Naples, once considered an architectural paragon and premier place to visit, is not recommended today. The city has lost its charm due to traffic jams, pollution, huge unemployment, and a high crime rate.
Herculaneum, near Naples, has been likened to a time capsule buried beneath more than sixty feet of ash when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. Four thousand people had lived there on the seaside with a view of the Bay of Naples. Now it sits in a pit surrounded by the modern town of Ercolano, a suburb of Naples, and a series of greenhouses. Herculaneum, like Pompeii, not far away, is like a peepshow into the past.
The Isle of Capri has captured the imagination of Roman emperors and modern day tourists. It is reached by steamer or hydrofoil from Naples. The steamer takes one-and-a-half hours, the hydrofoil about forty minutes. The island offers a variety of landscapes, grottos, sea caverns, and the remains of the Emperor Tiberius’ lavish villa on top of Monte Tiberio.
Capri is a major tourist attraction because of its rugged topography, several secluded coves suitable for year-round sunning and swimming and its Blue Grotto. The Grotto encloses a small body of water with an opening so small that it must be entered by rowboat. Inside, the water is a luminous blue. Needless to say, Capri is jammed during the summer high season. Two small towns, Capri, and above it, Anacapri, occupy the island.
Besides Rome the other major Italian cities are Milan (1.7 million); Naples (1.3 million), sitting above the toe of the boot; and Turin (1.15 million) in the industrial north, capital of Piedmont region (the Fiat auto originates there).
Naples Subway Map Photo Gallery
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