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The island of Capri (pronounced Ca-pree, not Ca-pree) is one of the loveliest resorts in Italy, a dramatic island soaring upward from the sea, with sweeping views, whitewashed homes and villas, lemon trees, narrow winding lanes, and flower-filled courtyards.

 

Naples (Napoli) is Italy's most controversial city: It's louder, more intense, more unnerving, but perhaps ultimately more satisfying than almost anywhere else in Italy. To foreigners unfamiliar with the complexities of all the "Italys" and their regional types, the Neapolitan is still the quintessence of the country and easy to caricature ("O Sole Mio," "Mamma Mia," bel canto). If Sophia Loren (a native who moved elsewhere) evokes the Italian woman for you, you'll find more of her look-alikes here than any other city. Naples also gave the world Enrico Caruso.

 

New rock groups are born in Naples every month, and interest in traditional Neapolitan music is also increasing. Founded by a group of young Neapolitans, the Falso Movimento troupe has brought new life to the city's theatrical scene. Film companies, following in the footsteps of Neapolitan directors such as Francesco Rossi and Gabriele Salvatore, are choosing to shoot in Naples once again. Neapolitan writers are gaining increasing recognition, especially Ermanno Rea for Mistero Napolitano and Gabriele Frasca for his poems. And Naples is now becoming popular with a younger generation, especially those from countries to the north. Undeterred by reports of unfavorable conditions, they flood into the city and lend it a new vitality. The hippest scene is at the bars and cafes on Piazza Bellini, near Piazza Dante.