Founded around 600 B.C. by Greek settlers, Naples, aka the “City of the Sun,” is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places on Earth. Napoli, Italy’s third-largest city, boasts the largest historic city center in Europe, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and lies in the shadow of fabled Mount Vesuvius.
Featured Naples/Sorrento/Amalfi Coast Hotel
The past and present blend seamlessly in Naples, the birthplace of pizza, from the Castel dell’Ovo, the oldest castle in the city, to the National Archeological Museum, which has one of the world’s best collections of antiquities. Across the Bay of Naples lies Sorrento. Once a traditional stop on the “Grand Tour,” any Campania region itinerary should include stopping in Sorrento. Blessed with breathtaking Bay of Naples views from its clifftop perch, Sorrento’s historic center is a labyrinth of narrow alleys exuding old-world charm. Piazza Tasso, the heart of the city, overflows with bars, restaurants, cafés, and locals and visitors alike. Sorrento is also a gateway to the renowned Amalfi Coast. No trip to this part of Italy is complete without cruising the sheer cliffs of the Amalfi Coast, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The approximately 30-mile Amalfi Drive is dotted with some of the country’s most awe-inspiring scenery, including alluring beaches, terraced vineyards, cliffside lemon groves, and awe-inspiring villages such as Positano, Atrani, and Amalfi itself.
What to see
Naples: Piazza del Plebiscito – This elegant and iconic square is the largest in Naples and home to the Royal Palace of Naples and San Francesco di Paola Basilica. The pedestrian-only Piazza del Plebiscito is a popular gathering spot for both locals and visitors. Galleria Umberto I – This renowned public shopping gallery is located across from Teatro di San Carlo, the oldest opera house in the world, and is covered by a glass dome. Galleria Umberto I, built in the 19th century, boasts a plethora of shops, cafés, and restaurants, as well as the original mosaic floor. Lungomare Caracciolo – Feel the beat of the city and rhythm of the sea on Lungomare Caracciolo, Naples’ premier promenade. This seaside strip is lined with cafés and restaurants on one side and the Bay of Naples on the other and boasts stunning views of Mount Vesuvius and the island of Capri.
Sorrento: Piazza Tasso – The beating heart of Sorrento is named after the 16th-century poet Torquato Tasso and is where you will find a statue of Sorrento’s native son as well as a cornucopia of cafés, bars, and restaurants. Marina Grande – Tucked away under the cliffs, this picturesque harbor is the perfect place to relax. Laid-back Marina Grande is overflowing with seafood restaurants, pastel-colored houses and colorful wooden boats, and is one of the few places in Sorrento with a sandy beach.
Amalfi Coast: Positano – Picture-postcard-perfect Positano clings to a steep cliff and is one of the Amalfi Coast’s most-visited villages. Positano is a scenic paradise with dramatic views and home to Spiaggia Grande, a world-renowned beach; and iconic Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta, a historic church with a tiled dome that is home to a venerated 12th-century Byzantine Black Madonna. Amalfi – This historic and beautifully located town at the foot of Monte Cerreto on the shores of the Tyrrhenian is known as the “pearl of the Mediterranean.” Amalfi is dotted with ivory-colored buildings and teeming with narrow, serpentine streets. Its most-visited sight is the Duomo di Amalfi, a medieval cathedral located in the Piazza del Duomo. It is dedicated to Saint Andrew and houses his relics. Atrani – Although not as famous as other Amalfi Coast stars, Atrani is a stellar destination. Blessed with one of the best beaches and most enchanting settings on the Amalfi Coast, Atrani is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.
What to do
Daytrips: Pompeii – See where time stands still at Pompeii, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Italy’s most-visited attractions. This expansive archaeological site near Naples was once a thriving Roman city that was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Today, it is a well-preserved site where you will find ancient homes, temples, shops and more. Capri – Beautifully located in the Bay of Naples, Capri has been a popular island escape since Roman times and was home to Emperors Augustus and Tiberius. It is also home to the world-famous Blue Grotto, a sea cave whose water glows bright blue, and Villa Jovis, the former palace of Roman Emperor Tiberius.
When to Go
Spring and fall, shoulder seasons, are the best times to visit Naples, Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast. Summers can be uncomfortably hot and humid, and much of Italy goes on vacation in August.