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Exploring Naples, Italy

Nestled in the shadows of the infamous, sleeping volcano Mt. Vesuvius, the third largest city in Italy is an ancient metropolis of Naples. Located in the Campania region of Naples, Naples is approximately two hours south of Rome on the Bay of Naples. This bustling city dates back thousands of years from Greek and Roman occupations and beyond and is one of the oldest, continuously occupied cities in the world. The history here is deeply entrenched and visitors can not only enjoy a wealth of art, culture, food, and architecture but some of the best preserved ancient Roman ruins thanks to the desolation due to the eruption of Mt.Vesuvius some two thousand years ago. It is a fascinating city with a unique character and identity and certainly one not to be missed. Here are some of the best things to see and do while exploring Naples, Italy.

Herculaneum and Pompeii

No trip to this city is complete without actually traveling just outside of it to the ruins of the ancient Romans cities locked in eternal despair as they were frozen in place by the hot ash that rained down from Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. The inhabitants of both cities were unable to flee and the eruption occurred so swiftly that even the most delicate items were fossilized in place. Both sites have been undergoing discoveries since their discoveries some 300 years ago and are still slowly giving up their secrets. However, the unparallel preservation of the people and homes in remarkable and truly allows you to step back in time in a way unrivaled by any museum.

Pompeii is by far the most intolerable of the several cities whose fate was sealed thousands of years ago by an ash spewing giant. Temples, streets, and houses are incredibly well preserved. Artifacts and clues to the daily life in this ancient Roman city still remain. Both cities are a haunting must see if you are near the city of Naples.


Naples in an incredibly ancient city and like most cities of the old world it has a wealth of history and art to soak in. The city itself has over 448 historical churches and buildings making it a place where you will never be short of places to explore and stories to hear. The Certosa de Museo di San Marino was formerly a monastery built in 1325 and now has an impressive collection of art, sculptures, carvings and artifacts. Many of the works depict the history of the city and taking one of the English speaking guided tours can be helpful in hearing the stories the stories behind the most interesting ones.

The Museo Archeologico Nazional houses One of the largest collections of Greco Roman art and highlights the regions history under the Roman Empire. Here you will also find some of the excavated artifacts from the ruined cities of Pompeii, Hernaculeum and others giving you a chance to view some of these amazingly preserved artifacts. This museum also has English audio tours which helps to really understand everything there is to see here.

The Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte is yet another fine museum with a superb collection of art from all over Italy. There is also a lovely garden on the grounds making it a nice spot to enjoy an afternoon.

Castel Nuovo is probably the icon of the city. Now a museum, this massive medieval castle houses a large collection of artwork and artifacts from the city's history. There is even a bronze door with a cannonball embedded in it, an interesting glimpse into possibly a not so rosy past. There has also been skeletons found buried on the grounds as well as ancient swimming pool.

This list of historically significant sites in Naples goes on and on. From the San Gennaro Catacombs, to the burial place of thousands of victims of the plague at the Fontanelle Cemetary, to the Basilica di Santa Chiara, there is much to see in Naples. You can take guided tours of the city's underground tunnel Barbonico, an old escape route but a great way to see the city ancient roots. Strolling along any of the medieval streets and you will find ancient chapels and monuments. The Teatro San Carlo is one of the oldest opera homes or sometimes visit the Parco Archeologico di Baia to see more ancient Roman ruins.

Island of Capri

If you have had your fill of history, art, and architecture then consider a day trip to the chic Island of Capri. The island is not only beautiful but is also the playground of the rich and famous. However, if you plan on staying the night there, you can find plenty of inexpensive accommodations. Otherwise a relaxing, sun-soaked boat trip out to the island, a luxurious stroll along the beach, then a lunch with a glass of wine atop the island in the village of Anacapri. You can explore the island with a guide boat tour and even see the Blue Grotto, a sunken, sea-side cave.

Source by Christopher Walters

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