Naples and the Campania Region

The Campania Region is situated on the Tyrrhenian Sea extending to the Apennines. Lazio, Apulia, Molise, and Basilicata border this region. The region is characterized topographically by the large sweeping plain near Naples and the adjacent mountainous area.
Mount Vesuvius may be the best-known landmark of the region as it destroyed Pompeii in A.D. 79. Historically, this is a very ancient region. Campania was colonized by the Greeks at the beginning of the 8th century B.C. Italic tribes and later the Romans also flourished here. In the Middles Ages, Naples became the capital of the kingdom of Sicily and dominated Southern Italy until 1860. Naples has a lot to offer visitors. One can see underground Greco-Roman ruins in Naples, Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque Churches, as well as some very impressive castles. For more information on site seeing or learning about Naples, the USO offers an inexpensive E-guide of Naples.

Other sites to see around the Naples area:

Amalfi

This beautiful resort town was once a powerful medieval maritime republic that rivalled both Venice and Genoa for commercial supremacy of the Mediterranean. The modern compass was supposedly invented here in the Middle Ages. To visit includes the Byzantine style Cathedral with bronze doors fashioned in Constantinople and the ancient medieval vicoletti or streets that are enchantingly rustic. Many visitors of this town today enjoy the beaches and relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere that Amalfi has to offer. In the nearby Amalfi Coast town of Vietri, wonderful ceramics are made.


Benevento

The eastern part of the Campania Region is dominated by the town of Benevento. Good wine and cuisine are common here.
The town of Benevento offers its visitors both Roman and Medieval ruins. The surrounding areas of Benevento offer visitors the chance to visit several medieval castles and churches. Folklore is also strong here, as people believe that Benevento was and still is inhabited by witches.

Campi Flegrei
Located just Northwest of Naples, this region encompasses the towns of Baia, Bacoli, Cuma, Miseno, and Pozzuoli.
Campi Flegrei man burning fields and owes its name to the plethora of volcanoes that form the land base. This is a very volcanically active region. Two sites that shouldn t be missed include the Solfatara Volcano and Lago d Averno, Homers ancient entryway to Hades.

Capri

As the most famous isle of the bay of Naples, Capri is well worth a visit. To see includes the enchanting Blue Grotto, the Villa San Michele, and the Villa of Tiberius. The panorama, the vegetation, and the mesmerizing waters surrounding Capri make this isle the jewel of the Mediterranean. Overnight visitors may choose to stay in either the small town of Capri or the equally small town of Anacapri.

Caserta

This town was created in the 18th century around the famous Royal Palace. The Royal palace of Caserta was based upon the designs of the palace of Versailles. The palace s lush and attractive gardens sprawl out for over a mile. The claim to fame of this palace is for having been the Allied Headquarters for a brief period in WW II and for having been utilized as a giant prop for the film Star Wars. Nearby the modern town of Caserta is Caserta Vecchia (Old Caserta). Caserta Vecchia is worth a visit for its medieval castle and borgo.

Cuma

This ancient city was founded in the 8th century B.C. and is believed to be the first Greek colony of Western Europe.
As one of the most powerful Greek city-states of Italy, Cuma was the home of the Sybil, the diviner of the will of Apollo and even Hades. To see here includes the Grotto of the Sybil, the Temple of Apollo, the Temple of Zeus, and the underground passageways constructed. One can read about this ancient city in Virgil s great epic Aeneid.

Ischia

This island is the largest island in the Bay of Naples and is famous for its thermal spas and mud baths.
There are many interesting sites to see here including an archaeological museum, medieval era churches, and the towering volcano of Mount Epomeo.


Paestum

On the outskirts of the modern town lies ancient Paestum.
Paestum, founded by the Greeks in the 7th century B.C. as Posedonia, has three outstanding Doric temples from the 6th and 5th centuries B.C. The so-called Temple Of Neptune, actually dedicated to Hera, may be the world s best-preserved Greek Doric style temple. Greeks, Italian Lucans and Romans all played a part in making this ancient town important for more than 1,000 years. The ancient Greeks believed that Jason and the Argonauts sailed up the nearby Sele river looking for the Golden Fleece. There is a 7th century fertility shrine along the riverbanks.

Pompeii

This may be the most famous tourist site in the Campania Region. Pompeii was buried by volcanic ash and rock during the great explosion of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. Greeks, Italic Oscans, Samnites, Etruscans, and finally Romans all had a hand in making this town an important cultural trade center of the Roman Empire. Excavations began under the Bourbon King of Naples in 1748 and have lasted to this very day. With over 30% of the ancient city still to be discovered, visitors may enjoy viewing ancient theaters, dwellings, stores, temples, and even bodies that were petrified! There is also the nearby ruins of Herculaneum, Stabiae, and Villa Oplontis that are in a similar state of preservation. Many experts say that Herculaneum is even better preserved than Pompeii! Pompeii and its sister cities must be seen for any and all visitors to Southern Italy!

Positano

The buildings of this coastal town seem to cascade from the mountains to the sea in a kaleidoscope of colors. This town hosts famous cooking schools, has been featured in several prominent films, and is the true abode for the world s visiting jet-set crowd. The town is found along the Amalfi Coast and is absolutely beautiful.


Sorrento

This very popular resort town was the abode of the mythological sirens of Greek mythology. Today, this town offers fantastic views of the turquoise sea along with fabulous shops and tourist attractions. It is not unusual to see some of the world s most famous stars and celebrities pass through here. Inlaid wood and limoncello are the two most famous products of Sorrento.


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