Anyone who spends a cycling holiday in Campania will certainly be attracted by its rich historical and artistic heritage, famous in every part of the world. The region provides an ideal location for a cycling tour, but also for a fascinating cultural holiday. Indeed, Campania hosts 60% of all the principal archaeological monuments in Italy, hence its international reputation. A prime example is the Roman city at Pompeii (Tel. (+39) 081.8575347), excavated from the hail of lava and ashes which covered it to a height of 6 m during the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D.
If you are staying at a local hotel for cyclists, take the opportunity to visit the Archaeological Area of Paestum (Tel. (+39) 0828.811023). Nowadays, you can look around a large part of the site, divided into three different areas: two sacred zones in the form of the northern and southern sanctuaries, and a public area in the middle which was first a Greek “Agora” and subsequently a Roman forum. The ancient city is surrounded by walls with four gates corresponding to the points of the compass (the Aurea Gate to the north, Giustizia Gate to the south, Sirena Gate to the east, and Marina Gate to the west). These date from between the end of the C4 B.C. and the time of the Latin colony (C3 B.C.).
Amongst your cycle trips and cultural excursions, it is well worth including a visit to the Velia Excavations, near Ascea (SA): Tel. (+39) 0974.971409.
The city covered an area of about 90 hectares and was divided into different quarters connected to each other with roads, crossings and gates. Some notable remains of the ancient city can still be seen on the Acropolis, the site of a settlement with a large number of houses. Shortly after this period the Acropolis was designated a place of worship, and a sanctuary was built, possibly dedicated to Athena. At this point, other housing quarters were created on the slopes and terraces of the hill. There are two bath complexes dating from the Roman era, as well as the house of the “cryptoporticus” (covered gallery): constructed in the C1 A.D., it may have been the site of a medical school, or a school or gymnasium for boys.
After a day spent enjoying a cycle trip or following a mountain bike route, you might like to spend some time at Caserta, visiting the splendid “Reggia” (Royal Palace): Tel. (+39) 0823 448084. Designed by Luigi Vanvitelli in 1752 on the orders of King Charles of Bourbon, it consists of a vast rectangular building laid out on a symmetrical plan, with four courtyards connected by galleries. Outside is a huge park, 3 km long, containing gardens, fountains, waterfalls, and imposing sculptures.