Naples Capri Ischia Pompeii: Naples is raw, high-octane energy, a place of soul-stirring art and panoramas, spontaneous conversations and unexpected, inimitable elegance. Welcome to Italy’s most unlikely masterpiece.
The city of Naples, located on the south-western shores of Italy, is the third-largest city in the country, and one of the richest regarding history. But despite its incredible past that extends to its first foundations as far back as the 9th Century BC, it is often overlooked by tourists who rarely venture here from nearby Rome. But with so much to offer travelers, it’s about time Naples got the attention it deserves.
As landscapes and views go, the Bay of Naples is hard to beat. The curvature of the marina extends around the coastline until it meets the towering figure of Mount Vesuvius in the nearby National Park. The sea is beautifully clear, and it’s a well-tended, cared for place. The good looks of the city have lent themselves to the lyrics of songs written about it. The Neapolitan Torna a Sorrento (Come Back to Sorrento), is one of the most popular.
Museums and Churches of Naples
Naples is a museum in itself. Within the city, boundaries lie many churches, museums, and historical sites ready to captivate travelers. The Duomo (cathedral) of San Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples, is one of the most visually spectacular in the region. The Cappella di Santa Restituta is one of the country’s oldest surviving churches. And for lovers of the Baroque-style architecture, a visit to the church San Giuseppe dei Ruffi is a fascinating visit.
Naples is considered to be the birthplace of pizza, with its origins dating back to the 16th Century. The different sauces that top the pizza each have a different story. The Margherita is reported to have been created in 1889 for the then Queen of Italy, Margherita of Savoy. Back then, it was just a topping of seasoned tomatoes, but that has since evolved to include white mozzarella cheese and green basil to replicate the colors of the Italian flag.
Naples Capri Ischia Pompeii: The guide
This guide leads you in a visit to Naples and the islands of Capri, Ischia, and Procida. It covers also the ruins of Pompeii and the Royal Palace of Caserta.
It includes photos and descriptions of the attractions of all the localities touched. There is also info on Campania’s cuisine and recipes.
It has plenty of practical advice on travel to reach the islands and how to move once you are there.
The guide is ideal for use on your smartphone. It contains active links to the websites of many reviews for the best-recommended restaurants at the location described.
Naples Capri Ischia Pompeii: where to buy the Guide
Naples’ oldest and most sacred catacombs became a Christian pilgrimage site when San Gennaro’s body was interred here in the 5th century. The carefully restored site allows visitors to experience an evocative another world of tombs, corridors and broad vestibules, its treasures including 2nd-century Christian frescoes, 5th-century mosaics and the oldest known portrait of San Gennaro, dating from the second half of the 5th century.
The catacombs are home to three types of the tomb, each corresponding to a specific social class. The wealthy opted for the open-room cubiculum, originally guarded by gates and adorned with colorful wall frescoes. One cubiculum to the left of the entrance features an especially beautiful funerary fresco of a mother, father, and child. It consists of three layers of fresco, one for each death. The smaller, rectangular wall niches, known as loculum, were the domain of the middle classes. The forme (floor tombs) were for the poor.
Catacombe di San Gennaro a bit of history
Further, ahead you’ll stumble upon the basilica minore (minor basilica), home to the tombs of San Gennaro and 5th-century archbishop of Naples Giovanni I. Sometime between 413 and 431, Giovanni I accompanied the martyr’s remains from Pozzuoli to Naples, burying them here before Lombard prince Sico I of Benevento snatched them in the 9th century. The basilica minore also harbors fragments of a fresco depicting Naples’ first bishop, Sant’Aspreno. The city’s bishops were buried here until the 11th century.
Close to the basilica minore is a 3rd-century tomb whose Pompeiian-hued artwork employs both Christian and pagan elements. In the image of three women building a castle, the figures represent the three virtues, while the castle symbolizes the Church.
The lower level is even older. It dates back to the 2nd century and has typically pagan motifs like fruit and animals. The painting on the side of San Gennaro’s tomb. It depicts the saint with Mt Vesuvius and Mt Somma in the background. It is the first known image of San Gennaro as the protector of Naples. Also on the lower level is the Basilica di Agrippino, named in honor of Sant’Agrippino. Agrippino was the sixth bishop of Naples. He was also the first Christian buried in the catacombs, back in the 3rd century.
Catacombe di San Gennaro how to visit
Tours of the catacombs are available from the Cooperativa Sociale Onlus ‘La Paranza’. The ticket office is to the left of the Chiesa di Madre di Buon Consiglio. A snack-sized replica of St Peter’s in Rome completed in 1960. Tickets are available in advance online.
The cooperative also runs a fascinating Sunday morning walking tour called Il Miglio Sacro (The Holy Mile; adult/reduced €15/13), which explores the neighboring Sanità district. The Holy Mile tour must be prebooked and is offered in Italian. You can request it in advance in English, French or Spanish; see the website for details.
The catacombs themselves also host occasional special events, including theatrical and live-music performances; see the website.