Italy intensifies as you plunge deeper. Naples is Italy in the extreme — its best (birthplace of pizza and Sophia Loren) and its worst (home of the Camorra, Naples' "family" of organized crime). The city has a brash and vibrant street life — "Italy in your face" in ways both good and bad. Even though it's Italy's grittiest, most polluted, and most crime-ridden city, walking through its colorful old town is one of my favorite experiences anywhere in Europe. Naples surprises the observant traveler with its impressive knack for living, eating, and raising children in the streets with good humor and decency. Overcome your fear of being run down or ripped off long enough to talk with people. Enjoy a few smiles and jokes with the man running the neighborhood tripe shop, or the woman taking her day-care class on a walk through the traffic. Naples richly rewards those who venture in.