Updated on 6 August 2017
Most people have heard of Naples in Italy, but did you know that there’s another Naples in Florida? The city is one of the wealthiest in the United States and famous for its unspoiled white sand beaches, known as the Paradise Coast. Outdoor activities like kayaking in the Everglades are extremely popular with visitors. There’s also a wealth of cultural attractions in Naples, with some of the best museums in Florida. Take a tour with us as we explore the highlights of this beautiful area.
Art in Naples
There are some fantastic artworks dotted around the city, including several sculptures by Israeli artist Ruth Bloch, at The Englishman Fine Art, like the Couple on The Wooden Bench. Over at the Mary Martin Gallery, you’ll find some striking contemporary pieces.
Even the hotels here have an arty vibe – the lobby of the Club Level Suites at Inn on Fifth is one example.
Naples Botanical Garden
Whether you’re into gardening or not, don’t miss Naples Botanical Garden. Founded in 1993, the gardens spread over 170 acres. There are lots of different themed areas to discover, including this tranquil Asian garden.
We were lucky to catch a fantastic exhibition called Origami in the Garden. Artist Kevin Box created gigantic metal origami sculptures, in collaboration with his wife Jennifer and other well-known artists such as Michael G. LaFosse.
We found a charming refuge from the sun at the Caribbean Garden.
There’s also a 90 acre nature sanctuary with a birding tower – over 150 species have been spotted.
Whilst in the Children’s Garden, you’ll come across a very picturesque dolls house! Naples Botanical Garden is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm, and 8 am to 5 pm on Tuesdays. There’s a well stocked shop and café for refreshments.
The Philharmonic Center for the Arts at Artis-Naples
At Artis—Naples, art and music come together under one roof for the delight of locals and tourists. There’s a world class arts museum, The Baker, as well as the Naples Philharmonic. We attended a fantastic performance of the iconic Nutcracker ballet. Miami City Ballet breathed new life into this perennial favourite by including local children studying ballet in their dance troupe. Superb choreography by George Balanchine was matched by stunning costumes designed by José Varona – what a treat!
The Baker Museum at Artis Naples
You’ll also find The Baker Museum within Artis—Naples, considered to be the foremost art gallery in Southwest Florida and one of the best things to do in Naples.
Paul was impressed by this steel statue of Apollo by Tim Read.
This quirky artwork by Kevin Box is entitled Conversation Peace. We’d enjoyed his artworks at the botanical gardens, and there are more of them to discover at Artis-Naples until 23 April.
We were fortunate to attend a talk given by Kevin, where he explained the processes involved in creating origami sculptures. This particular artwork is by his fellow artists Michael G LaFosse and Richard L. Alexander. Something out of Nothing is composed of multiple hand-folded butterflies, to stunning effect.
Another exhibition that you should not miss is Robert Indiana: Now and Then. Whilst the name may not be familiar to everyone, his artworks definitely will be…
He is known as the man who invented love…being the creator of the iconic Hope and Love sculptures that you’ll find in New York, Montreal, Shanghai and many other locations.
There’s also a great permanent collection with an impressive glass chandelier by world famous artist, Dale Chihuly. It leads up to the permanent collection on the upper floors of the museum.
This ornate piece shone brightly in the sunshine.
There are some impressive American paintings too.
Including my favourite, Persian Ceiling by famous sculptor Dale Chihuly – isn’t it breathtaking! I hope that you’ve enjoyed this tour of some of our favourite cultural attractions in Naples, they’re well worth a visit.
Which of the artworks do you prefer and why?
In association with VISIT FLORIDA and Florida’s Paradise Coast, car hire provided by Hertz.co.uk