Campania is the Italy of your wildest dreams: a rich, intense, hypnotic ragù of Arabesque street life, decadent palaces, pastel-hued villages and aria-inspiring vistas.
History & Art
Few corners of Europe can match Campania's cultural conundrums. Should you spend the morning waltzing through chandeliered Bourbon bedrooms or the frescoed villa of a Roman emperor's wife? And which of Caravaggio's canvases should you see first: the multiscene masterpiece inside Naples' Pio Monte della Misericordia, the violent showstopper inside the hilltop Palazzo Reale di Capodimonte, or the artist's swansong inside the belle-époque Palazzo Zevallos Stigliano? Campania's blockbuster heritage will set your imagination alight with its chariot grooves, frescoes and heart-stirring sculptures.
Mother Nature let loose in Italy's south, creating an adventure playground of rugged mountains, steaming fumaroles and ethereal coastal grottoes. Crank up the pulse rate cave-diving off the Capri coast or go mountain-bike riding and grotto roaming in the Parco Nazionale del Cilento, Vallo di Diano e Alburni. Need to bring it down a notch? Go horseback riding on the slopes of Mt Vesuvius, sail the Amalfi Coast or simply soak at a thermal beach on Ischia. The options may be many, but there's one constant: a landscape that is beautiful, diverse and undisputedly ethereal.
Campania is a never-ending feast; bubbling, wood-fired pizza in Naples, long lunches at Cilento agriturismi (farm-stay accommodation) and lavish pastries at celebrity-status Amalfi Coast pasticcerie (pastry shops). Should you tuck into coniglio all'Ischitana (Ischian-style rabbit) at an island trattoria? Pick up some famous colatura di alici (anchovy essence) in Cetara? Or just kick back with a crisp Falanghina and debate who has the creamier buffalo mozzarella – Caserta or Paestum?
Campanians have a way of making other Italians seem just a little uptight. Despite the demands of modern life, there is always time for an impromptu espresso at the local bar or a bite of juicy gossip on a sun-bleached piazza. One minute you're choosing produce at a street market, the next you're in the middle of a feverish discussion of the weather, the in-laws or Napoli's on-field performance. No one is a stranger for long, and a casual chiacchiera (chat) could easily land you at the bountiful table of your new best friend.