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Holidays to Naples
Naples - a jewel of southern Italy
Naples is a little off the beaten track for many visitors; but it really shouldn't be. This is a city of history, a region that has seen civilisations come and go, empires crumble and duchies, kings and Popes rise and fall.
Naples has been on the world map for some 2,800 years and you can see all of that history in many areas of the city. Pompeii is close as is the cause - Mt Vesuvius (which still rumbles today).
Naples has contributed mightily to the world preserve; the romantic guitar for example and the mandolin were both invented in Naples. But perhaps her biggest claim to fame and the biggest impact on the world's waistline was the invention of Pizza. (Thin and crispy please!)
Naples is comfortable pretty much all year round in terms of temperature, so it makes a great city break at any time of year. It's easy to navigate and the food is great. It has a subway system and the whole city area is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Naples has dozens of great cultural and historically significant sites, including the Palace of Caserta and the Roman ruins of Pompeii, and Herculaneum. If you've only got time for a short city break, there's plenty to see and do!
Eating out in Naples
Cheap, expensive and everything in between
The food in Naples is of high quality and generally very fresh, masterfully cooked and delicious! This is Italian food at its rustic best.
The budget options - your first stop is Pizza. Neapolitans take their pizza very seriously, and only restaurants that display the 'Vera Pizza' sign should be trusted - these pizzerias make their pizzas the traditional way. Look out for ‘trattorias’ and ‘osterias’ which are informal restaurants, usually family-run. Our pick? A Taverna do Ré on Via Fondo Supportico di Separazione, Piazza Municp. Given the fact that this osteria/pizzeria enjoys a location across from Castel Nuovo, you would expect its prices to be higher. But €10 here will get you a carafe of wine and pizza or pasta in extremely pleasant surroundings.
Mid price options - your key to mid-price eating in Naples is an Osteria. Sorbillo, on Via dei Tribunali is a basic no-frills pizzeria, with clay ovens where you can see your food being prepared and baked to perfection. Considered an establishment in Naples, da Ciro a Santa Brigida on Via Santa Brigida, off via Toledo serves very authentic and exquisitely prepared Neapolitan cuisine. The restaurant has been run by the same family since they opened it in 1932.
Splurge - too easy! If you can make it to Baia, a suburb of Naples where an ancient Roman ruin lies beneath the sea, go to Batis. The restaurant is sandwiched in between the ruins of the Temple of Venus and the ancient Roman Baths (where summer operas are held), and serves some of the city's finest seafood in a modern decor that is artfully outfitted in what used to be Baia's communal bread oven.
What to wear, when to go
Naples is pleasant most of the year, although it can get wet and drizzly in January. August is quite warm (and many places close for the holidays). The climate is typically Mediterranean with mild but wet winters and warm summers.
Summer temps average out at 24-25C and winters can get as low as 8-9C. Autumn and spring are pleasant and the wettest month is November. It only rains about 10 days a month on average so you'll be dry 65% of the time!
Naples - nearly three thousand years of history!
Naples has plenty of the modern must sees - but it's also a vast repository of the old. The Greeks established villages in the area some 2500 years ago, many settlements existed before then. This rich history is on display in a number of areas.
Herculaneum - life as it existed in this ancient Greek settlement (5th century B.C.) was frozen in time when rivers of hot mud flowed down its streets from an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. This small village close to modern-day Naples is a wondrous example of life as it was. Well-preserved, excellent displays and plenty to see.
Museo Cappella Sansevero - built in the late 1500s, the Museo is a small chapel full of art, sculpture, mosaic tiles and quirky exhibits (skeletons!). The Veiled Christ in particular is worth 30 minutes pondering time as you try to work out how the sculptor managed to get stone so thin.
Museo Nazionali di Capodimonte - is chock full of old masters. You'll see Titian, Raphael, El Greco and Bruegel. Truly great collections live here and if you have the slightest interest in the best of Renaissance art you'll love this place.
Mount Vesuvius - no visit to Naples is complete without a look at perhaps the most famous volcano of them all. Vesuvius still rumbles and spits but you'll be safe, probably. Climb to the crater's edge and get a full sense of the power that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum.
The must see - this is easy; underneath Naples proper lies a labyrinth of tunnels, tanks and cavities that form a real city which is the negative of the city on surface. Napoli Sotterranea is a great place for kids of all ages to explore something quite different. You'll see aqueducts that fed the ancient city, excavated Roman amphitheatres, shelters and more.