Italy is really two countries in one with the wealthy, historic north dominating. To get a taste of the south, Naples and Sorrento are your destinations.
If ever there was a city with a reputation, it is Naples. Dirty, nasty, crime infested and fanatical are all words thrown around when describing. In this case, the descriptions are true and it is GREAT! The place is a madhouse and colorful beyond description. Crime is a problem, but you will be fine if you use common sense.
Naples is all about real. You will not get that odd touristy sensation you find in the cities to the north. Naples is about living now, now in the past. The people can be gruff, but are also a heck of lot more colorful than you will find elsewhere. If you get in trouble, just bring up the subject of football (soccer) and youll suddenly have friends for life.
The best way to experience Naples is just to explore it. The action is on the street, not in museums. If youre hankering for picture opportunities, the glass dome over the Galleria Umberto I is a good spot. You can also climb above the city to take scenic pictures of the coast and madness of Naples.