Widen your gaze when it comes to this well known Italian corner of the world and you could be rubbing shoulders with bloodthirsty saints and archaeological greats without being trampled on the tourist trail.
The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD is most associated with the town of Pompeii but Herculaneum was also engulfed in volcanic ash and pumice when the volcano erupted.
A short drive south from Naples will take you to ‘Pompeii’s little sister’, which easily matches its famous sibling for the completeness of its preservation and is significantly less saturated with tourists.
A drive west from Naples will take you to the historic peninsula of Campi Flegrei. The port town of Pozzuoli boasts the third largest amphitheatre in Italy and the archaeological remains of an ancient marketplace, the Macellum of Pozzuoli.
Nearby Cuma, founded in the 8th century and mentioned in Virgil’s Book Six of the Aeneid, is the most ancient western Greek colony and its archaeological park is a must-see.
Could you really say you’d been to Naples without visiting Pompeii? To avoid the tourist rush, go out of season and witness the preserved Roman town and life of its citizens without distraction.
Allow half a day to take it all in and even more if you fancy a stroll up Mount Vesuvius, where you can peer into the crater from whence the destruction was unleashed.
Many choose to take a boat to one of the islands off the coast on Naples in search of a prime swimming spot, but you’ll find the best beaches in Capo Miseno.
As well as great swimming, Capo Miseno beach offers a breath-taking view over the Gulf of Naples and the islands of Ischia and Procida, and is away from the tourist trail.
Sitting at the eastern summit of Mount Vesuvius, you’ll find the town of San Gennaro, home to early Christian burial grounds dating back to the second century AD,
Paintings are still visible on the walls of the catacombs, the resting place of Naples’ patron, San Gennaro. On three occasions every year, in Naples cathedral, the blood of the saint apparently liquefies in front of a waiting crowd.