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Naples, Italy: Street Life and Vesuvius

Naples

Although it’s a fairly dirty port city, Naples has always impressed travelers with its beautiful bay and setting. Nearby Mount Vesuvius forms the backdrop to the city and bay. Naples is the home of Pulcinella (the ancestor of Punch and Judy), the Great Caruso and pizza. It has benefited in recent years from an energetic mayor who has instituted a number of tourist-friendly programs, including closing off a number of piazzas to vehicular traffic, extending museum hours and cleaning up the main port of Molo Beverello, where boats leave for the nearby islands. Naples has many museums that are worth a visit. Among the standouts are the National Archaeological Museum (Greek artifacts and Roman murals, coins and pottery, much of it from nearby Pompeii), the Museo Nazionale della Ceramica (pottery) and the Museo and Galleria di Capodimonte with works by Renaissance and baroque masters (note the impressive ceiling). There are also several castles of note (including Maschio Angioino, Castel dell’Ovo and Sant’Elmo) and two royal palaces (one at Piazza Plebiscito, where you can visit the royal apartments, and another at Capodimonte, where you can see a good museum and walk through the manicured grounds). Naples is 144 mi/232 km southeast of Rome.

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