Raw, unvarnished and refreshingly authentic, Naples is Italy’s third-largest city and a place like nowhere else. They say ‘see Naples and die,’ and you’ll soon discover the unique energy and exuberance of this sprawling city, which balances urban grit and timeless wonder like no other. Set on the breathtaking Bay of Naples, with the looming cone of Mount Vesuvius puncturing the blue sky close by, it can take a little time for Naples to work its way under your skin - but once you attune to its rhythms, you’ll be hopelessly under its spell.
Naples’ densely packed, towering streets lend a claustrophobic, canyon-like feel to the UNESCO World Heritage Site city centre. Here, overflowing market stalls sell handcrafted goods along tight alleyways, and hidden courtyards serve up glasses of glowing Aperol Spritz. The smell of freshly-baked focaccias and drying washing hang over the thoroughly lived-in streets, while stunning baroque churches rise out of nowhere. Wherever you wander, this is a city sprinkled with immense cultural treasures and artistry - from palaces to fortresses and ruins from antiquity.
Unpretentious food, made from simple, flavourful ingredients is a feature of Naples' revered cuisine, and the birthplace of pizza is the perfect city to taste fire-baked, shockingly under-priced, margherita. Wash it down with a bottle of wine perfected by the fertile slopes of Vesuvius. A sharp espresso is always welcome to punctuate your time exploring.
Mount Vesuvius’s destructive impulses destroyed and conserved the ancient city of Pompeii in the blink of an eye, and the town is one of the best-preserved Roman ruins in the world. Naples' National Archaeological Museum displays many magnificent finds should you wish to stay in the city. The Amalfi coast’s immeasurable beauty also stretches out close by, while Capri’s glorious island glamorously luxuriates just offshore.