Cheap flights to Naples
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.
The Chiaia district boasts the PAN arts centre (60 Via Dei Mille) and a host of small independent contemporary art galleries. Lia Rumma's Naples outpost (the other is in Milan) is a suitably whitewashed space with changing exhibitions by the likes of Abramovic, Kounellis, Mulas and Zorio (12 Via Vannella Gaetani).
January is the last month to catch Il Bello e il Vero, an exhibition of 19th- and 20th-century Neapolitan sculpture amid the splendour of the San Domenico Maggiore complex, deep in the Centro Antico. Explore nine sections that span classical styles right up to more expressive and stark modern forms (Complesso Monumentale di San Domenico Maggiore, ilbellooilvero.it).
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
Just off the main shopping drag of Via Toledo is one of the city's most famous and buzzing street markets, Mercato Via Pignasecca, which sells all sorts of food and produce, including the freshest Neapolitan veg and lots of wriggling seafood. Open daily; morning only.
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.
Deemed by UNESCO as an outstanding example of a Mediterranean landscape, the Amalfi Coast is looking at its sparkling best at this time of year, with craggy, forest-framed mountains disappearing into the crystal-clear, aquamarine sea. amalfiscoast.com
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
Flee the downtown crowds by heading to the serene heights of the Posillipo Hill and the wonderful Parco Virgiliano for panoramic views, family-friendly charms and a running track (Viale Virgilio).