Campania trip planner
A travel guide to help you plan the perfect trip to Italy's Campania region: From Naples to the Amalfi Coast, Capri to Pompeii, these are the glories of Southern Italy's Campania region
Campania tourism information:
Naples & Campania tours
The Campania region around Naples was the Hamptons of ancient Rome, where the rich built sumptuous summer villas and emperors went to retire.
The province also boasts some of Italy's most gorgeous scenery, from the seductive island of Capri to the singularly beautiful Amalfi Coast and its famed fishing towns-turns-resorts of Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello.
In Naples, you can delve into the 18th-century court of the Bourbons at their royal palace and theater, or pay homage to Caravaggio in one museum and ancient sculptors in another in between visiting baroque churches and sampling pizza in the very restaurant that invented it.
Top sights of Campania
2) The Amalfi Drive
From a base in Naples or resorty Sorrento, you can day-trip to visit one of the most destructive forces in western history, Mt. Vesuvius. A short train ride will take you to Pompeii and Herculaneum, two cities completely buried by the volcano's wrath in AD 79, frozen in time and offering an unparalleled glimpse into daily life almost 2,000 years ago.
To cycle back even further in time, head to southern Campania, where you can wander amid the columns of some of the most intact Greek temples in the world in the forgotten 5th-century BC colony of Paestum.
Featured articleBlogs - Reid's adventures in Campania
Up the Blue Grotto without a Paddle...or a Boat - An ill-advised swim in Capri's famous Blue Grotto.
The Saint & the Sea Monster - Sorrento's home-grown saint battles a sea serpent.
The Dangers of Dinner in Sorrento - Dining in a tourist town.
Sorrento: Equidistant from Everywhere You'd Rather Be - This popular Italian resort offers a great location...and that's about it.
The Road to Sorrento - A train ride through the Campagna heartland.
Secret Hotels of the Amalfi Coast & Capri - A few years ago for Budget Travel magazine, I scoured the fishing towns of the Amalfi Drive and the gorgeous nearby island of Capri to find and review a passel of hotels that charge two-star prices for million-dollar accommodations. I came up with nine outstanding hotels and B&Bs everywhere from the fabled coastal resorts of Amalfi and Positano to the vacation hotspots of Capri and Sorrento to smaller villages like Praiano and Anacapri.
Around the Bay of Naples
Naples - Naples is a distillation of Italy's glorious chaos, a city where the sun seems brighter, the food tastier (this is where pizza was invented), the traffic crazier, the baroque churches more elaborate, and the people more boisterously friendly. If you only visit Pompeii, you're missing half the story—the ruined ancient city's best sculptures, mosaics, and frescoes were long ago moved to Naples' stupendous Archaeology Museum. Then there are the dramatic Caravaggio canvases in the Capodimonte Galleries, the painted-tile cloisters of medieval Santa Chiara, the fancifully baroque Sansevero chapel, and the world-renowed opera house Teatro San Carlo, where primadonnas were invented (no, really)... » more
Mt. Vesuvius - The big bad volcano that made this region famous when it blew its stack in AD 79 and buried several surrounding cities, preserving them intact for later generations to discover and excavate... » more
The Phlegrean Fields - The area along the Bay of Naples where Sophia Loren was born, stretching north and west of the city, is a string of fishing towns, Greek oracle caves, lots of excellent Roman ruins (in Baia, Cuma, and Pozzuoli), and some odd volcanic phenomena (Solfatara and Pozzuoli)... » more
Capri - Capri is an island of seduction. It is four square miles of sharp lava blanketed with lush green foliage, white cube houses, and walls spilling over with bougainvillea. This Eden of oleander and jasmine is surrounded sparkling deep blue and green waters and eerily lit sea grottoes. Capri's sheer physical beauty and dreamy laid-back lifestyle has attracted sun-seekers for millennia, from Roman emperors to latter day hedonists... » more
South of Naples along the coast
The Amalfi Coast - I wouldn't do this fabled coastal string of fishing-villages-turned-resorts as a day trip. Better to spend a couple of days here—or at least one overnight—relaxing and enjoying the beach life of Positano, Amalfi, Ravello, or Sorrento after all those museums, churches, ruins, and art of Italy's big cities... » more
Paestum - Time (aided by centuries of malaria) forgot the crumbling ruins of this ancient Greek city founded in the 7th century BC. Then, in the 18th century, a road crew rediscovered a trio of remarkably well-preserved temples hidden among the weeds and poppies of Mozzarella country along Campania's southern Cliento coast.... » more
North of Naples and inland
The Reggia di Caserta - This sumptuous royal palace and ornate gardens are the Versailles of Italy, instantly recognizable to anyone who has seen it cast in recent films like Star Wars (Episodes I and II) as the royal palace on Naboo or—filling in for the Vatican both times—in Mission Impossible III and Angels & Demons... » more
- Campania is a region that lends itself well to home-basing/day-tripping mode of traveling. The two most convenient bases are the capital city of Naples and package tour–resort town of Sorrento.
Sorrento offers very little to see in town itself, but is better positioned for the Amalfi Coast and Capri, and is considerably safer and cleaner than Naples as a city.
Naples has a wealth of sightseeing and is cheaper. Base in whichever is closer to your own day-tripping dreams, or spend a few nights in each for ultimate convenience.
This material was last updated March 2011. All information was accurate at the time.
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