The museo is contained in the old royal palace in the Capodimonte park. Take the bus M4 from the train station and get off at the stop AFTER you see the Basilica. The collection is vast and varied and contains some gems. Carvaggio's "Flagellation of Christ" is probably the outstanding picture - such a pity it is so badly lit, so as to be almost unviewable.
Entrance is Euro 7.50, free to EU citizens over 65 upon production of proof of citizenship. The loos and coffee shop are in the courtyard and reasonably well-signed!
Open: Tuesday-Sunday 08.30-19.30, closed Monday.
We went on a Sunday and while the park surrounding the museo was packed with families (interesting in itself to observe), the museo itself was virtually empty.
I like how this museum organises it's space to showcase it's works and artifacts, as compared to Museo Archeologico Nazionale. If you like to see more of paintings than artifacts then this is your museum (mine too!). There are a few floors to this museum. From the outside walking in, you will NOT be able to tell if the museum was open or not as the exterior looks nothing like it's interior. I had the impression that I was going the wrong way or the museum was dated and not restoring it's facilities because there isn't any large sign to say "Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte". Even from the bus stop, you'd probably only see an insignificant sign "Museo ->" in the bushes where people exercise and stroll in the residence's park. It's probably 5 mins of walk, but there's many people to ask if you're lost there. But once you enter into the building the signs will show you the way. You'd have to deposit your bags, but bring (or sneak) your camera in! I was told I cannot take pictures, but I saw many people taking photos inside..
The Capodimonte Museum - oh! My biggest regret from my trip to Naples in March 2005 was that I wasn't able to see its fantastic collection of Renaissance and Baroque Italian Art. My guide books told me that the Museum's "closing day" was Monday - so I made plans to see the museum on Wednesday, which would be my last full day in the city. But no! The museum had just changed its closing day to Wednesday. Oh well, it gives me an excuse to come back to Naples sooner rather than later.
(At any rate, I wouldn't have been able to see the most famous paintings in the gallery's collections: their remarkable collection of Caravaggios were on display in London while I was in Italy, so I would have had to come back here anyway.)
The Capodimonte Palace was one of the projects of the earnest and energetic King Charles III, who inherited the core of an amazing art collection from his mother, Elizabeth Farnese (of Parma.) Elizabeth Farnese herself was the direct descendent of Pope Paul III, who had begun collecting the works of his notable genius contemporaries in the 16th centuries. King Charles III of Naples wanted Capodimonte to serve double duty both as a Royal Palace AND as a place to show off the masterpieces of his glorious art collection. Thus, Capidimonte is important not only for the art that it contains, but also for the role that it played in the history of museumology.
Capidimonte occupies a significant hill overlooking the city of Naples, the glorious Bay, and towering Vesuvius to the south. Many great and famous people have enjoyed the views from its outlooks, including the great British Admiral, Horatio, Lord Nelson and Emma Hamiliton, the wife of the British Ambassador to Naples. They met here in 1797 and soon began their passionate and somewhat bizarre romance. But in the shadows of Vesuvius, anything is possible!
This Museum, opened in 1950, houses works of art ranging from the 13th to the 18th century which belonged to the Farnese family and which were then inherited by the Bourbon family. The "Roman Collection" that includes works of art by Michelangelo, Tiziano, El Greco, Raffaello and Botticelli is an essential part of any visit.