See Naples and die! Since that expression was coined in the nineteenth century it’s been a rallying cry to express just how gorgeous this city is and how much life and passion it has.
To the outside eye, it may just look chaotic. Arriving at the train station can be a little overwhelming with the mass of taxis and buses and Vespas diving all over the road and the inhabitants themselves talking at the tops of their voices and gesticulating wildly; they are probably only discussing the weather though it may seem like a violent argument from the outside. Let’s just say it can be good to have a plan when you arrive, a hotel to head for, drop your luggage, take a deep breath and prepare before heading back out into the melee.
The second thing you’ll notice is the view. Naples Bay is lovely, with the city climbing prettily up its sides. Sitting just across the water is the notorious Mount Vesuvius, the volcano which erupted in AD79 and stopped daily life in Pompeii in mid-flow. Definitely take a trip to Pompeii – it’s eerie and fascinating – and Vesuvius hasn’t erupted since 1944 so I’m sure it’ll be quiet the day you go. Seriously though, this is one of the most closely monitored mountains in the world and if it decides to erupt again there’ll be plenty of warning.
Back in Naples, head for Piazza Plebiscito, a huge grand square with great views across the bay to the three icons of Italy: the town of Sorrento, and the islands Ischia and Capri. Enjoy the view with an aperitif at the famous bar dating from the 1860s, Gran Caffe Gambrinus. Wander on into the well-heeled Chiaia district for some shopping, or to the Royal Palace, or to see the art and architecture of churches and galleries that made Naples such a famous artistic hub. And then there are the castles. You’ll never be bored in Naples.
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