As most people head to the coast, few visitors reach inland Campania. Indeed the territory immediately north of Naples, mostly a sprawl of unenticing suburbs, is irredeemably grim. Almost entirely dominated by the Camorra it’s offputtingly sometimes known as the “Triangle of Death”. It’s not an area to linger, and you’d do well to pass right through and not stop until you reach Caserta just beyond, where the vast royal palace and its gardens is an obvious draw. Further inland, Benevento has a historic centre well worth exploring.
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A short train or bus ride direct from Naples, CASERTA, incongruously surrounded by a sprawl of industrial complexes and warehouses that stretches all the way back to Naples, is known as the “Versailles of Naples” for its vast eighteenth-century Reggia di Caserta, the only attraction in this otherwise completely nondescript modern town.
Appealing BENEVENTO, reachable in about an hour and thirty minutes from Naples by bus or train (the private FBN line is quickest) was another important Roman settlement, a key point on the Via Appia between Rome and Brindisi and, as such, a thriving trading town. Founded in 278 BC, it was at the time the farthest point from Rome to be colonized, and even now it has a remote air about it, circled by hills and with a centre that was (pointlessly) bombed to smithereens in the last war and even now seems only half rebuilt. Its climate also ranks among southern Italy’s most extreme.