In the shadow the Vesuvius tourism’s roots run deep: on the imprints of great greek columns refined aristocrats and roman emperors built their sumptuous villas and oasis all along the shoreline of the Gulf.

It is not a coincidence that at the begining of this third millennium the peculiar magic of this civilisation continues to generate new sources of amazement: the recovery of age old monuments and traditions – folklore, gastronomy, genuine cultivation – that were thought irreparably lost, events and shows worthy of the great international circuit, new fodder for artistic and scientific research.

The artistic treasure of Naples to visit are, in fact, to many to count: the historical centre, a patrimony under the tutelage of UNESCO, the palaces, churches, catacombs and underground passageways, the Archaeological Museum, the places of medieval and renaissance power amassed around the Castel Nuovo and Royal Palace, the unforgettable waterfront from Castel dell’Ovo to Posillipo. The hilly area of Vomero offers masterfully restored buildings like the Capodimonte Royal Palace and the Certosa (monastery) of San Martino, museum collections amongst the most important in the world.

A trip through the twentieth century city takes you, among the notable urban and architectural sights, to the rationalist Mostra d’Oltremare, with its park, sports complex and exhibition space. Science is also witness to the recovery of industrial archaeological complexes and the originality of a scientific tradition that renews itself. Unusual and surprising is the exploration of the new homes of contemporary art: monumental structures like the PAN, Palazzo delle Arti Napoli, the MADRE, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina (Donnaregina Contemporary Arts Museum), and the unique artistry of the metro stations that evidence the original horizons of farseeing cultural politics.

Naples, in the final sum, remains, deep in its roots, even with all the difficulties and contradictions inherent to all big metropolitan cities, an extraordinary place to live, admire, and enjoy with all the senses: for the depth of the art and civilisation that has idelibly marked its history; for the mild climate that accompanies day and night the shows, musical and theatrical events, exhibitions, fairs and religious gatherings; for the gourmand possibilites to search out the age old culinary tradition, the seafood and the unique typical products (buffalo mozzarella, pizza, Docg wine, varied and refined pastries) in all their local translations, or for finding fine hidden little.

Il curniciello. The Neapolitan Amulet.

In Napoli you will see a lot of what look like red chili peppers. Each is actually a horn, corno in italian, designed to ward off the Evil Eye and bring good luck. The origins of this amulet are lost in the mists of time: since ancient times, the horn was a symbol of power and fertility. But to be really magic and keep spirits away, the neapolitan curniciello has to be realized according to a few but necessary rules. First of all, it must be red, the traditional color of fortune, and made of coral wish is a precious material having special powers to chase away evil. It has to be crooked and pointed. Last but fundamental rule is that the horn must not be bought, but received as a present in order to truly bring good luck.

San Gregorio Armeno

It is one of Naples’ most famous streets, thanks to the presence of artisan workshops dedicated to the art of representing the Nativity Scene. Especially during the period that precedes Christmas, San Gregorio Armeno, that is  located in the heart of the historic center, becomes the most characteristic street in the city. In fact, the whole area is crawling with stands, shepherds and decorations in order to show the amazing skills of local artisans. As you walk, you will see statuettes whose appearances do not exactly recall the Christmas theme. Shepherds often embody characters from the television, political or Star System worlds and the care for details is almost extreme. As a matter of fact, the perfection of the faces and the magnificence of details characterize every single statuette and they are a real source of pride for the local artisans.

The Neapolitan nativity scene is characterized by the coexistence of sacred and profane elements. The birth of Jesus is usually set in the eighteenth century, in a context where baroque taverns and scenes of everyday life merge with the classic characters of the Nativity. Some of the shepherds that are habitually placed in the so-called ‘presepio’ are: Benino, a sleeping shepherd placed on a hill, a woman with a baby and the bagpipers, who are usually located near the cavern, and the ‘ciccibacco”,a robust boy sitting on a barrel of wine near the tavern. As time passed by, many characters have been added, which represent different rituals and traditions. For this reason, the Neapolitan Nativity Scene is not considered just a religious symbol, but also the milestone of an entire population.