Dramatic, historic and vibrant, the ancient city of Naples is a city like no other.
The city of Naples has attracted holidaymakers for a long time now – for three millennia, in fact. In the 2nd millennium BC, Greek settlers established the city, and by the 6th century BC, Neapolis, the 'new city' as it was then known, was part of the Roman Empire and a vibrant cultural centre. The city has seen several civilisations come and go, each leaving traces in its character, art and architecture. However, the third-biggest city in Italy doesn't live in the past – it's a modern Italian city offering plenty of dolce vita with its beautiful piazzas, lively street life and, of course, its contribution to world cuisine.
Begin your visit with a trip to the Centro Storico, the historic old town of the city. This is where you’ll find the majority of museums, churches and eclectic architecture. Make sure you visit the Capella Sansevero. Built in 1600, this fascinating chapel contains lots of examples of Italian religious art. A visit to the Gesu Nuovo, the most important Jesuit church in the city, is also worthwhile. This building has a stunningly ornate interior which belies its unassuming exterior.
The Royal Palace is one of Naples' most impressive buildings. Inside, visitors can explore the royal apartments, which are filled with priceless treasures. Another must-see is the Castel dell'Ovo which is set on a rocky outcrop connected to the mainland by a causeway. The towers of this 15th-century castle are a great vantage point from which to see the city and Mount Vesuvius.
The past and future of Naples and its surrounding area are entwined with Mount Vesuvius, which looms above the city. The 1,200-metre-high volcano is now a tourist attraction, but its deadliness will never be forgotten. The towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum were destroyed and thousands of people were killed by this volcano’s infamous eruption in 79 AD.
Naples is a popular place to visit during the summer. Daytime temperatures in July average 30°C. The city has an international airport and is well connected to the rest of Italy by rail and bus.