JOURNEY INTO THE PAST
A trip to Italy’s third-largest city is the chance to see some of the world’s most astounding ancient Graeco-Roman history. To whet your appetite, start with the Museo Archeologico Nazionale’s collection of statues, frescoes and mosaics from Pompeii and the smaller town of Herculaneum (Ercolano). But there’s nothing quite like wandering down the ancient streets of Pompeii itself. This once-thriving city – destroyed and buried under Vesuvius’ volcanic lava – is still amazingly intact and all the more haunting for it. Step into temples, grand houses and the town’s amphitheatre. Peek into shops, cafés and a brothel. In the summer months, aim to go in the early morning ¬- or late afternoon, when the heat of the day leaves the town bathed in golden light.
And once you’re back in Naples, there are still layers and layers of beguiling history to explore. Those with a taste for the macabre can pay a visit to the charnel house at Fontanelle Cemetery, or the skulls at the Catacombe di San Gennaro. Don’t miss the neo-Gothic facade of Naples’ cathedral (Duomo) and the 4th-century mosaics inside. And for art on a masterful scale, take a look at Caravaggio’s handiwork in the Pio Monte della Misericordia. Then make your way back onto the bustling streets for a life-affirming espresso.