Day Trips from Napoli: Pompeii

It’s one of Italy’s most amazing attractions.  An entire Roman town, buried under ash and lava by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD then excavated so you can wander around.  If you get the chance to go, take it.  It’s just south of Naples and can be done as an easy day trip by local train.

What to see

Pompeii was one of the largest and most shining cities built during the roman era, as you can see how) the ruins are everywhere. Thanks to its large production and export of oil and wines, Pompeii became a very rich city and tourist destination for the Roman patricians. You never know what Pompeii would have become. In ’79 AD, Vesuvius, which no one knew was a volcano yet because it looked like a common mountain, destroyed the town with a violent eruption.

The Forum
Located in the archaeological site of Pompeii was the economic, political and religious city center. It was the place where all public debates and religious events were carried out, and it was the real heart of the city. At the beginning, it was a not a very large area, and there were few shops showing their merchandise. During the second century BC, people of Pompeii decided to give a more appropriate structure to the Forum on the basis of the task it held. The area was enlarged, some coverings were added for the shops, arcades were added to protect walking people from the rain, and public buildings were built along the sides of the square. The decoration of the Forum of Pompeii was completed with the replacement of the old tuff flooring with a more beautiful one made of travertine, the remains of which are still visible today. Once at the center of the square, the ruins of the Temple of Apollo attracts the eye. It is the most important ancient religious site of Pompeii. The statues of the goddess found close to the Temple of Apollo, were transferred to the Archaeological Museum of Naples.

The forum of Pompeii

The Lupanar
People of Pompeii, as good pagans, loved the pleasures of the flesh and didn’t have any problem showing off their passions. Many houses of Pompeii, had a secret room in which slaves of rich masters whored themselves. You could buy a little bit of company by paying from two to eight “assi” (currency of Pompeii at that time), an accessible amount for almost everyone, considering that the average price for a glass of wine was of one “asse”. The Lupanar (from Lupo meaning wolf, because “wolf” in Latin means “prostitute”) is the only building in Pompeii built specifically for this purpose. The brothel, located in the ruins of Pompeii, was distributed on two floors, each one reserved for a certain type of customer. The ground floor made by five bedrooms, a hallway and a bathroom, was for lower class customers. The first floor, however, was reserved for the upper class customers. Its own entrance and balcony roof gave access to the rooms, and it was also decorated with a refined taste. On the walls, you can still see the little pictures drawning voracious lovers in different erotic positions, ideal for lazy lovers looking for some inspiration. At the entrance of the Lupanare, as in most modern coffee shops, there was the chance to buy condoms to use with charming slaves of the brothel.

The Houses of Pleasure in Ancient Pompeii

The house of the Faun
The owner of the “House of the Faun”, inside the archaeological site of Pompeii, would definitely have been one of the most envied men in the city. The ruins of the house suggest a huge complex, with rooms, environments, and areas dedicated to different tasks. The property owner’s identity could not be traced back by remains. The structure has been  called the “House of the Faun” for the bronze statue of the dancing faun, who was at the center of one of the main halls. The “House of the Faun” was a sort of a modern residence, in which there was also a kind of mall. The structure, in fact, consists of two large connected areas, each one with a separated entrance, connected by a series of shops rented to traders. In addition to the shops, the “House of the Faun” also had a good number of rooms, but nobody knows if they were for private use, or rented. The structure was built with very modern construction techniques: some lead plates were placed under the walls plaster to protect the environment from moisture. In Rome, there is no trace of such majestic houses, while in the archeological site of Pompeii there are facilities such as “The Villa of the Mysteries,”, “The House of Pansa”, and “House of the Labyrinth”. They are all smaller than the “House of the Faun” but just as important in order to understand the richness and greatness of the Roman ruling class of Pompeii.

The Amphitheater
Located at the end of Via dell’Abbondanza, in the archeological site of Pompeii, is the oldest stone building of its kind that has ever been discovered. In fact, its construction dates back to 80 BC, while the first amphitheater of Rome, the one of Statilio Tauro, was built in 29 BC. One peculiarity of the amphitheater found in the excavations of Pompeii is that the structure had no basement under the floor of the arena, as the same construction of the imperial age used to have. At the top of the Amphitheatre you can see the large holes used to shore up the roof of the arena, in order to protect the spectators from the sun beating, wind, and rain. In this way, the shows could take place at any time of the year, without having to worry about the seasons. The terraces of the Amphitheatre of the archaeological excavations of Pompeii were divided into three orders, and one of these was reserved, with no doubt, for women. This timeless place has been the scene of one of the most exciting rock history concerts. In 1971, in fact, Pink Floyd recorded their “Live at Pompeii” concert without an audience, which became one of the most memorable moments in the music history.

Amphitheater – Exterior

The Villa of the Mysteries
This is an ancient roman house, located slightly outside the city and the archaeological site. It is not possible to verify the owner of this great building, also in this case, but some ruins suggest that the owners could have been some rich Roman patrician.  Some people argue that the villa belonged to Livia, the wife of Emperor Augustus, since there was a statue found in the ruins representing her. The Villa of the Mysteries takes its name from a series of paintings discovered in a room of the house, which some experts are still trying to determine the meaning. All schools of thought agree that the frescoes represent a young woman who is initiated into a cult. The dispute is about the kind of ritual that was initiated on the woman. Some argue that it is a Dionysian rite, while others simply believe that the woman is prepared for marriage. Whatever ritual to which the frescos of the Villa of the Mysteries in Pompeii refer , these images instil into visitors a strong subjection . The villa had many rooms, all decorated with great elegance and many of which were for dinners and social events. Even in the Villa of the Mysteries, bodies were found of people who were doing normal daily activities ,when they were blown over by the violence of the Vesuvius lava.

Villa of the Mysteries

The Cave Canem mosaic
Maybe you have seen it at the entrance of some villas in Italy or in the world? The Cave Canem (Beware of the Dog in Latin) is one of the world’s most famous mosaics, and it’s right here, in the House of the Tragic Poet. It has been recently restored in order to bring back its ancient splendour, after years of neglect, with a device that protects it from rain and wind, but does not prevent the view. The House of the Tragic Poet is a typical house with atrium and takes its name from a mosaic placed at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples.

The Cave Canem mosaic

The Garden of the Fugitives
It is the most heartbreaking testimony of the end of Pompeii, for sure, with the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. During the excavations of 1961-62 and 1973-74, the bodies were found of 13 victims of the eruption, surprised by lava and lapillus while they were running away towards Porta Nocera. Men, women, and children, of one or more family groups, were asphyxiated by the gases and then slowly covered with ashes. The ones you see today in the Garden of the fugitives are perfect reproductions in plaster, which enable us to understand the last moments of life of these inhabitants of Pompeii.

Garden of the Fugitives

Getting to Pompeii

The most common ways of getting to Herculaneum from Napoli are:

  • Train: Visitors need to take a local train to get to Pompeii. The Circumvesuviana line goes from Napoli (Piazza Garibaldi station) to Pompeii (Pompei Scavi station). It takes 35 mins to get there and the prices 3.20€. No prior booking is necessary or possible, just turn up, buy a ticket at the Circumvesuviana ticket office, go through the automatic ticket gates onto the platform and hop on the next train.  The final destination of the Circumvesuviana train is Sorrento. Don’t confuse Pompei Scavi (Villa di Misteri) with the other Pompei station on another Circumvesuviana route, or Trenitalia’s mainline Pompeii station which serves the new town.
  • Car rental: Although this is a good option for families or groups of friends, you must keep in mind the price of petrol, parking and tolls. We would recommend this option only for those thinking of renting a car for additional days to visit other attractions nearby.

Schedule

The ruins are open every day of the year, usually 09:00-19:30 April-October, 09:00-17:00 November-March, but check opening times and entrance fee at www.pompeiisites.org or www.pompeionline.net.
Allow more time than you think you need.  You can easily spend all day there, there’s lots to see.

Price

Adults: 15€
EU Citizens (18 – 25): 9€
EU Citizens (less than 18) and (over 65): free entrance.

Next to the ticket office at the entrance, there is a free baggage check. Bags or backpacks larger than 30x30x15 cm cannot be brought into.

Should I visit Pompeii or Herculaneum?

The biggest difference between Pompeii and Herculaneum is size: the ruins of Pompeii cover about 44 square hectaures, while Herculaneum covers just 4.

Pompeii was an important city and trade center, while Herculaneum was a small resort town without the large public buildings (forum, amphitheater, theaters, gym) found in Pompeii.

However, Herculaneum is in a much better state of preservation due to the deep layer of ash and dust that covered the site, filling the buildings without damaging them. Pompeii was heavily battered by falling rocks and hot air that knocked down upper floors of buildings and incinerated wood, both of which are still intact at Herculaneum.

All things considered, if you only have time to see one site, choose Pompeii. Herculaneum is a good alternative if you don’t want to do too much walking or if the temperatures are particularly scorching, as it has more shade than Pompeii.

We do not recommend visiting Pompeii and Herculaneum in one day, as it is simply too tiring.

Vesuvius, the supervolcano. The archaeological ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum tour.

About two thousand years ago, an eruption of the Naples volcano put an end to four Roman cities, including the famous Pompeii. The intense emotion that you feel when visiting the area comes from the respect for the immense force of nature, but also from the intimate contact with the civilization of that time.

Even though Naples is a volcanic city – not just in geological terms, but also in terms of its character – you never have to worry too much when visiting its volcano. If Vesuvius were to start erupting – as it has done many times since that year 79 in which it destroyed and buried the Roman cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabia – you could get to safety in time, because this is perhaps the volcano under closest surveillance in the world. There are warning plans, and plans for the potential evacuation of the local populations. But you still have the thrilling feeling at walking on the back of a sort of gigantic live animal, which today is asleep but alive, in a relationship with the omnipotence of nature, which is much greater than us, and which is not easy to describe in words.

Vesuvius

Climbing Vesuvius is not a real adventure. In fact, it’s not even a real climb, because you can get there by bus – in just half an hour from Pompeii, if it’s from the Roman city that your visit to the area begins – and simply walk uphill to the summit. The spectacle of the crater, huge and a little threatening, even now that it is a little quiet, will already be in itself a good reason to convince you, but the real wonder is another one: the panoramic view of theGulf of Naples and of the city on the sea. It’s like dominating the gulf from a low-altitude airplane or a helicopter. Priceless.

A walk – with a view on the gulf – on the top of the volcano, in the heart of the Vesuvius National Park.

The Pompeii ruins’ area in which you find yourself is part of the Vesuvius National Park, which was established about twenty years ago; you have to take into account the cost of an entrance ticket, but on the other hand you have the certainty of finding yourself in a well-kept landscape.

It is marked very clearly where it is best not to venture, and the main path leading to the crater (there are other paths in the park, not all of which are that easy to walk) is comfortable and its boundaries are clearly indicated. Speaking of nature, do you recognize the broom that are at odds with the harsh landscape and give signs of life? Their flowering period – sudden spots of a particular yellow, sharp on the dry ground – is spring-summer.

View of Roman antiquities at Pompeii site. In the background: Vesuvius.

Ruins of Pompeii

Pompeii is today one of the largest excavation sites open to the public in the world, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. As for its importance, then, it is absolutely unique in having preserved an entire Roman city in its everyday life, which was suddenly interrupted and has remained embalmed in a giant model on an urban scale.
If you want to be methodical, you can start your visit from the museum, immediately becoming moved by the human figures of the inhabitants surprised by the eruption. They look like real people, but they are simply the casts – obtained by archaeologists pouring plaster into certain cavities where the presence of human bones was guessed – of people trapped by the ash rain that erupted from Vesuvius. Over the centuries the ash layer has solidified, the bodies have dissolved, but the cavity formed by their shapes has remained. It seems as if one is able to talk with people from two thousand years ago, and it’s indescribable.

Casts of a group of Pompeian victims of the 79 AD eruption.

Rather than by human solidarity, you are impressed by the historical-artistic side when you visit the homes of ancient Pompeii, such as the House of the Faun, that of the Vettii or that of the Golden Cupids, which take their names from the dominant subjects of their extraordinary frescoes or from their owners. Even before arriving at the houses, you may be walking across the public spaces of the ancient city: the Basilica where justice was served, the Forum where people gathered, the temples where the gods were worshiped and even the Lupanar – which in today’s language we would call the brothel – with its X-rated paintings.

What is impressive everywhere are the three dimensions: forget about the archaeological excavations found elsewhere in Europe, with their remains of reconstructed walls that are maximum one meter high. In Pompeii, the houses are still as tall as in the year 79. Unique is an understatement.

1: Interior of a preserved Roman domus in Pompeii, with rich mosaics on the floor
2: Frescoed wall inside a Pompeii domus

In the majestic stillness of the amphitheater – with the grass in the meadow that now colonizes the steps from where the ancient Pompeians watched the armed fights of gladiators – you could think of the Pink Floyd concertLive at Pompeii. But you cannot remember being there in person, because that show had no audience… It was only a private recording. The leader of the group, David Gilmour, came back here a few years ago to hold a real concert, the only show in the Pompeii amphitheater in the last nineteen centuries. More than rock memories, in any case, it is significant that this one in Pompeii seems to have been the most ancient permanent amphitheater ever built in the Roman age, so important and rich was the city.

View from above of the archaeological excavations of Herculaneum.

Ruins of Herculaneum

Still under the Vesuvius, but about twenty kilometers to the west and much closer to Naples, you can find the Roman excavations of Herculaneum, less extensive but equally impressive, and as integrated into modern-day Ercolano. There would still be plenty to dig around, if in the area of archaeological interest there were not the houses of today’s inhabitants, obviously perfectly legitimately. Here the quality of the three-dimensional perception is even more spectacular than in Pompeii: on the paved roads you can walk like on any other non-archaeological road, the houses of two thousand years ago – particularly notable are the Houses of the Hotel, of the Mosaic Atrium and the Deer – seem to have been built yesterday, and sculptures and frescoes come naturally to greet you, in vivid shapes and colors. Pinch yourself to wake up: you’re not dreaming, and it’s not a Disneyland reconstruction. It’s all true.

Frescoed figures from the excavations of ancient Stabia.

Ruins of Stabia

You can also visit what remains of Stabiae, which, vice versa, is farther south from Pompeii and which has had a different story. The settlement was repopulated not long after the eruption of the year 79, and today the excavation area is isolated in the middle of modern Castellamare di Stabia. Five residences of the ancient Roman city have resurfaced: Villa Arianna and Villa San MarcoVilla Petraro and Villa Carmiano, underground, and the so-called “Second Complex”. Villa San Marco was built in the early imperial era and remodeled in the Claudian age: access, today from the spa area, leads to the three rooms of the “calidarium,” “tepidarium,” and “frigidarium,” from which you go to the porticoed garden with pool. Here it is as if the context was lacking, but the houses, the sophisticated walls, the mosaic floors, and above all the ancient Roman frescoes are of the same quality as those of Pompeii and Ercolano. If you have a taste for detail rather than the whole, then Stabia too is not to be missed.

Visit the magnificent Phlegraean Fields

The gigantic cone of Vesuvius dominates the whole area of Naples, but it is certainly not the only volcanic presence around the city. By public transport you can reach the Phlegraean Fields from Naples, an area just west of the regional capital toward Pozzuoli and the islands of Procida and Ischia, where volcanic activities appear smaller in size, and yet are just as evident, and even more spectacular.

The Vesuvius no longer has – as it had until the eruption of 1944 – a clearly visible plume of continuous smoke toward the sky. Here, however, from the crater of the Solfatara a practically continuous fumarole of sulfur dioxide and boiling mud spouts are still ejected. By the by, it is here that the volcanic shots of the Live at Pompeii video were shot.

View of the fumaroles of the Solfatara di Pozzuoli.

The fumaroles are not geysers, as you would think, but they are very close to them. Respect the warnings and do not enter the fenced areas: sulfur fumes, even if they are not poisonous, can make you dizzy if you get too close. The Solfatara is in fact in a quiescent state, but is still quite active, and is only one of the forty volcanoes that make up the Phlegraean Fields.
In the big, extinct crater of the Astroni, which is now a natural oasis managed by the World Wildlife Fund, you can take guided tours or quiet walks in the greenery around small lakes, instead of around sulfur fumes, and in the area there are also natural thermal springs, like those in Agnano. The famous spas on the island of Ischia also belongs to the volcanic system of the Phlegraean Fields.
The movement of the ground below you is too slow for a human being to be aware of it, but the measurements show a imperceptible continuous up and down of the Phlegraean Fields with respect to sea level. The scientific word for this phenomenon is bradyseism, and this too is a volcanic phenomenon. The temple of Serapis in Pozzuoli, which is more or less two thousand years old, and which is obviously lower than the city around it, is an obvious historical example.

Ruins of Baia

As if to confirm the parallel lives between volcanic activities and ancient civilizations, the archaeological remains of the Roman Baiae, south of Pozzuoli, are part of the Phlegraean Fields. Find the so-called temples of Diana and Venus in today’s village, next to the small port on the Gulf of Naples, and it is not too surprising to find that they were actually spa buildings, so important that only the dome of the Roman Pantheon was larger than these.
Nor does it surprise you – since we are in the area of bradyseism – to learn that the ancient Baia is today submerged, protected as a marine park at a depth of five to seven meters. You can touch it only if you are armed with scuba gear, and go to visit villas and nymphaeum of twenty centuries ago under the guidance of local divers. Another less adventurous choice could be an excursion on a boat with a transparent bottom: it is like looking at the Roman city from a window on the water.

Day Trips from Napoli: Herculaneum

The town of Herculaneum suffered the same fate as Pompeii. The town was buried under Mount Vesuvius’s volcanic ashes and mud in 79 AD.

Hit before Pompeii, many inhabitants didn’t have time to escape and were engulfed in layers of debris, ashes and mud, dying instantly to be preserved for centuries.

What to see

At the foot of Mount Vesuvius, the city was the volcano’s first victim, and therefore the first wall of lava, ashes, debris and gases covered Herculaneum completely a little after midnight on 25 August. The previous day, it had been plunged in a cloud of debris leaving it without sunlight.

A UNESCO world heritage site, Herculaneum is better preserved than Pompeii. The city’s houses, baths, taverns, temples and figures are undamaged; therefore, visitors will get a real sense of the splendour of this Roman city.

Wealthier than its neighbouring Pompeii, the town is full of beautiful buildings. The different floors of most of the buildings are still intact and it is possible to see the magnificent frescoes and mosaics covering the walls of palaces, public buildings and mansions.

On the far side of the city are the most luxurious villas overlooking the sea, notably the Villa dei Papiri, which was the luxurious retreat of Julius Caesar’s father-in-law.

In Herculaneum, archaeologists have also found the first Roman preserved skeletons from the first century, since prior to this period Romans would cremate the dead. The skeletons are on display in one of the city’s houses.

Beautifully conserved

The town of Herculaneum has been magically conserved all these years. Objects like beds, and doors managed to remain under the layers of ash and mud without decaying.

Although it isn’t as well-known or as large as Pompeii, Herculaneum’s ruins are extremely impressive and gripping. Definitely worth visiting!

Today, the town of Ercolano lies extremely close to the ruins of Herculaneum, creating an interesting contrast.

Getting to Herculaneum

The most common ways of getting to Herculaneum from Napoli are:

  • Train: Visitors need to take a local train to get to Herculaneum. The Circumvesuviana line goes from Napoli (Piazza Garibaldi station) to Herculaneum (Ercolano Scavi station). It takes 20 mins to get there and the prices 2.20€.
  • Car rental: Although this is a good option for families or groups of friends, you must keep in mind the price of petrol, parking and tolls. We would recommend this option only for those thinking of renting a car for additional days to visit other attractions nearby.

Schedule

1 November – 31 March: Every day from 8:30am – 5pm
1 April – 31 October: Every day 8:30am – 7:30pm

Price

Adults: 13€
EU Citizens (18 – 25): 2€
EU Citizens (less than 18) and (over 65): free entrance

More info on official web site http://ercolano.beniculturali.it/

Naples food & drink guide: 10 things to try

The home of every Italian dish you know and love, Naples offers everything from classic pizza and pasta to fresh seafood and powerful volcanic wines

Although you probably already know that humanity’s finest pizza and pasta graces the whole nation of Italy, the culinary history of Naples is notorious, and older than Rome itself. The traditional food in this region is characterised by the simple ingredients of the poorer classes, executed with great skill and a sense of perfection.

Neapolitan street food offers everything from fried morsels of fish, to fried pizza, cheese-filled pastries and even pork offal for the bravest foodies. Restaurant creations of meatballs doused in ragù may be served alongside pasta, cheeses, vegetables and sweets. Naples is a place to forget your waistline and enjoy every culinary masterpiece you find. We suggest you take on the flavours of the city with full force, so eat like a local by following these tips.

Pizza Napoletana

Need we say more? Naples is the motherland of pizza as we know it. Pizza slathered with tomato sauce, cheese and basil existed here as early as the 18th century, but later named Pizza Margherita after the queen of Italy in 1889. The texture should be chewy, the cheese is always mozzarella, and the basil is fresh. Most importantly, look out for a slightly charred crust, the signature of a stone oven.

Where to try: Almost every slice in Naples will leave you in pizza euphoria, but for some of the best of the best, head to Di Matteo (Via dei Tribunali, 94) where you’ll find fried variations, too.

Ragù

Better than the stuff in tightly sealed glass jars in aisle at the grocery store, and probably better than your grandmother’s, Neapolitan ragù pairs with pasta to make the perfect marriage. Chefs start with good, volcanically enriched tomatoes and add meat to create a robust flavour unique to Naples. The sauce is traditionally mixed with pasta of the ziti variety. Just so you know, the town of Gragnano in the Municipality of Naples produces some of the finest grades of pasta in the world.

Where to try: Tandem (Via Paladino Giovanni 51) is a favourite among locals and serves generous helpings of their slow-cooked speciality ragù.

Polpette

Ragù cheats on its partner, pasta, with these tender meatballs that come in twos or threes. Polpette showered in spoonfuls of ragù make a filling, protein-packed meal for any hungry traveller. Throw vegetarianism out the window, forget the noodle bits, and munch on this treasured, spherical meat.

Where to try: Try Neapolitan meatballs encased in sandwich bread at O’Cuzzetiello Panineria Take Away (Via Rimini 51) or find the dish at various restaurants throughout the city.

Impepata di Cozze

It goes without saying that you simply can’t visit Naples without trying the fresh seafood brought in daily. Aside from delicious fish and squid dishes, make room for Impepata di Cozze; a simple bowl of mussels prepared with tomatoes, peppers, and white wine. Chunks of bread soak up the juices at the end.

Where to try: Trattoria Da Patrizia (Via Luculliana, 24) is by the harbour and serves a range of seafood dishes.

Cuoppo

Fried foods of all varieties in a convenient handheld cone. The brown paper cups contain fried eggplant and zucchini nestled with items like battered fish and shrimp, golden brown mozzarella bites, and potato croquettes. It may be hard to discern what some of the fried lumps are just by looking at them, but don’t worry; you can’t go wrong with deep-fried Italian food.

Where to try: Il Cuoppo (Via San Biagio Dei Librai 23), the brainchild of brothers Giorgio and Andrea Sangiovanni, hands cones of cuoppo stamped with their blue logo to sidewalk strollers every day of the week.

Panino Napoletano

Many compare the panino or panini to its other toasted sandwich cousins, but these Italian sandwiches find a special place in the hearts of those who purchase them in Naples. Panino Napolitano looks like a cross between a sticky iced bun and a calzone. Thick bits of pancetta and molten provolone ooze out the sides of this dense street food, making it a holy trinity of meat, cheese, and bread.

Where to try: Try Panino Napoletano at any of the dozens of kiosks and stands that sell the sandwich to take-away.

Sfogliatella

This shell-shaped pastry shows off its paper-thin folds in glass cases at bakeries across the city. Created by monks and first sold commercially by Neapolitan pastry chef Pasquale Pintauro in 1818, these light bites still thrive on the market today. Sfogliatella are baked until the ridges bloom and separate, cooled and filled with ricotta or almond paste, and finally dusted with powdered sugar.

Where to try: Pick up some from Antico Forno delle Sfogliatelle Calde Fratelli Attanasio (Vico Ferrovia 1/2/3/4).

Babà Rum

Babà of the rum variety are found in patisseries throughout the city and resemble glistening, spongy mushrooms. These tiny cakes are often garnished with whipped cream and berries. To eat appropriately, take an espresso in one hand and a babà in the other; alternate between bites of the confection and sips of coffee.

Where to try: It’s everywhere. Pop into glamour Pasticceria Capparelli (Via dei Tribunali, 327)

Limoncello

A speciality of the Gulf of Naples and the Amalfi coast, this neon-yellow liqueur is typically made using grappa infused with the zest of local Sorrento lemons and sweetened with sugar. There are endless homemade varieties, often created in bars and restaurants, and a chilled ceramic cup of Limoncello is the perfect summertime digestivo.

Where to try: The expert liqueur producers at Limoné (Piazza San Gaetano 72) will gladly give you tasters, and this is the place to go if you’re looking to bring some bottles home. If you’re only in the mood for a sip, try any restaurant in the city.

Lacryma Christi

This celebrated wine is produced on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius, and archaeologists have declared it the nearest equivalent to the wine consumed in Ancient Rome. It’s available in white, rosé, and red varieties – so there should be one for every occasion! Lacryma Christi has been immortalised in books by authors like Voltaire, Alexandre Dumas, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, so relax with a glass and taste a piece of history.

Where to try: Pop into Enoteca Belledonne (Vico Belledonne a Chiaia 18) or book a wine tour at one of the vineyards on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius outside the city.