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.
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
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
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.
A highlight of the coast, it was one of the four independent naval
republics and became an established seaside resort during Edwardian
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Cathedral, Roman Theatre, S.Sofia, Museo del Sannio, Trajan’s arch.
South along the coast, past Salerno, the imposing Greek temples at
Paestum are among the country’s best preserved ancient relics.
Cathedral and Museo Campano.
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.
Visit the Certosa di S.Lorenzo.
Santa Maria Capua Vetere
Cathedral, Amphitheatre and Mithraeum.