Naples is arguably Italy's most vibrant city, and in spite of continuing problems with garbage disposal and crime, it continues to attract visitors for its world-class sights, its natural setting, its food, and its sheer energy. Noisy, chaotic, traffic-clogged, and dirty, Napoli is also cultured, fascinating and charming, but if it all becomes too much, you can easily escape to the islands for some calming sea air.
Things to Do
The city and its surrounds boast an extraordinary wealth of artistic treasures that span millennia. The remains of the Greek and Roman colonies of Neapolis, the baroque splendor of the Palazzo Reale, and the lively contemporary art scene: culture buffs will be kept busy for weeks. Nearby are some of the world's greatest archaeological sites, while the magnificent natural beauty of Vesuvius, the Bay of Naples, Capri, and Ischia makes a perfect contrast to the more intellectual attractions.
In Naples, chic designer stores supply fashionistas with the latest styles, independent boutiques provide something a little more quirky and respected, old-fashioned tailors' shops turn out superbly crafted bespoke suits, shirts, and ties for the city's best-dressed men. Looking for a souvenir to take home? Head to Via San Gregorio Armeno for traditional, intricately crafted Nativity scenes.
Restaurants & Dining
The Neapolitans love food and are proud of their culinary traditions. This is home not only to pizza, one of the world's best-loved dishes, but also to Neapolitan ice cream, another universally celebrated culinary export. Restaurants range from elegant temples of creative gourmet cuisine to earthy, back-street trattorie where locals tuck into hearty traditional dishes -- and don't miss a stand-up snack at one of the chracterful friggitorie, which serve deep-fried delicacies sizzling from the pan.
Nightlife & Entertainment
The magnificent Teatro San Carlo is one of Italy's prime opera houses, while musicals and concerts of traditional Neapolitan music are hosted at Teatro Bellini. Naples also has a vibrant nightlife scene that encompasses hip, designer-trendy bars serving aperitivi and dinner; grungy student dives with dubious live music acts; and buzzy dance venues that move to the beach in summer.
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