The first guide dedicated to the entire region produced by the Lonely Planet publishing house encompasses all the known and lesser-known beauties of an extraordinary region like Campania.
The project was promoted with the contribution of the Campania Region through Scabec, Società Campana Beni Culturali, which supported the production of the text as part of the Lonely Planet tells Campania in a guidebook, the regional pass that encompasses the entire cultural heritage of Campania.
campania>artecard offers tourists and residents access to castles and historical residences, churches and monastic complexes, museums and archaeological parks, parks and natural caves
“People come to Naples for its changing charm, perhaps the result of its many cultural influences or of the pulsating rhythm that marks the life of its shrewd inhabitants, who are used to improvising and paying more attention to substance than to form”.
This is the incipit with which the literary tour of the provincial capital begins. A visit that goes beyond the already appreciated beauty of the historic centre, the visceral heart of the city. A journey that leads into the history of the main cultural sites of the Nea Polis, its most authentic neighbourhoods, the encounter between the sacred and the profane in its alleyways and streets, its street food and urban murals. Not only Naples, but also Campi Flegrei, Vesuvius, the Sorrento Peninsula and the islands in the Gulf. Territories touched in depth, until reaching the soul of a place suspended between myth and legend. “Naples is a unique piece: a vertical journey from the dark catacombs and secret tunnels to the high quarters where everything shines, an adventure that leads from the sea and the sunny coast to the chiaroscuro of the historic centre, an authentic cross-section of life between poverty and nobility, and to encounters with museums of world renown”.
“If you are interested in the wonders of nature, then the Cilento will not fail to surprise you”. It is from the Cilento coast that the tour of the Salerno area begins, before heading back to the city, through “the crumpled alleyways of the old town, with their riot of arches, seafaring smells, churches smelling of antiquity, vintage signs, Roman columns peeping out from the crumbling facades of the houses, where they alternate with contemporary architecture that has renewed the city’s identity”. A stop that anticipates other beauties enclosed in this province, such as the divine Amalfi Coast, the Vallo di Diano and the Alburni mountains.
Then it’s Avellino’s turn in Irpinia, “of an unconventional and anything but trendy beauty, not for everyone,” a dimension of uniqueness that translates into one of the “few territories that are able to convey the disruptive force of its own character in equal measure: no seismic event has debased the evocative traditions rooted in centuries; abandoned villages and ruined castles seem to come back to life against the backdrop of a grandiose nature, made up of forests, green valleys, mountains furrowed by hermitages, hills caressed by rows of vines or olive trees”. A peculiar aspect that can be admired not only in the city, a strongly evocative charge that can also be breathed in cultural sites such as the Sanctuary of Montevergine, the Abbey of Goleto or the natural area of Mefite, places that kindle mystical atmospheres, pagan suggestions and pure poetry.
“The province of Benevento does not boast the glossy resorts of other areas of Campania, nor does it have the blue sea and archaeological masterpieces of world renown. However, you don’t need to be a marked non-conformist to fall in love with the area: the provincial capital, for example, is a cornucopia of artistic evidence from different eras, and if it were located in a region less crowded with wonders it could certainly aspire to greater notoriety”. This is how an allegorical parade of Samnite villages of “great personality” gets underway, a route that starts from the scenic “Sant’Agata de’ Goti, titanically clinging to a tuff cliff, passing through Cerreto Sannita, with its centuries-old ceramics production, and arriving at Telese Terme, known for its spas and gourmet restaurants”.
Caserta closes the waltz of the provinces of Campania: here “the fame of the Reggia far exceeds that of the city, which has grown over the centuries in the shadow of one of the most sumptuous residences on the Peninsula. But the province of Caserta has such a varied tourist offer that it can satisfy the needs of any traveller”. There are the inevitable ruins – “Campania has a truly extraordinary past” – scattered between Capua and Santa Maria Capua Vetere, but also industrial archaeology, in San Leucio. There is the immaculate mountain of the Matese Regional Park and the disturbing silence of the villages of Sessa Aurunca. You will find frescoed monasteries, castles and medieval villages.