The islands of the Gulf: Ischia, Procida and Capri
A few steps from Naples, by a short ferry or hydrofoil ride, you can reach the islands of the Gulf. The boats that travel the route depart from the port of Mergellina, from the Molo Beverello or Pozzuoli to Ischia and Procida, from Sorrento to Capri. This last pearl of the Gulf of Naples is the most distant to reach, the journey takes 40 - 50 minutes from Naples. Wonderful in the hottest season with its sea, breathtaking landscapes, its enchanted caves and the picturesque old town. The itinerary on the island of Capri begins at Marina Grande, the landing point of the boats, from where you can take part in the many boat trips that lead to the discovery of the island. While sailing around Capri you can admire the statue of the scugnizzo, the Tiberius Beach, the Cave of the Coral, the White Cave, the Natural Arch, Villa Malaparte, the Faraglioni, the Bay of Marina Piccola, the Scoglio delle Sirene, the Green Cave, the Punta Carena Lighthouse, and finally the famous Blue Grotto. This natural cavity takes on a magical journey through almost supernatural light effects. Due to the low height of the entrance, it is only possible to access small rowing boats, where in some places it is even necessary to lie down. After spending a few hours by the sea or by boat, you can end the day in the historic center, very characteristic, with narrow streets overlooking colorful houses decorated with plants and flowers that help make the island special.
The island of Ischia is the largest of the Gulf of Naples, a place famous for its spas and its beaches. Once it was connected to the mainland, in fact it has the same characteristics as the Campi Flegrei. Also here to get the most out of the island you can take boat tours that last about two hours. On the island to admire is the Aragonese Castle, which dominates the coast, on which there are enchanting beaches and caves. Ischia is also famous for nature, not surprisingly it is also known as a green island.
The last island of the Gulf that deserves a view is Procida, the smallest but also the wildest. This is above all a holiday area, where the rhythms are slower and you can devote yourself to complete relaxation. To welcome you there will be the small colored houses of the fishermen and the historic center called "Terra Murata", a village of medieval origin only reachable through a scenic road that overlooks Marina Corricella. Among the most beautiful beaches we remember that of the Silurenza, the Lingua beach, a small beach dedicated to scuba fishing enthusiasts and Chiaiolella, the most popular of the island. From here, a small bridge leads to the islet of Vivara, once the hunting reserve of Charles III, now a natural park that can be visited by appointment.
Cities still in time: Pompeii and Herculaneum
If you visit the city of Naples you can not help but reserve some time to see the two most famous places in the surroundings of Naples, that is to say the two cities buried by the eruption of Vesuvius, Pompeii and Herculaneum. The two sites have been marked forever by the proximity of the volcano, which characterizes the landscape, but is also the protagonist of their destruction. The eruption that has submerged the cities is that of 79 AD, which has blocked the two Roman centers in an almost surreal dimension, where houses, public buildings, objects of life and people are serenely asleep under the volcanic dust. Both the excavations of Pompeii and those of Herculaneum are part of the Unesco Heritage list thanks to the testimonies that reproduce the life of a society from another era, which has no comparisons in the world. Of the excavations in Herculaneum only 4 of the 20 hectares of which the center had been excavated has been brought to light. The site was discovered in the eighteenth century, almost by chance, by a prince who had a villa in Portici, which by excavations found the remains of an ancient temple. The various excavation campaigns have brought to light various works of art, temples, the Basilica, various and the Villa dei Papiri, still partly unexplored, inside were found about 1700 papyri, closed in boxes, which deal with philosophical texts in Greek and Latin. The visit of Herculaneum allows you to travel with the imagination and walk the ancient streets and enter nearby discovering the customs and habits of the past.
Pompeii is the most famous archaeological site, located 25 kilometers from the center of Naples is by far the most visited place. The expanse of houses, public buildings and streets blocked at 79 d.c. conquer everyone who visits them and bring back to a distant era where life never seems to have stopped. In the ruins of Pompeii you can visit beautiful villas, including that of the Mysteries and the Villa di Diomede. The forum, the Basilica, the administrative buildings, the buildings dedicated to the imperial cult, the slaughterhouse, the baths, the theater district and the amphitheater are also kept under the rain of ashes and lapilli. No less precious are the houses, with wonderful frescoes and mosaics, abandoned by the inhabitants during the eruption. Although many collapses threaten the area remains one of the most rich sites of testimonies in the world, a true treasure to preserve and enhance.
The charm of the Amalfi Coast and Sorrento
A few kilometers from Naples opens an enchanting scenery, formed by small cities overlooking the sea, which are reflected in the intense colors of the water. The Amalfi Coast, or simply the coast for many Neapolitans, run on a scenic road, among the most beautiful in the world. There are four localities that cross through an itinerary on the Amalfi coast, from Positano to Vietri. Being on the sea the best time to visit is summer, but also in winter to give magic water with the many Christmas markets. Among the most beautiful cities there is Amalfi, where the most important monument is the Duomo and from where you can leave by boat to visit the Emerald Grotto. Not far away are the villages of Conca dei Marini, Furore, Praiano. The most renowned center is Positano, a place for luxury vacations. Features are the houses set in the rock overlooking the sea and surrounded by vegetation, which make the town similar to a crib. It follows Ravello, with the gardens of Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrione, from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view. Not far from Salerno is Vietri Sul Mare, famous for the production of hand-painted porcelains. Going up the Amalfi Coast towards Punta Campanella it is also possible to meet the towns of Maiori and Minori, famous for their splendid beaches and for the greedy ones a tasty pastry.
Linked to that Amalfitana there is the Sorrento Coast, which extends from Castellammare di Stabia to Punta Campanella. The most representative city is Sorrento, a true paradise of art and culture of Campania, perched on a cliff overlooking the sea, with important historical and artistic testimonies. The heart of the city is formed by a labyrinth of narrow streets where small shops of artisans are displayed offering typical products and folk objects, as well as many taverns where you can taste every specialty. There is no lack of opportunities for wellness tourism, with the renowned spas of Vico Equense. It has never been easier to think that the famous Limoncello, of which you will certainly bring a bottle at home.
Trekking to the Vesuvio Park
Vesuvius, in addition to dominating the gulf and the city, representing one of the most characteristic ../images of Campania, also offers the opportunity to immerse yourself in nature. The Vesuvius National Park was established in 1995 and consists of nine paths, which give the opportunity to make walks for 54 kilometers. Each itinerary has its own peculiarities and a different duration that varies from one hour and a half to 9 hours. The Park is characterized by the Mediterranean vegetation, with pines, holm oaks and oaks, chestnut woods, vineyards and lots of flowers, even precious, like beautiful orchids and naturally the broom praised by Leopardi in one of his famous poems. This place offers the opportunity to spend a different day outside the chaos of the city, with horse riding, walks to the mouth of the crater and a visit to the observatory.
Royal Palace of Caserta
Starting from Naples, Caserta is easily reachable, either by train or by car. If you want to get out of Naples, the Royal Palace of Caserta is certainly one of the most pleasant places to spend a day. The palace is among the most majestic and the immense gardens will make you feel part of the royal court. The Royal Palace stands on the example of the French Versailles, wanted by King Charles of Bourbon to manifest its power and grandeur. The architect in charge was Luigi Vanvitelli, who built a sumptuous palace with 1200 rooms and 1742 windows. In the Royal Palace you can visit the royal apartments, with luxurious rooms, once inhabited by the sovereigns and the rooms full of valuable furnishings. The Palatine Chapel and the court theater are also very suggestive. Even the gardens are majestic, with fountains that decorate the green spaces, formed by the Italian Garden and the English garden.
Cilento, land of gentle hills covered with olive trees that are reflected in the blue of the Tyrrhenian Sea, has always been a crossroads of peoples and traditions. Crossed by lively streams, rich in chestnut and holm oak woods, its splendid landscape is interrupted by villages clinging to the rocks or lying on the shores of the sea. And it is precisely here that the magnificent National Park of Cilento and Vallo di Diano rises, with the archaeological sites of Paestum and Velia and the Certosa di Padula, included in 1998 in the UNESCO world heritage list, as well as the real naturalistic pearls as the Hairfalls of Venus, the caves of Bussento, the natural harbor of the Infreschi. The best point of support to discover the beauties of the Cilento, but at the same time full of history and ideal to enjoy the relax in one of the pearls of the Campania coast, is the Municipality of Sapri, the last village in the region bordering the Basilicata region.