One can think of Naples as quintessential Italy. Or not. Like most of the port cities along the western section of the boot, its history is long, complicated and often bloody. Today it is probably best known as being the originator of pizza and the jumping off point for Pompeii. But in reality its documented history stretches back almost three millennium when founded by early Greeks.

What followed were a series influxes and invasions starting with Romans and followed by Goths (and no, black clothing and white face makeup not included) and Byzantines. Very early Middle Ages involved the Normans and became part of Sicily. From then followed a number of invaders, cultures and languages including the Schwabs, Angevins, Aragonese and Catalans by the mid 1450s. From then Naples became part of the prize booty between Spain and France with a side trip into Austrian possession.

For those who may have forgotten, Italy as a country only became a reality under the leadership of Garibaldi (1860s). You can still see damage from WWII bombings and machine guns in some of the buildings.

If you walk into the city be prepared to brave the ruffians and flocks of mopeds. There are those who bus down the coast to see Capri and Sorrento. Others take a tour to Pompeii. Last time I was here I enjoyed seeing the excavation at Herculaneum (from where just about everyone escaped due to advanced warning and being on the coast. Boats are quite useful in such a case).

I prefer just a walk in the sun.

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