The southern Italian metropolis near Mount Vesuvio is the 3rd largest city in Italy and well worth a visit. The community declared a world heritage site by UNESCO is anything but a museum: it is probably one of the liveliest cities in the world. One of the main attractions in the 2,700 year-old-city is the archaeological museum containing artifacts from Roman cities nearby. A regional train takes you from the central station to Pompeji, which had been buried by Mount Vesuvio, another World Heritage Site. From the harbor ferries can be taken to Ischia and Capri. Since Naples struggles with permanent traffic gridlock, it is best to approach it slowly and take it in from the distance. Striking views of the city, harbor and volcano can be had from Vomero (San Martino Hill).
Hiking trip to Europe's most dangerous volcano
The only active volcano on the European mainland is regarded as Mount Doom after destroying the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 AD. To date, the double volcano is one of the most dangerous burning mountains in the world. After long periods of rest violent eruptions can occur – a constant threat to the metropolis of Naples, which lies just a few kilometers to the northwest. For this reason seismographs are everywhere. They are so sensitive that they even respond to the body heat of visitors. A good road winds its way up to the summit. From the parking area a 45-minute walk leads to the crater. (1:30 hrs, 4.1 km, elevation change: 170 m)
Erotic art from Pompeii
This museum was founded in 1787 and houses one of the most important archaeological collections in the world. This is because it is located near the neighboring Roman cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii and displays the ancient artwork found there. It also has a secret gallery exhibiting erotic art from Pompeii. For centuries, only limited access was granted to this exhibit because the Vatican had declared it to contain “vile obscenities.” Some of the museum's renowned pieces include the Farnese Hercules, the Farnese Atlas, the Venus Callipyge, and the sculptures of Harmodius and Aristogeiton. The museum's most famous mosaic also comes from Pompeii and depicts Alexander the Great in battle.
Legendary Roman town on Vesuvius
In 79 AD Vesuvius buried the Roman city under a twelve-meter-thick layer of ash and pumice. At that time Pompeii was 600 years old. From the ancient Greek settlement on an old lava flow of Vesuvius, Pompeii had become a Roman town that became a refuge for the heat-afflicted rich in summer. Pompeii had a theater, an Odeon and an arena. 13 public brothels were discovered during the excavations.
After its rediscovery in the 18th century the city's second story began, namely as the most important and largest archaeological site in Europe. Today a three-kilometer trail along the city walls provides a good overview of the excavated city.
Wealthy suburb with a view of the Gulf of Naples
This wealthy suburb west of Naples is located below the mighty Castello Sant'Elmo. At the base of the castle there is a splendid monastery called the Certosa di San Martino, which now houses a national museum. The monastery's terraced gardens offer a magnificent view of the Gulf of Naples. If you would like to get a first impression of Naples without all the bustle and noise, then this is the place to start. Since Vomero is slightly higher than the rest of Naples, it is not quite as hot in the summer, which is why many Neapolitans come here to go shopping. You will find elegant boutiques and shoe stores in the pedestrian zone, the Via Scarlatti. Since the streets are partly quite narrow and parking lots are rather rare, it is recommended to use public transportation to explore the quarter.