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Naples, Italy

Once the domain of kings and wealthy nobleman, modern day Naples is a lively, animated working port city nestled into the undulating curves of the beautiful Amalfi Coast.

A vantage point for breathtaking views, Naples is surrounded by Cape Miseno on one side and the Sorrento peninsula on the other, while across the sapphire blue waters of the Bay of Naples beckons the charming isle of Capri. And while a modern metropolis in every sense, its skyline is dominated by the plumed heights of not-too-distant Mount Vesuvius.

Completely buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D., Pompeii and the neighboring city of Herculaneum are two of the world's most magnificently preserved ancient cities. A city within a curved wall, Pompeii was home to wealthy Romans, tradesmen, artisans and more. Excavations in both cities, begun in the late 1700's, have unearthed sumptuous private homes that featured colonnaded central courtyards with lavish fountains, and interior murals painted in vivid colors. Markets full of ancient shops and stalls still bear the ancient vessels that stored the goods of the day. In the National Archeological Museum, you'll find some of the most intriguing relics perfectly preserved beneath ash and lava, including priceless manuscripts, works of art and tools of daily life.

The most sought-after island in the Bay, Capri's dramatic Blue Grotto and cliff bound scenery has drawn visitors throughout history, from Emperor Augustus to Napoleon, as well as D. H. Lawrence and George Bernard Shaw. Shops featuring the works of local artists are a popular attraction, as are the intimate outdoor cafes known for their delicious ways with frutti de maree, the "fruits of the sea." Atop Anacapri, the island's highest point, unforgettable views of the Bay of Naples -- from the Sorrentine Peninsula to the Isle of Ischia -- are a photographer's dream.

The Amalfi Coast, south of the Bay of Naples and wrapping around the Sorrentine Peninsula, is considered one of the Mediterranean's most beautiful coastlines with its lush flora and spectacular scenery. Most alluring is the town of Sorrento, high on the cliffs above the sea, where ancient roman ruins, magnificent vistas and superb cuisine call to travelers the world over.
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