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Southern Italy. Tourist information for the South of Italy

Southern Italy is a place of legend and antiquity. Fought over by countless invaders, its culture and heritage owes something to them all. A land of sometimes harsh beauty, its warm seas and sand make for a perfect holiday among some of Europe's most rewarding scenery, with the bonus of good wine and cooking, to be enjoyed as it has been for centuries.

Towns and places of interest in Southern Italy:

The coastline south of Naples is among the most spectacular anywhere. The ancient towns of Sorrento, Positano and Amalfi cling to the mountainside, along which winds the only road, offering stunning vistas of crystal clear sea. From Sorrento, on the Bay of Naples, take the fast catamaran to Capri, island of beauty and legend. Stroll through the narrow colourful streets of Amalfi and Positano. Take the bus along the coast in one direction and return by boat, by far the loveliest way to experience this superb area.

Learn Italian in Sorrento!

The large and bustling city of Naples is far more than its reputation for petty crime suggests, although it's worth keeping an eye open for pickpockets and not leaving anything of value in your car - but that goes for many of the world's big cities. Naples enjoys a superb situation, the Bay of Naples, dominated by Vesuvius and the Sorrento Peninsular, being one of the most beautiful in the world. The climate is kind throughout the year. Although Naples is well endowed with museums, galleries and historic monuments, the lively Neapolitan street life is perhaps the best reason for spending some time in this truly cosmopolitan city.
Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean, is easily reached by car ferry across the short Straits of Messina. It offers something for everyone. The sea sparkles on the warm volcanic sands of its many beaches; the numerous invaders of history have left a rich and varied architectural heritage; the lush coast rises quickly to a mountainous and impressively desolate interior, over which the smoking crater of Etna looms ominously. Visit the Valley of the Temples near the attractive town of Arigento; stroll the wide and impressive streets of Catania; enjoy the many Baroque sights in the busy capital, Palermo, and marvel at the 8,000 mummies preserved in its catacombs; take in the Greek and Roman remains in the ancient city of Syracuse. The delicious and often rather spicy cuisine of Sicily and its many excellent wines add a finishing touch to a holiday in this fascinating part of Italy.

A visit to the ancient town of Pompei and the nearby volcano of Vesuvius is a must if you're in this part of Italy. In AD 79 Pompei was a thriving, sophisticated town when in August Vesuvius erupted, blowing its top and sending a wave of searing hot gases and dust rushing down its slopes, suffocating the population and then burying them. We have the rapidity of this cataclysmic event to thank for the remarkably well preserved state of the ruins and human remains, which give a true insight in to how life was in those far off times. There's so much to see in Pompei that the services of a guide enrich the experience. Climb to the rim of the crater of Vesuvius, now quietly smoking, one day to burst once more into volcanic activity.
The little known Aeolian Islands just of the northern coast of Sicily are an undiscovered delight, particularly if you're looking for peace and quiet surrounded by the pleasures of nature. The sea is deep blue, warm and clear, ideal for underwater swimming and fishing, accompanied by flying-fish, swordfish, turtles, sea-horses and hammerfish. The islands are bathed in a limpid clear light, setting off the black volcanic pumice stone. Vines are cultivated on the coastal strips and around the towns. On the island of Vulcano bathe in its warm sea-water, heated by underground volcanic springs. The active volcano on Stromboli offers a spectacular opportunity to observe lava flows and frequent noisy minor eruptions.