Naples

Historical Notes

The history of Naples is long and varied. The city has been occupied by Greeks during the 2nd millennium BC. During the end of the Greek Dark Ages a larger mainland colony known as Parthenope, occupied the area and it was rebuilt as Neapolis in the 6th century BC. The city held an important role in Magna Graecia. The Greek culture of Naples was important to later Roman society. When the city became part of the Roman Republic in the central province of the Empire, it was the major cultural center.

Naples played a really important role for the Italian unification during the Neapolitan War. Today Naples is part of the Italian Republic and is the third populated area after Rome and Milano, with the second or third largest metropolitan area of Italy.

The Duchy of Naples began as a Byzantine province that was constituted in the 7th century, in the coastal lands that the Lombards had not conquered during their invasion of Italy. It was governed by a military commander (dux), and rapidly became a de facto independent state, lasting more than five centuries during the Early and High Middle Ages. The modern city of Naples remains an important region of Italy, today.

Really important periods for Naples and its region were during the Kingdom of Sicily, the Aragonese one as the Spanish and the Austrian dominations.

Protagonist of the area is the Mount Vesuvius, the strong volcano that in AD 79 destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis and Stabiae, as well as several other settlements. Vesuvius has erupted many times during the history. Today, it is regarded as one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world because of the high concentration of population living near enough to be affected, making it the most densely populated volcanic region in the world, as well as its tendency towards violent, explosive eruptions of the Plinian type, the most destructive type of eruption.

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What to see

  • The volcano Vesuvius, represents a must for the tourist that spend time in the area.
  • The ruins of Pompeii, Pompeii was an ancient settlement highly advanced and extensive and was destroyed at its peak during the devastating eruption of the volcano in 79 AD.
  • The National Archaeological Museum located to the north of the Harbour.
  • The San Gennaro Catacombs, the entrance to this otherworldly place is near the Basilica dell’Incoronata in the northern part of Naples. Underground, you will find a network of tunnels and passageways that are lined with graves and crypts dating back to ancient history.
  • The ruins of Herculaneum, Another city that was devastated after the 79 AD eruption of Vesuvius, even though was far away from the volcano.
  • Castel Nuovo, stands out as a main feature in the skyline of Naples and is one of the first sights that people entering via cruise ships will see. Located close by the famous Piazza del Plebiscito, the castle is easily accessible and is one of the main historical sites in Naples.
  • Located in the centre of Naples is the chapel of Sansevero not far from the Harbor and the Castel Nuovo. It is one of the most beautiful one in the city.
  • As you enter the port of Naples you will see the stunning castle of Castel dell’Ovo. Once it was an island, today the castle is connected to the mainland and is accessible by a footpath and road.
  • Undoubtedly the main square of Naples, Piazza del Plebiscito where is located the Royal Palace and the Basilica Royal and is a truly fantastic place to visit.
  • Other significant places are the Cathedral of Naples, the Royal Palace and the island of Capri.

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