Naples is a vast city located on the western coast of Italy facing the Tyrrhenian Sea. This colossal metropolis is the third largest city in Italy behind Rome and Milan with a population of 975,000 and a greater metropolitan population of over 3.1 million. Naples and the surrounding region has been inhabited since the Neolithic period and it has seen some form of continuous human activity through ancient Greek times to the naplesn Empire and further.

Throughout history Naples has been the sight of fierce battles and many civilisations have vied to gain power here. Naples port is one of the most important in the Mediterranean and the city has one of the largest economies in Italy. Due to the extensive history of this region, Naples is full of historical buildings, squares and churches plus a host of modern amenities and fantastic nightlife opportunities. Looming in the shadow of the legendary Mt. Vesuvius, this is a truly epic tourist destination.

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Brief History of Naples

Parthenope was founded in the VII century BC by the inhabitants of Cuma, a polis of Magna Graecia, to serve as a harbor. The foundation site includes the islet where now is Castel dell’Ovo, and the new town was named after the mythic siren. Between VI and V century BC, after a period of decline following the wars with Etruscans, a new polis, Neapolis, was funded. In Imperial times, Naples and its surroundings increased their fame as an area of great attractiveness, beautiful villas, thermae and theatres where Roman aristocracy were engaged in their “otia”. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Naples, like the rest of Italy, had to suffer subsequent invasions, until it surrenders to Normans in XI century. In 1220 a new conqueror arrives, Frederick II, King of Sicily and Germany, and here he founded, in 1224, the first state University, dedicated to the training of secular administrators, today named after him, as “University of Napoli Federico II”. The Swabians were followed by the dynasties Anjou and Aragonese. During XVII century, Naples was governed by Spanish functionaries, and in XVIII century by the Bourbons, with the brief parentheses of the Parthenopean Republic (1799) and the Napoleonic period. In 1860, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was annexed to the Kingdom of Sardinia (Piedmont – Sardinia), and Vittorio Emanuele II of Savoy was proclaimed king of the new state, Kingdom of Italy, in 1861. It is now recognized that the period before Italian unification was characterized by social, scientific and technological achievements.


"Spaccanapoli"

This is the longest decumano; it cross the city of Naples from the area of Vomero to the Forcella area.
If you see Naples from a high point of view (for example the spectacular San Martino’s terrace), you can admire how the long street divides the city into two parts exactly. That’s why this decumano is called “Spaccanapoli”: in Neapolitan slang, “spaccare” means “ divide”.
His structure has been changed during the time. Initially it started from Piazza San Domenico and arrived to Via Duomo. During the XVI century, viceroy Don Pedro de Toledo aligned the Decumano with a road of Spanish Neighbourhoods to facilitate the transfers.
The heart of Lower Decumano is Via San Biagio dei Librai, rich in fragrances of bakery and fried food shops, small stores of Neapolitan handicraft, joy and love of people.
The most important buildings in “Spaccanapoli” are: historical complex of Santa Chiara, located in Piazza del Gesù, it is composed by the spectacular majolica courtyard and the beautiful Cathedral in gothic style, with Giotto’s operas.


San Severo Chapel Museum

A Gothic cathedral built in the 13th century in the north east sector of the historic centre, about a 10-minute walk from Central Station, though local buses go to the door.
The cathedral is dedicated to Naples patron saint San Gennaro or Saint Januarius. A vial of the saint's blood is brought out three times a year - on the first Saturday in May, September 19 and December 16 - and if it liquefies, all is well. If it doesn't... fears are held for the safety of Naples. Luckily, it nearly always liquefies.
The cathedral contains some excellent artworks including frescoes.
To one side of the cathedral is the 4th century Basilica Santa Restituta, the oldest chapel in Naples. Under here is an interesting archaeological site tracing the Greek, Roman and early Christian city.


Naples Underground

Forty meters below the characteristic and lively streets of the Historic Center of Naples, you find a different world, unexplored, isolated by time, but deeply connected with the world above. It’s the heart of Naples, and the place from which the city was born. To visit it is to travel to the past, a world 2400 years old.Every historic epic, from the foundation of Neopolis, to the bombs of WWII, has left it’s mark on the walls of the yellow tufa stone, the soul of Naples, and the stone with which the city was built.
Naples is a city of exceptional beauty, a city of art, but few know the underground reality of the city.
Naples Underground is the most famous and fascinating guided tour underneath the city of Naples. Our guides will take you on a journey through 2,400 years of history, from the ancient Greeks to modern times, unveiling the “womb” of Naples from an archaeological, historical, anthropological and geological point of view.


Naples Cathedral

A Gothic cathedral built in the 13th century in the north east sector of the historic centre, about a 10-minute walk from Central Station, though local buses go to the door.
The cathedral is dedicated to Naples patron saint San Gennaro or Saint Januarius. A vial of the saint's blood is brought out three times a year - on the first Saturday in May, September 19 and December 16 - and if it liquefies, all is well. If it doesn't... fears are held for the safety of Naples. Luckily, it nearly always liquefies.
The cathedral contains some excellent artworks including frescoes.
To one side of the cathedral is the 4th century Basilica Santa Restituta, the oldest chapel in Naples. Under here is an interesting archaeological site tracing the Greek, Roman and early Christian city.


Piazza del Plebiscito

This noble semicircular piazza (19th Century) is enclosed on one side by the royal palace, on the other by the neoclassical façade of the church of San Francesco di Paola, built on the model of the Pantheon in Rome and prolonged by a curving colonnade.
Two equestrian statues stand in front of the church: one, by Canova, depicts Ferdinand I of Bourbon, the other is of Charles III of Bourbon. The royal palace was built at the beginning of the 17th Century by the architect Domenico Fontana and has been remodelled several times. The façade retains more or less its original appearance.
Since the late 19th Century the niches on the façade have contained eight statues of the most famous Kings of Naples. A huge staircase with twin ramps and crowned by a coffered dome leads to the apartments and the sumptuously decorated royal chapel.


Maschio Angioino

The castle increases the splendor of Piazza Municipio, in addition to the artistic importance it also has an ethnic importance for the city of Naples. The structure is home to the Neapolitan Society of Homeland History (inside the castle there is a library that collects all the documents on this theme) and the Naples Committee of the Institute for the history of the Italian Risorgimento.
The birth of the castle came when arrived the monarchy in Naples, its construction was ordered by Charles I d'Angiò, ascended the throne in 1266. During the years on that throne came several kings who changed the internal structure and (more) the outside of the castle, the current form arrived only in 1443 with Alfonso d'Aragona and the new Aragonese domination.

With this king the castle became a royal fortress but in 1309 with the arrival of King Robert the Wise became a court rich in culture thanks to the king's passion for art, he invited to live at court: Francesco Petrarca, Giovanni Boccaccio, Pietro Cavallini and Giotto.
From the entrance, through the triumphal arch formed by the two main towers, you can reach the Sala dei Baroni, which at the birth of the castle was the throne room, another room to be seen is the Armory Hall. For religion and prayer in the sixteenth century was built the Capella of the souls in purgatory that represents the Madonna del Carmine, the largest of the castle, while before there was only the Chapel of San Francesco and Paola that was smaller.
In the underground you can visit the prisons. Since some years it is possible to follow a museum tour inside the castle (Civic Museum), inside there are several works from the Caravaggio school and important Neapolitan baroque artists, finally there are some rooms dedicated to temporary exhibitions.



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