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Find information on Naples in our Travel Guide covering sights, foods and nightlife plus more...
Naples is the capital of the region of Campania in the south of Italy only two and a half hours by train from Rome. At the northern end of the Bay of Naples, it is a large sprawling city which has had a fairly turbulent history. In spite of large amounts of money given by the government to improve the area, much poverty remains. This is mainly because the money has fallen into the hands of organised crime.
The heart of the old city is Spaccanapoli where you’ll find many fine old buildings. Beneath the church of San Lorenzo Maggiore are excavations showing that the church was built on top of the Roman Forum. Here you can walk along Roman paving stones past a bakery and other buildings. There is an interesting model which shows how the city has been built up over the centuries.
Naples is a fascinating city best explored on foot or by public transport as driving in the city is rather a nightmare.
Naples is a captivating city with a wealth of historic churches, museums and monuments waiting to be explored. The people are friendly and helpful, the food is good, the wine is excellent and the nightlife is lively. A visit to Naples gives the opportunity to visit nearby Pompeii, the excavated town buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD79.
A Naples holiday has wide ranging appeal. The city itself has many sightseeing opportunities and the added attraction of Pompeii and the Neapolitan Riviera around the Bay of Naples bring many visitors to its gates.
Naples has a year round holiday season as the climate is very hospitable having mild winters and hot, usually dry, summers. The summer holiday season begins in April in the south and ends in October.City breaks can of course be taken at any time of year but are most popular in the spring and autumn when the temperature is not so high.
Naples lies on the Bay overlooking the island of Ischia. It is a rambling town with a long history, evidence of which is seen in its architecture. The old churches, museums and public buildings are too numerous to mention but deserve to be explored. The busiest area in the city is Spaccanapoli and it is here that you will find some of the best buildings including San Gregorio Armeno with its Baroque edifice.
For the best views over Naples and the bay, take the Montesanto funicular to the Castel Sant’ Elmo, a fourteenth century fortified building. Concerts, fairs and exhibitions are now held here. The Piazza del Plebiscito, built in the form of an amphitheatre is one of the most impressive squares in Naples with the Bascilica of San Francesco di Paola and the Royal Palace.
The San Carlo Theatre, built in 1737, is reputed to be the oldest theatre in Europe. The opera season is from December until May after which there is a programme of ballet and classical concerts.
A Naples holiday would be incomplete without a visit to Pompeii, Vesuvius and the Neapolitan Riviera.
There are many lively discos and nightclubs in Naples where there is dancing until the early hours of the morning. Le Mela is one of the most popular venues in but as with most nightclubs you will need to be a member in order to gain admittance.
Those looking for traditional handmade goods should visit Quartieri Spagnoli where there are many craftsmen’s workshops. Naples is known for its Capodimonte porcelain, its cameos and small paintings known as gouaches. Jewellery and leather goods are popular gifts. Via San Gregorio Armeno is famous for its terracotta nativity figures which are available throughout the year. The Riviera di Chiaia is the place to go for fashion as it has many fine boutiques.
Italians like to eat out and Naples has numerous small family run restaurants frequented by locals. Neapolitan food is simply cooked using fresh ingredients and fish features largely on the menu. Naples is the birthplace of the Marguarita pizza and there is no better place to eat one. Cooked in very hot wood burning ovens they are delicious. Sauces for pasta are another Neopolitan speciality and its ragu sauce is world famous. Naples produces good mature cheeses including caciocavallo and scamorza. Deserts, pastries and cakes are a very popular way to end a meal followed by coffee and the limoncello liqueur.