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Naples is loud and brash, but one thing it isn’t is boring. Great food, world famous archaeological sites, and arguably Italy’s most picturesque coastline ensure that there is never a dull moment in this busy town. Pizza, ice cream, noisy vespas and towering volcanoes spring to mind when you mention Naples. And while this city doesn’t boast the elegance of rival destinations like Venice or Rome, it more than makes up for it in the culture stakes. Rome may have the Colosseum and the Pantheon, but Naples has Pompeii and Herculaneum; two Roman towns preserved forever by a volcanic eruption in 79 AD.
As you’d imagine, Naples’ museums are also fit to burst under the weight of antiquities on offer from these two marvellous archaeological gems. Oh, and the city’s old town is also a World Heritage Site, so be sure to give it a wonder. But with its mix of Arab, Spanish, French and Norman influences, it’s Naples’ cuisine that sets it head and shoulders of the competition. This is the home of pizza after all.
To experience the new family-friendly, traffic-free waterfront and pista ciclabile (cycle path) on two wheels, you can get into gear at Napoli Bike (121 Riviera di Chiaia) or right on the waterfront, where a few pizzerias have cannily parked wheels outside for patrons to use.
Take a walk to contemporary art gallery Palazzo Art delle i Napoli (PAN), housed in a pink 16th-century palace on Via dei Mille in smart Chiaia, to catch the end of the Warhol show and some cutting-edge photography. en-gb.facebook.com/palazzoartinapoli
Via San Gregorio Armeno is the place to view and buy Neapolitan nativity scenes ("presepi"). As Christmas approaches it's a popular place to pick up figurines of shepherds and view some contemporary celebs set in quirky tableaux. From late November the Pietrasanta church on Via Tribunali showcases the year's best creations.
Take a bus or the metro to the nearby coastal town of Pozzuoli to walk around a 4,000-year-old volcanic crater named Solfatara. The hot and eerie landscape has a hollow-sounding sulphurous crust, spluttering fumaroles and geysers, plus some ancient steam grottos with supposedly medicinal waters. comune.napoli.it