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Top Rated Attractions in Naples

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Archaeological Areas of Pompeii

Buried under layers of ash and rock for over 1500 years, the archaeological remains of Pompeii, Herculaneum and the Villa Oplontis at Torre Annunziata serve as windows into the past. The Roman town of Pompeii was buried alongside the summer retreat of Herculaneum and numerous lavish villas when Vesuvius erupted on the 24th of August, 79 CE. Excavations began full-swing in the mid-18th Century, although the site was discovered several years before in the 16th Century. Frozen in time, these well-preserved vestiges of a once-prosperous civilization are a vivid reflection of the day-to-day lives of its people. While the remnants of Pompeii and Herculaneum present a more generalized picture of Roman society, the Villa Oplontis depicts the opulent lifestyle enjoyed by the rich. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata, the baths, temples, burial sites, theaters and homes of Pompeii offer an invaluable insight into the history of the Roman Civilization.

Naples Underground

Hidden away beneath Naples' bustling Old Town is a world of wonder. Constructed over a period of 2,400 years, a series of tunnels, caves, and caverns exist underneath the city streets. Several of these were originally created by the Greeks who quarried tuft for construction, transforming the resulting hollow spaces into reservoirs and water cisterns. During WWII, some of these were repurposed for use as air-raid shelters. Across the ages, each civilization built upon the existing network of tunnels, finding new ways to interweave their lives above ground with the world beneath. Far from being forlorn and featureless, this subterranean labyrinth is riddled with the remains of Nero's lost theater, aqueducts, places of worship, catacombs, and many more veiled pieces of Naples' long and eventful history.

Mount Vesuvius

Partially surrounded by the caldera of the ancient Mount Somma, Vesuvius looms over the Gulf of Naples, dominating the skyline for miles around. It is the only active volcano in mainland Europe, best known for the eruption of 79 CE that buried the flourishing Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Beneath layers of ash and rock, the remnants of this ancient civilization lay frozen in time, untouched by the rays of the sun for over 1500 years. Myths and legends surround Mount Vesuvius, hinting at the dangers that hide behind its bucolic exterior while adding to its allure. Perched on the western coast of Italy, Mount Vesuvius' formidable shape can be spotted from a vantage in the ruins of Pompeii.

Galleria Umberto I

Galleria Umberto I is the second gallery in Naples and the busiest one. Built during the urban renewal following a cholera epidemic and the Legge Speciale of 1885, the shopping mall is a majestic structure capped with a grand dome. Designed by architect Emanuele Rocco, it was then modified by Ernest Di Mauro and Antonio Curri. In 1890, the Salone Margherita (destined to become the famous singing café) and the Galleria were inaugurated. The architecture joins the new Renaissance facade with beautiful glasses and iron roofing.

Centro Musei delle Scienze Naturali e Fisiche

Centro Musei delle Scienze Naturali e Fisiche belongs to the University of Naples. It was founded in 1992 to study and record five different subdivisions: physics, anthropology, mineralogy, paleontology and zoology. The museum itself holds over 150,000 exhibits solely collected by the beginning of the 19th century, as well as other recent archaeological findings. Situated close to the University, the museum lies on the Mezzocannone street. The Zoology Museum is especially popular with children: they are often fascinated with life-sized animals.

Catacombe di San Gaudioso

Found beneath the presbytery and the apse of the church of Santa Maria della Sanita, the San Gaudioso Catacombs offer a fascinating glimpse into the ancient era and customs of Naples. Located in the Rione Sanità district, the catacombs lie in the northern portion of the city. Entering this former burial ground is akin to entering another world with an intricate maze of tunnels, chambers, and ancient tombs. A draw for many tourists is the tomb and relics of Saint Gaudiosus, a prominent Christian bishop. Come here for a unique experience with an amalgam of history and spirituality.

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