Naples and Vesuvius, Italy Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Naples and Vesuvius, Italy

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Naples is the hub of southern Italy and gets a rough ride from the wealthier inhabitants of the North. The city has a buzz and vibe that is not equalled anywhere else in the country, especially by its old northern rival Rome. The city is poor, unemployment is high and there are areas to avoid - but then this could be true of any European city. Naples is a great destination for historians, Backpackers and any young families.

It's true that you could get your bag snatched, but the rules of the game, like any other city, are be careful and use your common sense. The worst area in Naples is around the train station.

If you want to try an authentic Margarita (tomato, mozarella and basil) or Mariana (seafood) pizza then head for Da Michele. This restaurant only makes two types of pizza and is a member of the Pizza Doc organisation - this organisation aims to maintain the true style of pizza and stop its corruption by adding unnecessary ingredients. The pizzas are prepared all around you, they are huge, tasty and cheap. It is best to order and eat early as the restaurant gets packed by 8pm with customers (all Italian) spilling out on the street.

Once you've visited the city, head for Vesuvius - the active volcano that dominates the sky line and threatens the city every day. You can drive your car up and when the road stops, you get out and walk to the summit. You pass through a gate where you will meet a man who will rent you out a stick - take it as you'll need it to get to the summit, but remember to give it back to him. Half way up there is a souvenir stall that sells all manner of icons carved from lava. Very tasteful.

Once you reach the top, you'll either be wandering in a cloud or, if lucky, you will be able to walk around the crater and see its 11km circumference.

After visiting Vesuvius, you can head for Herculaneum, the other city that was covered by mud from the great volcano. It is not as spectacular as Pompeii but well worth a visit.

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