6 Exciting Things to Do in Naples and Pompeii | KCET
6 Exciting Things to Do in Naples and Pompeii
With its tangled traffic and little open space, Southern Italy's leading city of Naples may seem more like a urban jungle than a charming destination at first glance. But travel guide Rick Steves encourages travelers to plunge a little deeper, to see the fascinating collection of museums, churches, and eclectic architecture Naples has to offer.
Steves uncovers the city's charm when he roams through its neighborhoods, markets, and beyond in this episode of "Rick Steves Europe." He also ventures outside the city to show us Europe's only active volcano and the town it once buried in ash. Along the way, he guides on what to see and do to get the most authentic glimpse of the Neapolitan love for life, food, and family. Let's recap some of his adventures.
Keep on travelling with tips from Steves' show, which airs Monday through Thursday nights at 7:30 p.m.
1. Walk through Naples' historic neighborhoods
To fully capture the fun-loving and easy-going spirit of the city, Steves suggests strolling through its historic core -- starting from the city's main drag, Spaccanapoli (meaning "Split Naples"). This straight promenade dates from ancient Greek times and provides access to many of Naples' piazzas, chapels, and quarters.
As you walk the city's narrow streets, you'll see Neapolitan life at its most authentic: kids playing soccer in the streets, families on their small apartment balconies, and local shops open for business.
Though the city is generally much safer than it used to be, Steves does caution travelers to be wary of hasty motorists, con artists, and pick pockets. As with any city, it's better to be safe than sorry.
2. Eat pizza in its birthplace
No trip to Naples would be complete without a taste of an authentic piece of pizza; the city is, after all, the birthplace of this favorite snack. And for pizza purists, the Antica Pizzeria da Michele, located on Via Cesare Sersale, is THE place to go. Their menu is simple with just two variations: margherita (tomato sauce, mozzarella, and a green basil garnish) and marinara (tomato sauce, oregano, and garlic, no cheese). But by the looks of it, it's no wonder it's a pizza lover's favorite...Yum!
3. Climb Mt. Vesuvius
Venturing outside the city center, Steves encourages travelers to check out mainland Europe's only active volcano: Mt. Vesuvius. Getting there is easy with the Bay of Naples' commuter train called the Circumvesuviana. A shuttle van picks up tourists at the Pompeii station and drops them off near the volcano. From there, a half hour hike gets you to the summit, where you'll get amazing views of its surroundings.
4. Roam the ruins of Pompeii
Though Mt. Vesuvius is sleepy right now, its most notable eruption happened in 79 A.D., when the volcano exploded and buried the nearby city of Pompeii and its inhabitants under 30 feet of volcanic ash. Pompeii, which was once a thriving Roman port town, was rediscovered in the 1600s. Today, excavations offer archaeologists and visitors an accurate look at what Roman life was like.
Visitors can walk through the ruins of this well-organized town, including its main square, public bath, homes, and much more.
5. See Pompeian artifacts at the National Archeological Museum
For the best collection of Pompeian art and artifacts recovered from the excavations, you'll want to head back to Naples to the National Archeological Museum. There, the collection ranges from grand bronze sculptures to beautifully detailed mosaics, all of which give a sense of the sophistication and wealth the city and its people possessed.
6. Sample a unique Neapolitan pastry
Wrap up a day of sightseeing with a sweet ending at the elegant Gran Caffé Gambrinus, located on Piazza Trieste e Trento. With its 19th century charm, this elegant coffeehouse is a great spot to try sfogliatella -- a crispy Neapolitan pastry that's filled with sweet ricotta cheese. Enjoy it standing or pay a little extra to sit down and enjoy in true high-society fashion. Just like the intellectuals, movers and shakers did during the café's heyday.
Get the free PBS App
Fifteenth-century Florence was the home of the Renaissance and the birthplace of our modern world. In this first of two episodes, we gaze into the self-assured eyes of Michelangelo's David, enjoy Botticelli's Birth of Venus, delve into the 3-D wonders of Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise, appreciate Fra Angelico's serene beauty, and climb the dome that kicked off the Renaissance. Then we cross the Arno to where Florentine artisans live, work, and eat ... very well.
In this second of a two episodes on Florence, we enjoy more of the exquisite artistic treasures of the city that propelled Europe out of the Middle Ages. Then we side-trip to a couple of rival cities and cultural capitals in their own right, Pisa and Lucca, where we'll marvel at a tipsy tower, circle a city on its ramparts, and enjoy some Puccini in his hometown.
In Paris, amidst all of its grandeur, the little joys of life are still embraced. In this first of two episodes on Paris, we cruise the Seine River, visit Napoleon's tomb, and take in the Louvre. Then we feel the pulse of Paris-shopping in village-like neighborhoods, attending church in a grand pipe organ loft, and celebrating the mother of all revolutions with a big, patriotic Bastille Day bang.
In this second of two episodes on Europe's "City of Light," we ride a unicorn into the Middle Ages at the Cluny Museum, take a midnight Paris joyride in a classic car, get an extremely close-up look at heavenly stained glass in Sainte-Chapelle, go on a tombstone pilgrimage at Pere Lachaise Cemetery, and savor the Parisian cafe scene. Few cites are so confident in their expertise in good living-and as travelers, we get to share in that uniquely Parisian joie de vivre.
Hiking through the Cumbrian Lake District-England's green and pristine mountain playground-we admire idyllic lakes, discover misty waterfalls, tour a slate mine, and conquer stony summits. And we'll meet the locals-and their beloved dogs and sheep-everywhere. Then we play a little cricket, hike Hadrian's Wall, and are dazzled by Durham's Norman cathedral.
After sorting through the monuments of Venice's powerful past, we trace its decline from Europe's most powerful city to its most hedonistic one. We cruise the Grand Canal, luxuriate in a venerable cafe, and savor fresh fish canalside with Venetian friends. Becoming as anonymous as possible in this city of masks, we'll be dazzled by masterpieces of the Venetian Renaissance and get intimate with the city of Casanova...on a gondola under the moonlight.
The first episode in this three-part mini-series distills Rick Steves' 30 years of travel experience into 30 minutes of practical advice on how to have a fun, affordable, and culturally broadening trip to Europe. Shot on location in Amsterdam, Germany's Rhineland, Venice, Siena, the Italian Riviera, the Swiss Alps, Paris, and London, these episodes cover Rick's favorite 3,000-mile European loop while providing viewers with essential travel skills.
The second episode in this three-part mini-series distills Rick Steves' 30 years of travel experience into 30 minutes of practical advice on how to have a fun, affordable, and culturally broadening trip to Europe. Shot on location in Amsterdam, Germany's Rhineland, Venice, Siena, the Italian Riviera, the Swiss Alps, Paris, and London, these episodes cover Rick's favorite 3,000-mile European loop while providing viewers with essential travel skills.
The last episode in this three-part mini-series distills Rick Steves' 30 years of travel experience into 30 minutes of practical advice on how to have a fun, affordable, and culturally broadening trip to Europe. Shot on location in Amsterdam, Germany's Rhineland, Venice, Siena, the Italian Riviera, the Swiss Alps, Paris, and London,these episodes cover Rick's favorite 3,000-mile European loop while providing viewers with essential travel skills.
From the port of Kusadasi, we wander the streets of ancient Ephesus, soak in a natural spa at Pamukkale, learn why the dervishes whirl at Konya, munch lunch in a Turkish pizzeria, and cruise the Mediterranean on a traditional Turkish gulet from Antalya. Turkey is a mighty nation whose ancient heritage, Muslim faith, and western ways are coming together...and we'll see how.
Side-tripping from Paris into the Ile-de-France, we indulge in the world of royal and aristocratic extravagance in the pre-Revolutionary playground of France's elite. We explore Versailles, Europe's palace of palaces; exquisite Vaux le Vicomte; and extravagant Fontainebleau, home to centuries of French rulers. We'll also marvel at the glass and statuary of Chartres cathedral and dine like kings.
We start in Jerusalem, alive with religious tradition and passion - Christian, Muslim, and Jewish. We then visit cosmopolitan Tel Aviv, with its in-love-with-life beaches; ponder the sad fortress of Masada; and join pilgrims at biblical sights around the Sea of Galilee. We'll also pay our respects at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, drop into an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, and savor the local cuisine.
In the shadow of Venice, we visit three great cities. Padua is famed for its venerable university, precious Giotto frescoes, and pilgrim-packed Basilica. Verona is a hit with aficionados of Roman ruins and Romeo and Juliet fans. And Ravenna, with its shimmering mosaics, was once the western bastion of the Byzantine Empire. We enliven each stop with a tasty dose of Italian dolce vita.
As recently as a century ago, scientists doubted whether the universe extended beyond our own Milky Way — until astronomer Edwin Hubble, working with the world’s most powerful telescope discovered just how vast the universe is.KCET Original
Scientists and doctors are embracing alternative concepts that Indigenous peoples have practiced for thousands of years, by using medicinal plant knowledge that informed much our pharmacopeia.KCET Original
Explore the lasting impact of the Shindana Toy Company, created out of the need for community empowerment following the 1965 Watts uprising, whose ethnically correct black dolls forever changed the American doll industry.KCET Original
The environmental costs of timber extraction and damming have reached a tipping point in the North Coast region of California.KCET Original
As California deals with the fallout of a global waste crisis, plastic manufacturers continue to spread misleading information about recycling, while spending big on lobbying efforts to keep their products on the shelves.KCET Original
As Phryne delves into an investigation, she remembers her own days in Paris and her first love.
George heads Down Under during fire season to see if climate change is slowly causing Australia to become uninhabitable.
Phryne investigates the puzzling death of a magazine columnist and author of fairy stories.
Sonia Warshawski, a Holocaust survivor, is served an eviction notice for her tailor shop, which has thrived for 35 years. She must choose between setting up a new shop or retiring.