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Naples is a stunning and historic city in southern Italy - it is the third-largest city after Rome and Milan. It boasts a long history having been first founded by the Greeks in the first millennium BC making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It is a crazy city that offers an adventure and atmosphere that few European cities ever do.

If one is short on time in Italy, then Naples is certainly one of the Italian cities to consider visiting instead of Rome. Naples is also reputed to be the home of Pizza, what better place to learn how to make a truly authentic Italian pizza than Naples - the city that gave rise to it?

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Naples - One Of The World's Most Historic Cities

A settlement was founded there called Parthenope in the eighth century BC and was later refounded as Neapolis in the 6th century BC. It was then one of the important parts of Magna Graecia and was a significant cultural center during Roman rule.

  • Founded: Over A Thousand Years Ago
  • Greek: It Was Originally A Greek City

In addition to its rich Greek and Roman history, it continued as an important Italian city in the Middle Ages. It was the capital of the Duchy of Naples, the Kingdom of Naples, and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies until Italy was unified, and the capital moved to Rome.

  • Historic Capital: Of The Duchy of Naples, the Kingdom of Naples, and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies

It was an important center of humanism and the Enlightenment and the capital of the Baroque.

  • Gateway: To Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Vesuvius

Today the historic city center of Naples is the largest of its kind in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Naples is also the gateway to Pompeii and Herculaneum a short train ride out of the city.

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The Mediterranean and Italian Vibe of Naples

The vibe of Naples is unlike other cities in Europe. If one first travels to cities like London, Amsterdam, and Berlin before visiting Naples, one may be in for a cultural shock. The driving is chaotic, the weather is hot (in summer), and the streets can be a little dirty and even a bit dangerous (watch out for pickpockets).

It is not every day one finds a city full of contrasting superlatives. People who visit India tend to describe it in superlatives, and Naples is a city in Europe where many may do the same. One will need to keep one's whits while crossing the road and will have to excuse the sometimes considerable amount of trash littering parts of the city. But at the same time, there is a charm and atmosphere one just can't find in Europe outside the Mediterranean.

  • Pickpockets: Watch Out For Pickpockets and Thieves In Naples
  • Evening: When Naples Comes Alive

But come the evening and one will experience the real vibe of southern Italy. In the historic center, everyone enjoys beers, wine, Aperol Spritz, and the best of Italy's Neapolitan cuisine. Enjoy the finest Italian pasta and pizzas. In fact, pizzas originated in Naples (as did many other Italy dishes).

  • Pizzas: Originated In Naples (Or So Neapolitans Claim)

More restaurants in this area have earned stars from the Michelin Guide than any other province in Italy.

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What To Do While In Naples

Besides visiting Pompeii and Herculaneum, there are far too many things to see and do while in Naples. One's activities are going to center around walking and discovering the many eye-catching historic districts and buildings of the city and enjoying the many restaurants and cafés.

  • Tip: What A Classic Italian Opera While In Naples
  • Tour: The Best Way To See Historic Naples Is With A Guided Walking Tour

The best time to really feel the vibe of the city is after sundown - in the evening the city is transformed and the streets are bustling with life.

One needs to be mentally prepared for Naples - as Lonely Planet puts it "Naples is both chaotic and cultured, opulent and gritty, exuberant and understated, with architectural gems to discover around every corner."

If one is enamored by Italian cuisine, then one is sure to get lost in Naples. The mouth-watering culinary traditions of the city are enough to ensnare any traveler.