the most important works in the museum is the tavola strozzi, a detailed painting of Naples in the 1400’s. It’s interesting to compare the city of -600 years ago to the one today.

Panoramic view of Naples and Vesuvius near Museo Nazionale di San Martino.
Don’t miss out on the panoramic view at the San Martino lookout point. Photo credit: Francesco Baerhard

Palazzo Reale

Experience the royal life for a day by visiting the Palazzo Reale in majestic Piazza Plebiscito. The palace was built in 1600 and has been a throughline in the royal history of the city.

You can wander through the appartamento storico, or the various apartments and chambers of the palace. The lavish rooms—a throne room, royal bedrooms, a court theater—offer a unique opportunity to experience the history of the city for yourself.

It was hard to narrow down the list of museums to write about in Naples because of the sheer number of fantastic museums. We chose 5 of the most memorable ones in the city for you to enjoy. Remember, all public museums are free the first Sunday of the month, so don’t miss it if you’re in the city at that time.

A red room with paintings and a chandelier at Palazzo Reale.
Feel like royalty for the day as you explore Palazzo Reale. Photo credit: Mentnafunangann
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