Campania - Travel Guide and Tourism Information for Campania, Italy

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Campania, Italy

CAMPANIA
Provinces: Napoli, Avellino, Benevento, Caserta, Salerno

The region faces the Tyrrhenian Sea with one of the finest coastlines in Italy. The hinterland is essentially mountainous, with irregular massifs broken here and there by valleys and plains. In front of the Gulfs of Naples and Salerno, there are the enchanting islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida.

NAPLES


Set in a beautiful bay with the Mount Vesuvius creating a backdrop, Naples always has impressed travellers.

Not to be missed are a walk through the historic center, where you'll see the church of Santa Chiara and its gorgeous majolica-tiled cloister; the chapel of San Saero, with its superb marble statuary; the beautiful 16th-century church of San Giacomo degli Spagnoli; and the street of San Gregorio Armeno, where craftspeople create the famous Neapolitan creche figures.

Naples has many museums that are worth a visit. Among the standouts are the National Archaeological Museum (Greek artifacts and Roman murals, coins and pottery, much of it from nearby Pompeii), the Museo Nazionale della Ceramica (pottery) and the Museo and Galleria di Capodimonte with works by Renaissance and baroque masters (note the impressive ceiling).

There are also several castles of note (including Maschio Angioino, Castel dell'Ovo and Sant'Elmo) and two royal palaces (one at Piazza Plebiscito, where you can visit the royal apartments, and another at Capodimonte, where you can see a good museum and walk through the manicured grounds).
 

Positano

A small exclusive resort of great beauty. Heaped high above the coast, its brightly painted houses and bougainvillaea have inspired a thousand picture postcards and draw crowds of visitors every summer.

Positano is nestled in the heart of the Amalfi Drive, where the Sorrentine Peninsula bends towards the South and preserves many artistic and archaeological treasures: e.g. the ruins of a Roman villa, or the three defence towers that were built by the Viceroy of Spain - Peter from Toledo in the 16th century.

The cathedral of St. Maria Assunta dates back to more recent times, as its original structure was almost completely rebuilt in 1700. The impressive inside wall painting in the dome dictates the church, which is divided by pillars, into three separate aisles. The beaches of Positano are of volcanic sand and small pebbles.

Amalfi

A highlight of the coast, it was one of the four independent naval republics and became an established seaside resort during Edwardian times.

The Duomo, at the top of a steep flight of steps, utterly dominates the town's main piazza.

It has a decorated, almost gaudy facade topped by a glazed tiled cupola,typical of the area. The bronze doors of the church came from Constantinople and date from 1066. Inside it's a mixture of Saracen and Romanesque styles. Almost next door to the Duomo, in the Municipio, you can view the Tavoliere Amalfitana, the book of maritime laws that governed the republic, and the rest of the Mediterranean, until 1570.

Ravello

Spread across the top of one of the coast's mountains, 335m up. Piazza Vescovado, outside the Duomo: a bright eleventh-century church, renovated in 1786, that's dedicated to St Pantaleone, a fourth-century saint whose blood – kept in a chapel on the left-hand side – is supposed to liquefy like Naples' San Gennaro once a year on July 27. A must are the Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone for their beautiful gardens and the splendid belvedere that looks down to the sea.

Sorrento

This town has attracted artists for centuries. Wagner, Nietzsche and Gorky spent time here and Ibsen wrote The Ghosts while in Sorrento. The Museo Correale is an attractive 18th-century villa with a collection of decorative arts and paintings belonging to the Correale family. Outside, a walk through the gardens and vineyards brings one to a promontory overlooking the bay, offering a spectacular view of the harbour and the surrounding towns and cliffs. Other towns you may visit on the Amalfi Coast are: Sant’Agata sui due Golfi and Palinuro.

Capri

Pleasure dome to Roman emperors, and still Italy's most glamorous seaside getaway, this craggy, whale-shape island tips one of the two points of the crescent formed by the Bay of Naples.The island's beauty is an epic one: cliffs that are the very embodiment of time, bougainvillea-shaded pathways overlooking the sea, The town itself is a Moorish stage-set of sparkling white houses, tiny squares, and narrow medieval alleyways hung with flowers, while its hillsides are spectacular settings for luxurious seaside villas

Only when the spectacular Grotta Azzurra was "discovered" in 1826 by the Polish poet August Kopisch and his Swiss friend, the artist Ernest Fries, did Capri become a tourist heaven. The watery cave's breathlessly blue beauty quickly became a symbol of the era of Romanticism.

Few landscapes set more artists dreaming than that of the famous Faraglioni - three enigmatic, pale-ochre limestone colossi that loom out of the sea just off the Punta Tragara on the southern coast of Capri. Soaring almost 350 feet above the water, the Faraglioni have become for most Italians a beloved symbol of Capri and have been poetically compared to Gothic cathedrals or modern skyscrapers.

Named in honor of the ancient Roman god Jupiter, or Jove, the Villa Jovis of the Emperor Tiberius is reached by a 50 minutes walk that climbs gradually from the Piazzetta in Capri town. It is very chic to have an after-dinner drink in the famous piazzetta, the small square in the center of town. Higher up in the hills is another exclusive little village, called Anacapri. There you can take a chairlift to Mount Solaro, one of the island's highest peaks, and enjoy breathtaking, expansive views over the sea and the Bay of Naples. Also in Anacapri is the exotic Villa San Michele, which houses the art collection and spectacular garden of Swedish doctor Axel Munthe.

POMPEI AND HERCULANEUM


On the southern outskirts of Naples lies Mount Vesuvius, the volcano whose eruption in AD 79 covered Pompeii and Herculaneum (Ercolano) with tufa stone and volcanic mud. The cities remained covered until the 1700s, when a farmer discovered Pompeii while digging a well. The two cities give you a real grasp of what life was like in the Roman Empire -- they are exceptionally well-preserved. In Pompei you should begin your tour in the Forum (central town "square"), surrounded by temples, triumphal arches, shops and a basilica (courts of justice). Stroll through ancient paved streets (complete with stepping stones at each intersection), stopping at several houses or shops along the way. (Especially notable are the frescoes and central garden of the House of the Vettii.) The Villa dei Misteri and its ancient paintings of Dionysian rituals, is outside the main area but worth the trip.
 

Ischia

Of volcanic origin, Ischia is probably best-known for its hot springs and spas. Ischia also has some charming towns, including Ischia Ponte, located just below an Aragonese castle, which has lots of pleasant shops selling ceramics and clothing. An easy hike up the spent volcano Monte Epomeo will reward you with a breathtaking view: On a clear day, you can see as far away as the islands of Ventotene and Ponza.

Reggia di Caserta

Known as the Versailles of Naples, for its vast Eighteenth century Royal Palace, the Reggia di Caserta.

In 1751, king Charles of Bourbon commissioned the famous architect Luigi Vanvitelli to design a palace grand enough to compete with the magnificent residences of other European sovereigns, electing the plain around Caserta as its location.

Vanvitelli accepted the challenge; construction began in 1752 and continued until 1774, when Luigi Vanvitelli died; the palace was therefore completed by his son Carlo, who proved unable to follow his father's detailed plans. In spring and summer, Ferdinand IV and his court resided in the palace, which also became Ferdinand II's favourite residence. It was part of the crown estate until 1921, when it became State property.

Seriously damaged in the second World War, the palace has recently been restored to its original splendour. The marvellous park is integrant part of the grandeur of the Reggia .It is a typical example of Italian garden, with its extensive lawns, its square flower-beds and the triumph of waterworks. An English Garden is also to be found in the park, displaying rare, exotic plants, greenhouses, beautiful flower-beds, green copses and paths.

SALERNO


During medieval times the town's medical school was the most eminent in Europe. Nowadays the main interest for tourists is the Duomo with a set of bronze doors from Constantinople and, in the heavily restored interior, two elegant mosaic pulpits dating from 1173, as well as the quietly expressive fifteenth-century tomb of Margaret of Anjou, wife of Charles III of Durazzo. The crypt holds the body of St Matthew himself, brought here in the 10th century.

BENEVENTO


Cathedral, Roman Theatre, S.Sofia, Museo del Sannio, Trajan’s arch.
 

Paestum

South along the coast, past Salerno, the imposing Greek temples at Paestum are among the country’s best preserved ancient relics.

Capua

Cathedral and Museo Campano.

Cuma

This area is the oldest archaeological site in Italy; the town was founded in the 8th century B.C. by a group of Greek colonists. The Acropolis still has its 5th century B.C. walls, and comprises the Temple of Apollo, the Temple of Jupiter, the famous Grotto of the Sibilla, the Roman crypt, the remains of an impressive thermal baths and the Amphitheatre.

Padula

Visit the Certosa di S.Lorenzo.

Santa Maria Capua Vetere

Cathedral, Amphitheatre and Mithraeum.

Campania, Italy - Travel Guide and Tourism Information
 
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