Naples, Paestum and Pompeii
I had left Rome and was on my way south. The first major stop would be Naples. Although I followed the Mediterranean coastline, I didn't see much of it, nor was the road even flat!
The first major city I passed was Naples. It is the capital of Campania and the third-largest city in Italy, after Rome and Milan.
I stayed just outside the city center on a camping but spend a whole day in exploring the city including a visit to the Cathedral of Naples.
The atmosphere in the city was very different from Rome, Florence or Genoa. Not surprising if you realize the city center is the largest historical center in the world. And Naples itself is one of the oldest cities in the world.
The city was already flourishing when the Greeks ruled the earth. During the Roman empire it continued flourishing and even after the fall of the West Roman Empire, the city stayed an important harbor city.
Accommodation and food
If there is one place in Italy where you have to eat pizza, it's here. This is the city where pizza's were invented! There are countless hotels and B&B's but the cheapest option are the campings. You will find hotels and hostels with Tripadvisor and Agoda.com.
A day's bike ride south of Naples I found the Temple of Hera in Paestum which built around 550 BCE in Paestum. It's a magnificent temple dating back from the 6th century BC and is Greek of origin.
I was not expecting Greek temples so close to the capital of Roman Empire (true, I had not done my homework proper) but once I was there I realized many of the Greek outpost were located in Italy and became Roman trade centers (Naples and Paestum were no exceptions).
What is left these days of the original site are the remains of 3 temples in Doric style. The temples were dedicated to Athena and Hera.
There is some good and reasonable priced hotels in town but if you want, you can just camp at the beach. There is a camping several km south of Paestum on the beach. In case you want to stay in a hotel or B&B, check either Tripadvisor or Agoda.com for good options.
Pompeii was my next stop. The city is world famous as it was completely covered in ash after an eruption of the Vesuvius volcano.
The new city is where you will stay but it is the old city you want to visit. Not only you can see the stone bodies of some villagers who were surprised in the volcanic eruption in 79AD.
In the late 19th century the ruins of the city which was completely covered by volcanic ash were found.
Today you can the remains of people who were instantaneously killed. You can still see the surprise and fear in their stone faces.
The amphitheater is worth to explore too. The old streets of Pompeii are virtually untouched. If there is one place you want to step back in time, it's here in Pompeii.
Another very interesting thing to do is to visit Mount Vesuvius, a still active volcano although it's not erupting since 1944.
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