Charming, hodgepodge, run-down Naples, once a rogue and dangerous Italian city to be avoided, is in the midst of a grand renaissance. Back on the map thanks to the success of Elena Ferrante’s ‘Neapolitan Novels’ and Roberto Saviano’s crime saga ‘Gomorrah’ – plus the international TV adaptations of both – travellers who once would have bypassed this rough-hewn city are flocking here in droves.
And unlike Rome, Florence and Venice, increasingly hollowed out by mass tourism, Naples has still held on to much of its character and old-world charm. Laundry laces the back alleys, markets brim with sweet-smelling local produce, life here is lived on the streets. Neapolitans, despite their dodgy reputation, welcome visitors like guests in their home.
Layers of history are visible as you wander Naples’s narrow, cobbled streets, dipping in and out of the many bars, restaurants and galleries started by the new generation of entrepreneurs, chefs and artists reinvigorating the city once again. Of course, it also has the advantage of having one of the most stunning backdrops in the world. With Vesuvius to the east, the ancient port of Pozzuoli to the west and the timeless islands of Ischia, Procida and Capri nestled in the glittering bay, it’s no wonder the Romans nicknamed the area Campania Felix – the happy land. Head here today, and you’ll quickly understand why. Buone vacanze!
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