Naples: An Italian Adventure For The Discerning Tourist
For anyone looking to embark on an Italian vacation, why not consider Naples, one of the world’s oldest and continuously inhabited cities. Located in the Southern Italian region of Campania, Naples enjoys a Mediterranean climate and is steeped in history.
Its city centre has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. With so much to see and do, any vacation to Naples and the surrounding area is a rewarding experience. This article highlights the Neapolitan delights that await the discerning visitor. Just outside Naples is Pompeii, an ancient Roman town that is synonymous with the ancient Roman Empire. It is one of Italy’s best known tourist attractions and is a World Heritage Site. Pompeii was buried by volcanic ash following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD and as a result objects have been well preserved for two thousand years. The site is a wealth of ruins and artifacts giving an insight into the lives of the residents at the time. Mount Vesuvius is the only volcano on mainland Europe to have erupted within the last one hundred years. The volcano is five and a half miles east of Naples and the summit and surrounding national park is open to visitors all year round.
Naples Is An Archaeological Treasure Trove
An excellent place to visit is the Anfiteatro Flavio, which after the Colosseum in Rome was one of the ancient world’s most important amphitheatres, holding forty thousand spectators at that time. Work on the amphitheatre started under Emperor Nero before 70 AD and it still dominates a landscape now surrounded by apartment blocks, railways and roads. In its pomp it hosted spectacular contests involving exotic animals shipped in from the Roman Empire’s distant provinces. Today the arena is used for music and entertainment events between June and September. Further information is available from the onsite box office.
The Museo Archeologico Nazionale houses the world’s largest collection of artefacts from the Roman Empire. In terms of exhibiting space, it is even bigger than the Italian National Museum in Rome. The museum houses wall paintings and a myriad of other objects excavated from Herculaneum, Pompeii and other sites from the surrounding region. The museum has a room which contains solely nude paintings, sculptures and murals. All the exhibits are described in both English and Italian and admission to the museum costs nine euros for adults and is free for children.
The Home Of The Pizza
Naples is far more than an archaeological site. Not many people are aware that pizza comes from Naples. The original pizza, the Margherita, with its fresh mozzarella toppings, tomato and basil was first made at Pizzeria Brandi near Plebiscito Square. There is actually a stone outside the restaurant which explains the history of the first pizza. The Naples Pizza Association displays a “True Neapolitan Pizza” label outside any Pizzeria that follows its standards; the label is a Pulcinella mask with a pizza. A Neapolitan Pizzeria never adds too many toppings as it strives to retain a real taste in its pizzas. Mozzarella, found in the Margherita is actually a cheese that is typical of the Campania region. Pizzeria Brandi and other local restaurants only use fresh mozzarella in their pizzas.
Lunch On The Island Of Capri
For more culinary satisfaction, a short boat ride from Naples harbor is the island of Capri. As there are no cars allowed on the island, it is a tranquil and relaxing spot for lunch. The island makes for a pleasant addition to any foodie's vacation itinerary away from the hustle and bustle of Naples. The island can be reached by hydrofoil in just forty minutes from Naples harbor or in twenty minutes from Sorrento; with morning departures and an afternoon return allowing plenty of time for lunch. Capri as a tourist destination has a wide range of excellent restaurants, although some can be overpriced. Buonocore is one of the best places to enjoy food and wine at a reasonable price. It is hard to miss as the wonderful aroma of freshly baked Cannelloni emanating from the restaurant wafts down Capri’s main street and acts as a magnet for hungry tourists. If there is time after lunch the Blue Grotto which holds the remains of ancient Roman rock is well worth a visit.
Naples, with its proud history, dating from the Roman Empire or as home to the humble pizza in more recent times is a fantastic tourist destination. Naples is a vibrant city and the gulf of Naples with Vesuvius in the background is one of Italy’s best known images. Why wait? With excellent transport links and hotels, Naples is just a few clicks of the mouse away from booking your dream vacation. Look here.
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