Once we found out that we were moving to Naples, we started a very long list of places to visit around Europe. After arriving, Josh and I started talking about where we wanted to visit first along with what we wanted to do this summer. Since we won’t be moved into our house until mid-June, we wanted to keep in the Naples area for most of the summer. While we are both so excited that to start exploring all of Europe, we know that we need to get our house settled first.
One of the many reason we aren’t going on any long trips is because we want to make sure our cat is settled before we leave him for more than one night. While Norbert has gotten much better with moving from place to place over the past few months, we want to make sure he’s comfortable in our house before we leave for too long. Therefor we will won’t be traveling too often out of Naples this summer. We are thinking about traveling to Rome and Tuscany in the next few months, but we are still working out the details on that.
There is so much to do with in the city limits of Napoli. On our first visit downtown we walked around Piazza del Plebiscito, Naples’ largest square, where the Royal Palace resides and around the corner is Italy’s largest opera house, Teatro San Carlo. In the Centro Storico, Duomo, there is the site of temple to the god Neptune. This area contains Cappella Carafa, a Crypt of San Gennaroz (the patron saint of Naples), Basislica di Santa Restitua an archeological zone, and many cathedrals such as Chiesa e Pinacoteca Dei Girolamini. Then theres the area of Toledo & Quarter Spagnoli that houses the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, one of the world’s finest collection of Graeco-Roman artifacts.
There is a second Royal Palace located in the Naples area, Reggia di Castera, and after you’ve visited the Royal apartments you can take a walk in the gardens out back, which house Fontana Margherita, Fountain of Aeolus, a waterfall and English garden at the end. The park offers Horse Carriage rides or you can rent a bike. The garden is a great area for a picnic, to take a break while walking the almost two mile long park.
The largest island in the bay of Naples that is full of sprawling spa towns and a famous for their thermal waters. The most famous landmark is Castello Aragonese, a 14th Century Cathedral, with a weaponry museum inside. Most people stay on the north side of the island, but a further inland you’ll find landscape full of chestnut forest, dusty farms, and earthy hillside towns. One of our first stops in Ishcia will be Sant’Angelo on the south side which has some of the best beaches on the island, an intimate cove, and a steamy thermal spring.
Think of Pozzouli as the suburbs of Naples, we are also living close to this area. This area is full of ancient Roman history, as much of Naples is, there are Roman ruins and volcanic crater. Within Pozzouli there are a few archilogoical sites Sito Archeologico di Cuma, Aragonese Castle of Baia, and a nature reserve Riserca Naturale Costa di Licola. There’s also several camping grounds in the area, while we won’t be camping this summer, it’s great to keep in mind.
Just south of Naples is Herculaneum and the city of Ercolano. Herculaneum’s fate is paralleled to that of Pompeii. The city was destroyed by a earthquake in 63 AD then submerged by a mud-slide from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Because the city was destroyed by a mud-slide, in the 1700’s when excavations of the city began, the entire city was fossilized.
While you may not heard about Herculaneum, you have heard about Pompeii also destroyed in 79 AD by Mount Vesuvius, however Pompeii was destroyed by volcanic ash and pumice. If you want to experience Italy from the 1st Century AD, Pompeii is great place to do so. Most of the city has been unearth unlike Herculaneum, you can visit everything from the main entrance of Porta Marina to Fort Triangolare that originally overlooked the sea. PS, in doing research about Pompeii, I discovered the Pliny the Elder a beer made by Russian River in the United States was named after who was victim that died during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Pliny the Elder is one of Josh and I’s all time favorite beers and if you haven’t tried we both highly recommend it.
Those that visit Naples, Capri is always on the top of list to visit. Capri’s most famous attraction is Grotta Azzurra, a sea cave illuminated by other-worldly blue light. Most visit Capri for the notorious shopping on the island. There are still many historic sites to see on the island as well, Villa San Michele (a home built on ruined site of a Roman Villa) and Chiesa di San Michele (a 1700’s church known for their tile floors). You can also take a chair lift up to Monte Solaro to see the whole island. Of course, there is so much more to do such a swimming in ancient roman swimming holes or take boat tours around the island.
There are many cities within the Amalfi Coast, Positano being the most popular. The town of Amalfi has the iconic Cathedral di Sant’Andrea and Museo della Carta (Museum of Paper, a 13th century paper mill). Close to Positano there as a mall mountain village of Nocelle and an ancient fishing village of Praiano. Sitting in the high hills above Amalfi is the town of Ravello where you can catch the Ravello Festival, an event full of orchestral concerts and chamber music to ballet performances. The major transport hub of the Amalfi Coast is Salerno. There is Castello di Arechi (a mountain top medieval castle), Cappellla delle Crociate (Chapel of the Crusade).
When you see those picturesque views of Naples, they come from Positano. It is the most photogenic and expensive towns within the Amalfi Coast. It is stacked with pink toned houses and beautiful stoned beaches. When I found out we where moving to Naples, I couldn’t stop taking about how excited I was that we were so close to Positano. This is where everyone comes to vacation and after seeing pictures, you’ll start planing your trip here too. Positano has one of the best beaches in the world. If you want to avoid the crowds come in April/ May or September.
So there you have it, while I we may not get to visit everything. We are certainly going to try and visit as much as we can. Most of these things are easy day trips for us because we are already in the area. We have also gotten to visit a few of these places already too! So we are excited to see more of Naples, and of course we will share everything on the blog as well.