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The Best Of: Naples

Best hotel

Stellar seafront luxury is the signature of the Grand Hotel Vesuvio (00 39 081 764 0044; www.vesuvio.it). Opened in 1882, its VIP guests range from Oscar Wilde to the Spice Girls. Expect a piano bar and a splendid spa (with a steep entrance fee). Doubles from €410 (£290), including breakfast.

The 19-room Costantinopoli 104 (00 39 081 557 1035; www.costantinopoli104.it), opened 18 months ago and is a good-value boutique hotel. From €190 (£135) a night with breakfast. My Home Your Home (00 39 081 1956 5835; www.myhomeyourhome.it) , is a useful agency offering b&bs and apartments.

Best restaurant

It's worth the taxi fare to reach Al Faretto at Via Marechiaro 127 (00 39 081 575 0407; www.alfaretto.it) in a cliffside village on the edge of the city. Try grilled red Sicilian prawns and Torta Caprese (chocolate and almond cake). About €40 (£28) per head for three courses with wine. Di Matteo at Via Tribunali, 94 (00 39 081 455 262) serves the best pizzas in Italy.About €4.50 (£3.20) for a beer and a pizza margherita.

Best Cultural Attraction

Among the labyrinthine collection of the National Archeology Museum on Piazza Museo (00 39 081 440 166) treasures include the Farnese Bull and the bronzes of the Tyrannicides.

Best Shopping

Clothes horses should hit the Chiaia area where designer brands rub shoulders with bars and cafés. Don't leave Naples without tasting the chocolate logs made by Gay-Odin at Via Toledo 214 (00 39 081 400 063).

Best sightseeing

Plunge into the Spaccanapoli neighbourhood. Home to many city landmarks, it is a mosaic of Baroque, Moorish, medieval and Renaissance architecture, at times in the same building. The main hub is Piazza di San Domenica Maggiore where you should pause at café Scaturchio to watch the world go by.

Best Nightspot

Obviously, a night at the opera. Built 40 years before La Scala, the Teatro San Carlo at Via San Carlo 101-103 (00 39 081 797 2331; www.teatrosancarlo.it) is an extravaganza of gilded stucco, frescoed ceiling and tier upon tier of boxes. The winter programme also includes ballet and concerts.

How To Get There

British Airways (0870 8509850; www.ba.com) flies from Gatwick from £75 return. Citalia (0870 909 7554; www.citalia.com) offers two nights' b&b at the Grand Hotel Vesuvio from £409 per person, based on two sharing, includingflights. Further information from Naples Tourist Office, Via San Carlo 9 (00 39 081 402 394).