Naples Travel Guide
It is the birthplace of the pizza and Dean Martin sang it’s praises. It can only be Naples. The capital city of the Campania region, Naples is the third largest city in Italy with 1.2 million inhabitants. It also boasts some of the most scenic settings in the Mediterranean, lying in the shadow of Mt Vesuvius (link to url.) on the slopes of Campi Flegrei. What makes this city so special however is the very character of the Neapolitan people who appear to personify Italian culture itself. It is said that, to know Naples is to know life, hence the old saying “see Naples and die”. This is not an order, although if a heavily built Italian called Carlo is waving a violin case in your direction, you’d better do what he says.
With it’s narrow streets adorned with Neapolitan washing lines, and buzzing with people and kamikaze scooters, Naples is a curious mixture of coastal scenic beauty, historic grandeur and modern day life in what is one of the most densely populated cities in Europe. The centre of the city is a jumble of churches, convents and palaces. Castel Nuovo (link to url) and the Duomo of San Genarro represent some of the many examples of Medieval architecture in Naples. The latter houses the head of San Genarro himself and a vial of his solidified blood which, according to myth must liquefy three times a year or bad luck will befall the city.
Naples is also the home of the Museo Archeologico Nazionale (link to url), one of the world’s greatest museums. Amongst the collections are artefacts excavated from nearby Pompeii (link to url), the thriving Roman town destroyed in AD79 when Vesuvius blew it’s top. It also houses the Farnese collection, encompassing numerous stunning examples of classical sculpture. For the less culturally-minded however, the bronze statues with painted eyes are extremely good for a laugh.
As a major seaport, Naples is a centre of commerce, producing textiles, fine glassware and great wines. Ancient Neopolitan crafts handed down from father to son mean that there is still an abundance of goldworkers, silvercrafters, ceramicists and stonecarvers scattered amongst the streets and piazzas. A walk along the Via Carraciolo (link to url) towards Riviera di Chiaia provides not only a glorious sea view, but also a paradise for the shopping fanatic. The cuisine reflects the nature of the city – fiercely Italian with no frills. There are ubiquitous restaurants serving fresh seafood from the Bay of Naples with tomatoes and mozzarella, two of the region’s best products. Naples invented the pizza – what more need anyone say?
Naples is an energetic city, famed for it’s raw Italian charm. It is within spitting distance of Pompeii, Herculaneum, the Amalfi Coast and Sorrento to name but a few places of interest. You can even take a ferry to the beautiful isles of Capri or Ischia, but for a taste of pure, unadulterated Italy, you need look no further than Naples.
Write your own travel review >>
Naples top highlights
Sorry there are no highlights for Naples.