Bustling activity along ancient narrow streets, lines of colorful laundry hanging above your head as you stroll through a buzzing markets, and a chance to sample the best pizza the word has to offer-these are some of the experiences you'll encounter in Naples, a city on the western coast of Italy. From the moment you step out of your vacation rental in the morning, the streets, culture, noise, and beauty of Naples will whirl you away. Start downtown in the Piazza Garibaldi and head west to walk the ancient streets of the historic district, north to Parco di Capodimonte to move from ragtag outdoor markets to sleek bars and shopping venues, and south to the Piazza del Plebiscito, Palazzo Reale, and Teatro San Carlo opera house. If you stay in a condo or vacation rental downtown, you'll have access to the finest restaurants in Italy. And if you find a location close to the beach, you'll have a view overlooking the boats that come and go from the blue ocean to the Port of Mergellina.
Here are a few additional suggestions of things to do in Naples:
-History: A few blocks west of the Piazza Garibaldi, you'll find yourself among the hidden treasures and ancient side streets and alleyways of the historic district.
-Castel Nuovo: Visit the giant castle of the Piazza del Municipio.
-Mount Vesuvius: Take a day trip from Naples to view the only active volcano on continental Europe.
-Pompeii: When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, the entire town of Pompeii was buried in mud and volcanic ash. Take a guided tour around excavated ruins.
-The National Archeological Museum: Among its other collections, this museum holds many of the treasures of Pompeii.
-The 13th century Duomo dedicated to St. Gennaro: This Cathedral is said to hold two vials of St. Gennaro's blood that miraculously liquefy on certain dates.
Imagine coming home at night to your Italian villa or enjoying a cup of strong coffee in the morning before disappearing into the piazzas and market districts. The sights, sounds, and smells of baking bread and spice from the market stalls, the flavor of rich wine and Naples cuisine, and the warmth and charm of local people will make you want to return to this bustling, ancient city again and again.
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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