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Naples, Campania

Naples is the third-largest city in Italy. It is said to be the birthplace of pizza and spaghetti. While this may or may not be true, you certainly won't be disappointed by the high-quality pizzas offered for reasonable prices. Seafood is also excellent, especially in conjunction with pasta. Another specialty is sfogliatella, a pastry with ricotta cheese and candied fruit and a soft or flaky crust.

P. Garibaldi has many hotel options, some of them decent, some of them less than trustworthy. Whatever you do, never leave your passport at the front desk, or with anyone else, for that matter. Although there is extensive shopping, many of the vendors are black-market. When things are too cheap, it's usually illegal, and electronic devices are almost always a scam. Never buy electric devices from the street in Naples.

One of the main attractions is the Duomo, where the famed Festa di San Gennaro is held three times yearly. It was built in 1315, but has been renovated many times since then. The Capella del Tesoro di San Gennaro, a 17th-century bronze sculpture with an altar featuring Saint Gennaro's head and vials of his blood!

There are excavations of Greek and Roman roads that can be toured at Chiesa di Santa Restituta. The Museo Archeologico Nazionale is a 16th-century palazzo and barracks that now houses archaeological finds from Pompeii to Herculaneum, and sculptures, portraits, and statues from Roman Empire. The museum's Franese Bull is the largest extant ancient sculpture. Also try the Museo and Gallerie di Capidomonte, in a beautiful palazzo and surrounded by park. The National Picture Gallery including many masterpieces by Bellini, Titian, Caravaggio. Palazzo Reale features apartments and 18th-century castles. The Chiesa di Santa Chiara, built in the 1300s, needed to be rebuilt after bombings during World War II. Some of its highlights are medieval sarcophagi and tombs, as well as a lovely garden and monastery.

The Festa di San Gennaro, the biggest celebration in Naples, is held three times a year: September 19, December 16, and the first Saturday in May. On this day ,Saint Gennaro's blood, stored in the duomo, supposedly changes from congealed to liquid.

Naples is a major airport hub, and has three train stations, along with an extensive bus and ferry system. A "Giranapoli" ticket lets you use the bus, subway system, tram, and funicular for an unlimited time in the period you purchase.


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