Photographing the Coastline and Beaches of Naples, Italy

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As I’ve already written elsewhere, Naples, Italy, is a great place for photography. Whether you’re interested in shooting travel, street, portrait, or architectural photography, my home town offers some really unique and inspiring subject matter.

A sprawling city of almost a million inhabitants, with many densely-populated inner city areas, it can be easy to forget that Napoli is also a maritime port, with easy access to some fantastic beaches and kilometers of beautiful coastline on its doorstep.

I spend a large part of my life traveling for work, and rarely seem to have enough time to do everything that I need to do when I’m back home. Nonetheless, during the spring and summer months I always try to free up a few days so that I can get out and photograph the beaches and coastline near Naples while they are at their very best.

In this short guide I share some of my favorite seafront photography locations in and around Naples, Italy.

Bagnoli

Situated on the Gulf of Pozzuoli, to the north of the Naples, the area of Bagnoli is well known for its volcanic activity. Indeed its name likely derives from the number of steaming hot springs that once dotted the area.

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The Eco monsters of Bagnoli, gulf of Naples, Italy – NIKON D610 – 18 mm – ¹⁄₁₂₅ sec a ƒ / 13 – 100 ISO

Since that time though Bagnoli has become more synonymous with other less therapeutic forms of vaporous emission, having been rapidly developed as an industrial area during the early decades of the 20th Century. While the smokestacks of the old mills no longer spew forth their noxious gasses, much of the area is still dominated by the carcasses of these steel-age dinosaurs. To be sure, few people would consider the brutal post-industrial landscape of Bagnoli idyllic, but it nonetheless makes for a very impressive photography location.

Gaiola e Nisida

I previously mentioned La Gaiola in my recent guide to the best photography locations in Naples, Italy. But it’s deserving of recommendation here too, as not only does the cape of Posillipo offer wide views of the Naples coastline, but the small bay, beach, and island of Gaiola make for fantastic photography locations in themselves.

Head around the tip of the Posillipo promontory and you’ll come across Nisida, a horseshoe shaped volcanic island (actually now connected to the mainland by a walkway). Although much bigger than Gaiola, Nisida is still only really an islet and can be explored in just a short time. Despite the small land mass, there isle is fully worth the trip, as there’s a pretty wild beach, a small port, and several other fantastic photography locations to be found here.

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The Beauty of Nisida beach, Naples, Italy – NIKON D850 – 19 mm – 6,0 sec a ƒ / 16 – 64 ISO

Nisida is pretty much right in front of the industrial wastelands of Bagnoli though, so those who prefer to bathe in cleaner waters might want to explore other swimming spots instead.

Miniscola, Miseno, and Castello di Baia

Over the bay from Nisida is a little piece of Rio de Janeiro in Italy. The Spiaggia del Castello di Baia is a stunning beach location dominated by a 15th Century castle at the head of a gently curving bay, meanwhile Miseno and Miniscola offer equally beautiful stretches of sand providing clear views of the islands of Procida and Ischia.

Although this was once also a really beautiful and laid back area to enjoy the sea, in recent years the beach experience here has been somewhat ruined by rapid development, overcrowding, and heavily inflated prices. Probably better enjoyed as an off-season photography location than as a midsummer bathing destination.

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The Capo Miseno light house, Miliscola, Naples, Italy – NIKON D850 – Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD (A007) @ 26 mm – ⅙ sec a ƒ / 11 – 1600 ISO

Port of Naples

Looking for a more urban maritime landscape? The Port of Naples offers some interesting and diverse architecture, and plenty of seafront charm to boot. The Maritime Station in particular conjures up romantic images of far-flung adventures and salty tales. Alternatively, for a more retro-futurist vibe, check out Aldo Rossi’s Case del Portuale; a brutalist office tower that took over a decade to complete.

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Sunrise in Naples, Italy – Sony ILCE-7RM2 – 27 mm – ¹⁄₁₆₀ sec a ƒ / 8,0 – 100 ISO

Castellammare di Stabia

For a different perspective, head south of the Naples to Castellammare di Stabia. Located at the foot of the Sorrentine peninsula, between Pompei and Sorrento, Castellamare may not have the most scenic beachfront in the region, but it offers some great views of the Bay of Naples and Vesuvius.

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The Eye in the Sky, sunset at Sorrento, Naples, Italy – Panasonic DMC-LX100 – 35 mm – ¹⁄₈₀₀ sec a ƒ / 8,0 – 200 ISO

For the best vantage point, take the Monte Faito cable car up the headlands to look down on Castellammare itself, with the Neapolitan coastline sweeping up towards Vesuvio’s volcanic profile in the distance. If you are feeling really adventurous, once you get to the top of Monte Faito there’s even a route to hike down the other side of the mountain, all the way to Positano on the Amalfi Coast.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re searching for scenic natural beauty or more edgy, post-industrial panoramas, the Bay of Naples offers plenty of interesting coastal shooting locations. But perhaps you are looking for high quality photography of Naples, Italy, but unable to visit the region yourself? In this case please be aware that all the landscape images in my Naples, Italy, photography galleries are available to license as high-resolution images for all business or personal needs.

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