The third-largest city in Italy (after Rome and Milan), Naples is an introduction to the drier, hotter south of the Italian peninsula; as well as to wine, gelato, espresso, and sun worship. The city—known as Napoli in Italian—has a beautiful downtown area around its port much favored by tourists, while its center is the largest historic center in Europe, with a history dating back more than 2,500 years. As Italy's most important port and one of its most important business centers, Naples offers event venues that cater to a diversity of groups.
The main airport is Naples International (NAP), which is four miles northeast of the city center and has service to all points in Europe, although North American service is far, far more likely to come via Rome's Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO).
Surprisingly, there are no huge convention venues in Naples, but there are several mid-size expo, event, and congress centers. Perhaps top of the list—for its bayside location mostly—is Terminal Napoli, which is right by the city's cruise terminal and has 40,000 square feet of exhibit space, its largest room able to host 600 persons.
Hotel venues in Naples include the 397-room Royal Continental Napoli, which has 12 meeting rooms, a 530-seat auditorium, and 1,750 square feet of exhibit space, among other facilities; the 160-room Grand Hotel Vesuvio, which has seven ornate meeting and banquet spaces for up to 400 persons; the grand, 139-room Palazzo Caracciolo Napoli MGallery Collection, which is in a 13th-century building with eight meeting rooms onsite, the largest able to host 80 persons (as well as access to the stately Museo Diocesano, which can cater to 500 and is full of sacred art); the truly opulent, 120-room Hotel Excelsior, Naples, which is managed by Sheraton and has three meeting rooms and a terrace overlooking the Bay of Naples; and the 96-room Grand Hotel Santa Lucia, which has six function spaces, the largest able to accommodate 320 persons.
Apart from the Terminal Napoli, other larger congress-able spaces include Mostra d'Oltremare, which is in the suburb of Fuorigrotta and includes the Mediterranean Theatre & Conference and Art Hall, with 20 separate halls named for Italian cities and Mediterranean countries and function space for more than 800 persons; three sites under the auspices of academic institution Il Centro Congressi dell'Universita degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, in the city center, Via Partenope and Monte San Angelo, the former with the very grand, historic Aula Magna Storica room, the latter with a large auditorium; and the Palapartenope Theater, which puts on concerts by major entertainers and has room for more than 6,000 persons, its largest room able to host 3,500. Two historic event sites are the grand, pink, 18th-century Villa Signorini, which has beautiful gardens, space for 350 persons inside and out, 17-room Villa Signorini Relais, a hotel, and the Ristorante Le Nuvole; and, nearby in Sorrento, 30 miles to the south around the beautiful Bay of Naples, the 9th-century Castelo Medioevale, which was the home of the dukes of Sorrento and today is a stunning site for events of more than 600 persons.
Eat delicious Neapolitan cuisine at seafood restaurant La Scialuppa, which has a grand interior and a setting by Naples' castle; bayside La Cantinella, which is more intimate; Umberto, which is close to the Parco Villa Cellamare, opened in 1916 and has separate bar, pizzeria, and main dining rooms; Ciro a Santa Brigida, which is farther inland in the center of Naples and also has separate fine dining and pizza sections; and, for a real splurge, with perhaps the best views in the whole city, La Terrazza in the Hotel Excelsior, Naples, which is most memorable on a warm evening.