Naples

Naples is like the unruly child of the family, when compared with the other large cities in Italy. Milan has the economic superiority; Florence, the art; Venice, the quirky charm; and Rome, the majesty. Sure, Naples Italy has all these things on display too, but in lesser degrees. What Naples has is the vitality of youth, the energy of being untethered from the past. History has its place, but one step into the vibrant Piazza Bellini and you can't help but get the feeling that Naples is trying to forge a different, more modern identity. In fact, the segment of the city's past which seems to inspire the most historical reverence is in the kitchen - you cannot walk into a Naples Italy restaurant without finding a number of traditional Neapolitan dishes on the menu.

Naples Italy Vacations
Naples Italy Vacations

Of all the major cities in Italy, Naples is the least dependent on tourism - regardless of recent cultural renovations and a wealth of city funds going towards urban renewal and crackdown on crime. Part of the Neapolitan allure is the comparative lack of tourists, even in peak season. On the streets of Naples, you get a truer glimpse into the everyday life of urban Italians. Partially due to its rough reputation as a center of corruption and crime, the city has a lack of pretension that can be refreshing after visiting some of Italy's other tourist centers.

One of the reasons Naples Italy is developing so uniquely is the recent influx of a younger generation, many from sleepy nearby villages that have relocated to the big city and don't feel the same need to pay homage to the past. The Renaissance touched down here, to be sure, but not with the same cyclonic fervor that it did in Florence or Rome. Nowhere is this chapter of the history of Naples Italy made clearer than with a brief glance at the most popular museums in town. Palazzo delle Arti Napoli and Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina both showcase contemporary art, free of charge.

Of course, there are still a few remnants of the past. Every Italian city has its churches and palaces, and Naples holds theirs in an awkward but amicable embrace. The Royal Palace is directly in the heart of the city, offering royal apartments, baroque floors and a gigantic library of over a million volumes, many documenting the early history of Naples Italy. The Cappella San Severo is almost ridiculous in its decoration, with over the top sculptures and frescoes lining the chapel. The Castle of the Egg is a giant fortress overlooking the Gulf of Naples and like much of the history of Naples Italy, the fortified walls have their roots in Greek legend. The foundation for the castle was rumored to be a mysterious and enchanted egg lying on the ocean floor. If the egg breaks, Naples spills into the water.

Even the smallest Naples Italy restaurant will have the same specialty: pizza. The first combination of tomato, basil, olive oil and mozzarella, constructed to mirror the colors of the flag of the kingdom of Italy, was on Neapolitan soil. A visit without sampling a slice is borderline heresy. Menus also hold the ubiquitous pasta dishes found in Italy, though Neapolitan wine is a bit of a departure - those grown in the volcanic outskirts of Pompeii replace the delicate Tuscan grapes of the north. These stronger vintages can be found in nearly every Naples Italy restaurant, so beware the consequences.

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