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For an ultra-concentrated dose of the real Italy, you’ve got to include Naples in your travel plan. Naples is not for the faint of heart; the maze of litter-strewn boulevards is defended by daredevil moped drivers. This can be jarring at first, but there’s an utterly unique charm that lies just beneath the surface. Jump headfirst into one of Italy’s most unique cities and you’ll be richly rewarded with picture-perfect views, unparalleled pizza, and encounters with some of the friendliest people in the country. In a living city like Naples, there’s never a dull moment. Women hang their laundry over the heads of pizza munching locals; kids kick soccer balls in crumbling piazzas, providing entertainment to nearby espresso sippers; fishmongers hawk their wares to hungry home cooks. It's a picture show of sights, sounds, and smells to be taken in—and it can only be seen here.
With an open mind and a spirit of adventure, travelers will discover a treasure trove of history and culture in Naples. The city center is deserving of its UNESCO World Heritage status; it was originally founded by the Greeks and has grown and morphed over its tumultuous three millennia. That ancient tradition is still evident in the chaotic streets that run every which way, shaped by earthquakes and conquests, a study in organic urban form. A wander through Naples’ plazas and alleyways is like a history lesson in itself, but the excellent Archaeological Museum provides a more structured look at antiquity. Despite all this historical charm, Naples is really a city of now, and there’s never been a better time to visit.