TRAVEL GUIDE CAMPANIA

Campania is one of the most populated regions of Italy but also one of the region of Italy with the largest number of sites recognized by UNESCO as world heritage: the Royal Castle of Caserta, the archaeological sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum, the historic center of Naples, the Amalfi Coast, the temples of Paestum and Velia and the Certosa di Padula. Campania is not just about art and culture, but also about nature, food and wine. Indeed, it is known worldwide for its buffalo mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes and the liquor of limoncello. The whole region offers a variety of landscapes with the national parks of Cilento or Vallo di Diano and its beautiful sandy beaches bordered by crystal clear waters, the rugged coastline of the Amalfi Coast with its fishing villages clinging to cliffs and the islands of Ischia, Capri or Procida famous for their natural beauty.
Naples
Naples unique and exuberant, captivates the visitor with popular local traditions such as the 'Tarantella' – Naples' famous folk dance – and 'smorfia', the Neapolitan's superstitious use of numerology to interpret dreams. Walking through the picturesque narrow streets of the Spanish quarter gives snapshots of Naples' life: the melodious accent of passers-by and shop owners, the mouth-watering smells emerging from the numerous trattorias. Wood-burning pizzerias at every street corner should come as no surprise – the pizza was of course born here. Naples is also a city rich in art and architecture, with numerous churches, palaces and museums to visit. Not to miss in the surroundings: Royal castle of Caserta
Pompeii and Herculaneum
Pompeii was founded in the 6th Century, but completely buried, along with Herculaneum and Stabiae, during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79AD. Forgotten for nearly sixteen hundred years, Pompeii was re-discovered by chance in 1748. Today, it is a prized archaeological gem, providing stunning evidence of the grandeur of the Roman Empire.
Cuma and Pozzuoli
Created in 720 BC, Cuma is the oldest greek colony of Occident. It's located in the Phlegreans fields near Pozzuoli. The archeological site of Cuma is famous for the "Antro della Sibilla". With its mineral waters, its fishing villages along the coast and its numerous archeological sites, the Phlegreans fields area is a must-see.
Not to miss: The seaside villages of Bacoli and Miseno, Pozzuoli, the view from Monte di Procida on the islands of Procida and Ischia, the lake of Averno and the Solfatara volcano.
Cilento
Cilento, Campania's nature reserve is famous for its National Wildlife Park, the fine quality of its produce and its beautiful unspoilt beaches. Cilento National Park is one of the vastest natural reserves of southern Italy offering wild nature and a variety of eco-systems spanning from the inland mountains to Cape Palinuro, characterized by marine caves and underwater paradise. The region is also famous for its production of dried figs, olive oil and wines.
Paestum
Paestum is today an important archaeological centre with three Greek-Doric temples and a Museum. The archaeological centre is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Besides offering the magnificent temples Paestum, it's also a beautiful seaside location. From Pisciotta to Palinuro, the uneven coast-road gives glimpses of the crystal clear waters of Tyrrhenian sea, creeks and superb beaches such as Caprioli, Palinuro, Castellabate and Marina di Camerota.
Amalfi coast
A panoramic coastal road connects the village of Vietri sul Mare to Sorrento passing by the charming fishing villages of the Amalfi Coast. Amalfi was the first of four maritime Italian republics that dominated trade in the Mediterranean, the others being Venice, Pisa and Genoa; Distinctive white painted houses and a magnificent Byzantine Duomo set Amalfi apart from its neighbours along the coast. Positano is the most westerly town on the Amalfi Coast. Its name is probably derived from that of Posides Spado, a roman libertine who built a number of luxury villas here in Classical times. Many celebrities have fallen in love with this charming town, among them the american writer John Steinbeck. He wrote: Nearly always when you find a place as beautiful as Positano, your impulse is to conceal it. You think, "If I tell, it will be crowded with tourists and they will ruin it, turn it into a honky-tonk and then the local people will get touristy and there's your lovely place gone to hell. Ravello looms over the Gulf of Salerno from its lofty perch. Walking through the narrow streets of old Ravello one gets a sense of a place imbued with history and tradition. Adopted city of the classical music world, Ravello organises its own International Festival every summer. Down the centuries, Ravello has always attracted celebrities and artists – André Gide and Maurits Escher for example - in search of inspiration. It is here that Wagner completed his "Parsifal". Other villages of the Amalfi coast like Vietri, Cetara, Raito or Minori should not be missed.

Peninsula of Sorrento
The Peninsula of Sorrento separates the gulf of Naples from the north to the gulf of Salerno to the south. Drive along the panoramic coastal road to visit the village of Massa Lubrense, the city of Sorrento and to admire the breathtaking views over Capri island, the gulf of Naples and Salerno.
Ischia, Capri, Procida
The 'Blue Island' is situated a few miles off the coast of Sorrento. It has been celebrated for its beauty for thousands of years. Whitewashed villages, quiet coves bordered by crystal-clear waters, incredibly varied landscape, famous visitors and luxury designer shopping have given Capri worldwide renown. Ischia is a volcanic island in the Gulf of Naples; here natural resources have been put to good use: it is one of the best-known hydro-thermo-climatic resorts in Italy and indeed the world. Ischia will surprise you with the diversity of its landscapes, with pine forests on its eastern side, and charming towns like Ischia itself and Casamicciola. Its lively atmosphere in summertime and the mild climate in winter make this island a place worth visiting at any time of year. The small island of Procida lies in the Bay of Naples. Kept away from the mass tourism, Procida successfully managed over the years to keep its traditions and authentic atmosphere.

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USEFUL INFORMATION

VISIT In a region where art is all around, an 'Arte Card' comes in handy. Arte Card is a pass, valid for 3 or 7 days, giving access to museums, archaeological and tourist sites at discounted rates. It also entitles the holder to free travel to these places. They can be purchased at railway stations, newsagents and airports.
GETTING ABOUT The best way to explore this region is by car. Cars can be hired at Naples airport or in the cities themselves. Parking tickets can often be purchased from newsagents and tobacconists. If you only plan to stay in Naples, however, there will be no need as the city and its suburbs have an excellent public transport network. There are underground, tram, train and bus services as well as ferries to the nearby islands. Incidentally, Naples underground has recently received a much praised artistic overhaul of its stations. If you plan to stay on the Amalfi coast, SITA buses provide a reliable and comfortable alternative means of discovering the area. The coast can be congested, especially in summer. In season, a frequent boat service known as "Metro del Mare" serves the coast, linking Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, Salerno and Capri.
GETTING THERE By plane: Naples International Airport
By train: Naples Central Station or Salerno