Italy is made up of 20 regions, each with distinctive characteristics. Here, you’ll get an overview of Campania to get you started on planning a Campania trip.
When travelers venture south of Rome, they almost always only go as far as Campania. This is, after all, the region of Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast, two of the most popular tourist destinations in the whole country.
Campania is where pizza comes from, where an exceptional archaeological museum is located, where there’s a royal palace to rival Versailles, and where you can visit both ancient Roman and ancient Greek ruins in a single day. Tourists might flood the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii, but there’s quite a bit of this big region many people miss.
Campania’s long coastline along the Tyrrhenian Sea includes big port cities and smaller bays, as well as a few pretty islands. Inland, the region is mostly a combination of hills and mountains, with some agricultural plains in there for good measure.
If you assume, as I do, that Italy is as tall as a hip-boot, then Campania is along the shin, which places it firmly in southern Italy. Its beaches are densely packed in summer, and some of its main attractions are pretty crowded during the high tourist season, too.
This is the region of Naples, once an ancient Greek city and now a beautiful mess that gave the world pizza. Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the volcano that buried both – Mt. Vesuvius – are here, as are the towns of Sorrento and those along the Amalfi Coast. There are Greek ruins here, too, at Paestum most notably. So despite being south of Rome and therefore less visited than the northern part of Italy, Campania has some of the country’s top attractions – and yes, it’s worth the trip. And, if you’re not keen on diving head-first into Campania just yet, know that there are some (longer) day trips to its main sights from Rome.
Getting to Naples is a piece of cake (or should I say pizza) thanks to the high-speed trains that connect the city to other points in Italy. Salerno, too, is on both the Trenitalia and Italo networks. Many other cities and towns in the region are reachable by train, too, but those popular spots along the Amalfi Coast are only accessible by bus or car.
Naples makes some people nervous, so even though it’s a big and busy city it’s not as touristy as cities in the north. Other parts of the region go practically unnoticed, especially by those who head straight for the Amalfi Coast. It may not be the easiest region to love in its entirety, but Campania has so much going for it. Brace yourself, be prepared, and go.
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