Naples

Napoli… a’ Pizza!

Naples is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Bronze Age Greek settlements were established in the Naples area in the second millennium BC.

A larger colony – initially known as Parthenope, Παρθενόπη – developed on the Island of Megaride around the ninth century BC, at the end of the Greek Dark Ages. The city was refounded[as Neápolis in the sixth century BC and became a lynchpin of Magna Graecia, playing a key role in the merging of Greek culture into Roman society and eventually becoming a cultural centre of the Roman Republic.

Naples remained influential after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, serving as the capital city of the Kingdom of Naples between 1282 and 1816. Thereafter, in union with Sicily, it became the capital of the Two Sicilies until the unification of Italy in 1861.

Naples’ historic city centre is the largest in Europe, covering 1,700 hectares (4,200 acres) and enclosing 27 centuries of history, and is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Naples has long been a major cultural centre with a global sphere of influence, particularly during the Renaissance and Enlightenment eras. In the immediate vicinity of Naples are numerous culturally and historically significant sites, including the Palace of Caserta and the Roman ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Culinarily, Naples is synonymous with pizza, which originated in the city.

Neapolitan music has furthermore been highly influential, credited with the invention of the romantic guitar and the mandolin, as well as notable contributions to opera and folk standards.

Popular characters and historical figures who have come to symbolise the city include Januarius, the patron saint of Naples, the comic figure Pulcinella, and the Sirens from the Greek epic poem the Odyssey.

According to CNN, the metro stop “Toledo” is the most beautiful in Europe and it won also the LEAF Award ‘2013 as “Public building of the year”. Naples is the Italian city with the highest number of accredited stars from the Michelin Guide.

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