The third largest municipality in Italy behind Milan and Rome, Naples is rich in unique history, geography and culture. With a large bay, vibrant city, rich culinary heritage and the imposing Mount Vesuvius peering above the skyline; Naples is completely unlike anywhere else in the world.
You can barely turn your head without stumbling across another slice of history, as one of the world’s longest continually inhabited cities. The Bronze Age Greeks were amongst the first to settle in the city as early as the second millennium BC.
And then there’s the not inconsiderable attraction of visiting Naples to celebrate its heritage as the home of one of the world’s most popular foods — pizza!
Paying a visit to is a bit of a no-brainer when holidaying in Naples. Located less than six miles east of the city; the stratovolcano is incredibly simple to visit. As the only volcano on the European mainland to have erupted in the last century, Vesuvius holds plenty of significance for history and geography buffs alike.
Additionally, for a reminder of the terrifying power of Mount Vesuvius, it is definitely worth visiting the remains of the city of Pompeii which was completely destroyed in the volcano’s eruption of AD 79. Many parts of the city have been restored and carefully rebuilt to give an insight into pre-eruption life. Hauntingly, the city still includes the remains of victims of the disaster – attempting to protect themselves and their loved ones from the flowing lava.
It’s almost like a trip to Naples is completely pre-determined; after your must-see trip to Mount Vesuvius, it is definitely time to tuck into the city’s big culinary treat, pizza. The Neapolitans are very strict with their proud food achievement, insisting that the dough must be kneaded by hand or a low-speed mixer and be baked in a stone oven with an oak-wood fire. Additionally, there are only three official Neapolitan pizza flavours:
Pizza Marinara – Tomato, Garlic, Oregano & Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pizza Margherita – Tomato, Sliced Mozzarella, Basil & Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pizza Margherita Extra – Tomato, Mozzarella with Campania in Fillets, Basil and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Out of the hundreds of eateries serving up authentic pizza, we’d recommend Pizza Napoli In Bocca – which offers classic pizza in beautiful surroundings at surprisingly low prices.
The long days of sun lend Naples perfectly to a few cocktails in the evening after a long day exploring the volcanic activity and pizzerias. Aperol Spritz is widely enjoyed throughout Naples, a stunning combination of the bitter aperitif Aperol with a touch of Prosecco and soda water.
For the real authentic taste of Napoli’s bar culture, venture over to A Pigna d’Uva which looks more like a makeshift speakeasy than a famous bar – but it is hugely popular with the locals. This popularity could have something to do with the fact that bottles of wine start at about two euros.
Offering beautiful views over the marina, and a cracking location close to Naples’ centre; the Miramare e Castello Hotel provides a beautifully relaxed setting for an Italian getaway. Combining classic Italian architecture with Neapolitan charm; the hotel also boasts spa services and small, private pools.
If you fancy getting your teeth into some traditional Italian pastries and coffee like the locals, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Of the hundred or so patisseries and small breakfast eateries, we’d recommend Cornetteria Pupetta – located a little bit inland.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons and Wikimedia Commons. Credit: Carlo Mirante, Glen Scarborough and Walwegs.