The Paradoxical City
Not necessarily the top destination for many tourists and foreigners visiting Italy, but the gritty city of Naples has a lot more to offer than meets the initial unapproving eye. Sure, some quarters are not as pristine as the rest of Italy, graffiti offering a modern take on typical Italian frescoes, but you won't be disappointed if you're looking for something a little more rough and ready. Naples has had bad press, but what it does offer is a contemporary Italian lifestyle — a city founded by the Greeks all those centuries ago, it sits between a sleeping volcano and the Campi Flegrei caldera, offering its locals and visitors a real cosmopolitan experience.
Why should I choose Naples for my year abroad?
The streets in this city are buzzing with people, cultures and charm. No two neighbourhoods look the same, and you can just as easily walk through the smarter areas (Via Toledo
and Parco di Capodimonte
) only to take a sharp left into a rather more seedy affair. Hence the beauty of Naples, and why its people and visitors love it.
Naples offers loads to do: check out the Castelnuovo castle lodged on the shore, with some interesting art collections. The Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte is not to be missed by any means, as it is home to a large collection of Renaissance and Baroque art. For the historians among you, plan a visit to Napoli Sotterranea and witness the remains of the Roman city, which lie underneath the San Lorenzo Maggiore church. The tunnels also served as bomb shelters during WWII.
Explorers will be keen to conquer the Grotta di Seiano
, an artificial cave that leads onto a Greek theatre. With so much to do, you'll have worked up a bit of an appetite and what with being at pizza's birthplace, you'll no doubt want to try the famously crisp-thin wood-fired Neapolitan crust. Go to Pizzeria Brandi, where the original tomato and cheese disc was created all those years ago! Mozzarella is also from here, so make the most of the freshest on offer!
Naples is home to a vibrant nightlife, with many students hitting the town around Piazza Bellini, Piazza Santa Maria la Nova and Piazza San Domenico Maggiore. A town that represents perhaps a more cosmopolitan, culturally diverse Italy
; one thing's for sure, you won't be disappointed with so much to do, so much to see and so much to experience in this contradictory town!