Set around an idyllic bay in the shadow of Vesuvius, Naples is southern Italy’s great city, pulsing with life and crammed with wonderful buildings and museums. It’s a big, sprawling city with horrendous traffic, so be prepared to walk, the best way to serendipitous discoveries and fabulous views. Don’t miss Spaccanapoli, the name given to the grid plan of ancient streets that make up the centro storico, that slices through the city. This is quintessential Naples, lined with churches, palazzi and idiosyncratic shops.
Up the hill lies the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, housing one of the world’s most important classical collections of sculptures, mosaics, wall paintings and mosaics, much of it found in Pompeii, an hour’s journey from Naples. Two great religious sites are must-sees too, the Carthusian complex of San Martino high above the city, and the great Franciscan church of Santa Chiara, with its beautiful 14th-century cloister, embellished with maiolica tiles. Other sights include the Duomo, Capodimonte, with its park and museum; the Palazzo Reale and the waterfront, that curves round to Mergellina, noted for its harbour and ramshackle charm.