As you explore Naples and all its manifold treasures, including the monuments and museums, churches and cathedrals, old restaurants and cafes, you will get the sense that this is a city that is filled with tradition and a long and proud cultural heritage. Naples is a city of huge contrasts: you can admire amazing villas on the sea or you can walk in very narrow and poor streets where families live in just one room on the street. If you dig the Neapolitan soil, you can find Greek, Roman, Middle-Ages remains, all of them in layers, one after the others. Under the streets of Naples there is a whole city to discover, kilometers of tunnels and huge caves, also used during the Second World War as a shelter against the bombs dropping on the city
Naples’ ancient origins can be found in a series of legends, among which the most meaningful is the one about Partenope, a mermaid. Feeling shattered by Ulysses, who succeded in escaping the mermaids’ enchanting song by his sheer cunning, she committed suicide. Her body was found aground on the rocks of a small island called Megaride, where nowadays you can see Castel dell’Ovo.
According to a less legendary version, Partenope was a marvellous young woman, the daughter of a Greek commander, who had left for Campania to found a colony. Partenope died in a ship-wreck so her name was given to the new-born town. The city of Partenope was founded on the Isle of Megaride in the 6 th century B.C. At that time Megaride was a commercial port trading with its motherland; later on it expanded to Mount Echia (Pizzofalcone) and took the structure of a small urban town.
In facts,the city of Partenope was founded on the Isle of Megaride in the 6 th century B.C. At that time Megaride was a commercial port trading with its motherland; later on it expanded to Mount Echia (Pizzofalcone) and took the structure of a small urban town.
Greeks in Naples - First Greek settlement The design of the city complex was carried out along traditionally Hippodamic lines, in imitation of the Greek planner/architect, Hippodamus of Miletus, attributed with the laying out of Athens and Rhodes.
Recent archaeological discoveries show that, in the 6th century (not in the 470 BCE), the city was reoccupied and the new urban zone of Neápolis (Νεάπολις) was founded inland, eventually becoming one of the foremost cities of Magna Graecia. The primitive center of Parthenope came to be called simply Palaípolis, the "Old City".
Neapolis was greatly respected by the Romans as a place of Hellenistic culture. The people maintained their Greek language and customs, and elegant villas, aqueducts, public baths, a theatre and the Temple of Dioscures were built. A number of Roman emperors, including Claudius and Tiberius, maintained villas in or near Naples.
At that time (VIII-XI centuries) an area corresponding roughly to the present day Province of Naples was controled by the the Duchy of Naples. Capri too is included and it was later part of the duchy of Amal fi. Naples gained complete independence by 840. By 1137, the Normans had grown hugely in influence, controlling previous independent principalities and duchies such as Capua, Benevento, Salerno, Amalfi, Sorrento and Gaeta. It was in this year that Naples, the last independent duchy in the southern part of the peninsula, came under Norman control.
After a period as a Norman kingdom, the Kingdom of Sicily passed under the Hohenstaufens, the powerful Germanic royal house of Swabian origin.Frederick II of Hohenstaufen was born near Seconal in the Papal States in 1194 and he was crowne Holy emperor at age 26.
Frederick II Hohenstaufen founded the university in 1224. The university remained unique in southern Italy for seven centuries. The University of Naples was the first to be formed from scratch by a higher authority, and one not based upon an already-existing private school.
Conflict between the Hohenstaufen house and the Papacy led, in 1266, to Pope Innocent IV crowning the Angevin Charles I as king. When the Anjou dynasty took over, the city became the capital once more and its population, buildings and economy all grew in size.
The Tavola Strozzi is an oil-on-wood painting of medieval Naples as seen from above and in front of the main port of the city. It is the oldest depiction of the medieval city. The painting has been dated to about 1472-3.
Many of the major landmarks of the city are also quite visible: Santa Chiara, San Domenico Maggiore, San Lorenzo, etc. The city wall at water’s edge is also detailed even down to the rendering of gates that allowed passage to the beach.
Charles of Anjou settled his new residence in the Castel Nuovo, around which a new district grew up, marked by palaces and residences of the nobility; the Castel Nuovo is one of the most famous historical buildings in Naples. It dates back to 1279.
In 1442 Alfonso V conquered the Kingdom of Naples and unified Sicily and Naples once again as dependencies of Aragon. Naples enjoyed one of its most wonderful periods of artistic and cultural splendor under Aragon rule: churches and monuments were built and the city became a central meeting point for many foreign artists
Afterwards, Naples had been under the rule of Spain (1501-1714). Under the viceroys Naples grew from 100,000 to 300,000 inhabitants, second only to Paris. The most important of them was don Pedro de Alvarez de Toledo He opened the main street, which still today bears his name; he paved other roads, strengthened and expanded the walls, restored old buildings, and erected new buildings and fortresses, essentially turning the city of Naples by 1560 into the largest and best fortified city in the Spanish empire. In the 16th and 17th century Naples was home to great artists such as Caravaggio and Bernini, philosophers such as Telesio,Giordano Bruno, and Gianbattista Vico, and writers such as Giovan Battista Marino, thus confirming itself among the most important capitals of Europe.
At the time,Naples about 250.000 inhabitants, and was one the most popolous metropolises in Europe. Spanish Misgovernment and fiscal oppression aroused musch discontent aroused much discountent througth the Kingdom of Naples wich broke out in a revolt. Masaniello (an abbrevation of Tommaso Aniello) was a neapolitan fischerman who became leader of the revolt against the rule of the Habsburg in Naples.
After a short period of Austrian rule (1707-1734), Naples finally became an autonomous Kingdom, thanks to Charles of Bourbon
It was one of the four residences near Naples used by the Bourbon Kings during their rule of the Kingdom (1738-1860): the others were the palaces of Caserta, Capodimeonte overlooking Naples, and the third Portici, on the slopes of Vesuvio.
Teatro di San Carlo is the oldest working opera house in Europe and one of the most renowned attractions in Naples, Italy. It was commissioned by the Bourbon King Charles VII of Naples and was inaugurated in 1737.
The National Archaeological Museum of Naples museum is the most ancient an important archaeological museum in Europe. The museum was founded by Charles III of Spain in the 1750. It can boast the richest and valuable heritage of archaeological works of art and artefacts in Italy
Finally, in October 1860, it became part of the Kingdom of Italy, under the Savoy dinasty. But the transition to a united Kingdom was not smooth for the South of Italy: the "Mezzogiorno" was afflicted with numerous deep economic and social liabilities, as a matter of fact, the Southern economy greatly suffered after the Italian unification and the process of industrialization was interrupted. Today, the South remains less economically developed respect to the northern and central regions, which have enjoyed an “economic miracle“ since the 1950s and ‘60s.