Naples (Napoli, Neapolitan: Nàpule) is a historic city in southern Italy, the capital of the Campania region and the province of Naples. The city is known for its rich history, art, culture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,500 years old. Naples is located halfway between two volcanic areas, the volcano Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, sitting on the coast by the Gulf of Naples.
Founded by the Ancient Greeks as "Νεάπολις", Neápolis (New City), it held an important role in Magna Graecia and then as part of the Roman Republic in the central province of the Empire. Naples was the capital city of a kingdom which bore its name from 1282 until 1816 in the form of the Kingdom of Naples, then in union with Sicily it was the capital of the Two Sicilies until the Italian unification.
Today the historic centre of the city is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The metropolitan area of Naples is the third most populated in Italy after Milan and Rome and the 15th largest in Europe with around 3.8 million people. In the central area, the city itself has a population of around 1 million people--the inhabitants are known as Neapolitans or poetically partenopei. The language spoken by its inhabitants, the Neapolitan language is spoken with similar variations throughout most of Southern Italy.
The city is synonymous with pizza, which originated in the city. A strong part of Neapolitan culture which has had wide reaching effects is music, including the invention of the romantic guitar and the mandolin as well as strong contributions to opera and folk standards. There are popular characters and figures who have come to symbolise Naples; these include the patron saint of the city Januarius, Pulcinella, and the Sirens from the epic Greek poem the Odyssey.
The history of the city can be traced back to the 7th century BC when inhabitants of the nearby Greek colony Cumae founded a city called Parthenope; Cumae itself had been founded by people from Euboea, Greece. The exact reasons for doing so are not known for certain, but the Cumaeans built Neapolis (meaning New City) next to the old Parthenope. Around this time they had held off invasion attempts from the Etruscans. The new city grew thanks to the influence of powerful Greek city-state Siracusa and at some point the new and old cities on the Gulf of Naples merged together to become one.
The city became an ally of the Roman Republic against Carthage; the strong walls surrounding Neapolis stopped invader Hannibal from entering. During the Samnite Wars, the city, now a bustling centre of trade, was captured by the Samnites; however, the Romans soon took it from them and made Neapolis a Roman colony. The city was greatly respected by the Romans as a place of Hellenistic culture: the people maintained their Greek language and customs; elegant villas, aqueducts, public baths, an odeon, a theatre and the Temple of Dioscures were built, and many powerful emperors chose to holiday in the city including Claudius and Tiberius. It was during this period that Christianity came to Naples; apostles St. Peter and St. Paul are said to have preached in the city. Also, St. Januarius, who would become Naples' patron saint, was martyred there.
Following the decline of the Western Roman Empire, Naples was captured by the Ostrogoths, a Germanic people, and incorporated into the Ostrogothic Kingdom. However, Belisarius of the Byzantine Empire (also known as the Eastern Roman Empire) took the city back in 536, after famously entering the city via the aqueduct. The Gothic Wars waged on, and Totila briefly took the city for the Ostrogoths in 543, before, finally, the Battle of Mons Lactarius on the slopes of Vesuvius decided Byzantine rule. Naples was expected to keep in contact with the Exarchate of Ravenna, which was the centre of Byzantine power on the Italian peninsula. After the exarchate fell a Duchy of Naples was created; though Naples continued with its Greco-Roman culture, it eventually switched allegiance under Duke Stephen II to Rome rather than Constantinople, putting it under papal suzerainty by 763.
The years between 818 and 832 were a particularly confusing period in regard to Naples' relation with the Byzantine Emperor, with feuding between local pretenders to the ducal throne. Theoctistus was appointed without imperial approval; this was later revoked and Theodore II took his place. However, the general populance chased him from the city and instead elected Stephen III, a man who minted coins with his own initials not that of the Byzantine Emperor. Naples gained complete independence by 840.
The duchy was under direct control of Lombards for a brief period, after the capture by Pandulf IV of the Principality of Capua, long term rival of Naples; however this only lasted three years before the culturally Greco-Roman influenced dukes were reinstated. By the 11th century, like many territories in the area, Naples hired Norman merecenaries, the Christian descendants of the Vikings, to battle their rivals; Duke Sergius IV hired Rainulf Drengot to battle Capua for him. 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. The last ruling duke of the duchy Sergius VII was forced to surrender to Roger II, who had proclaimed himself King of Sicily seven years earlier; this saw Naples joining the Kingdom of Sicily, where Palermo was the capital.
After a period as a Norman kingdom, the Kingdom of Sicily was passed on to the Hohenstaufens who were a highly powerful Germanic royal house of Swabian origins. The University of Naples Federico II was founded by Frederick II in the city, the oldest state university in the world, making Naples the intellectual centre of the kingdom. Conflict between the Hohenstaufen house and the Papacy, led in 1266 to Pope Innocent IV crowning Angevin Dynasty duke Charles I as the king of the kingdom: Charles officially moved the capital from Palermo to Naples where he resided at the Castel Nuovo. During this period much Gothic architecture sprang up around Naples, including the Naples Cathedral, which is the main church of the city.
In 1282, after the Sicilian Vespers, the kingdom split in half. The Angevin Kingdom of Naples included the southern part of the Italian peninsula, while the island of Sicily became the Aragonese Kingdom of Sicily. The wars continued until the peace of Caltabellotta in 1302, which saw Frederick III recognised as king of the Isle of Sicily, while Charles II was recognised as the king of Naples by Pope Boniface VIII. Despite the split, Naples grew in importance, attracting Pisan and Genoese merchants, Tuscan bankers, and with them some of the most championed Renaissance artists of the time, such as Boccaccio, Petrarch and Giotto. Alfonso I conquered Naples after his victory against the last Angevin king, René, Naples was unified for a brief period with Sicily again.
Sicily and Naples were separated in 1458 but remained as dependencies of Aragon under Ferrante. The new dynasty enhanced Naples' commerce by establishing relations with the Iberian peninsula. Naples also became a centre of the Renaissance, with artists such as Laurana, da Messina, Sannazzaro and Poliziano arriving in the city. During 1501 Naples became under direct rule from France at the time of Louis XII, as Neapolitan king Frederick was taken as a prisoner to France; this lasted only four years. Spain won Naples at the Battle of Garigliano and, as a result, Naples became under direct rule as part of the Spanish Empire throughout the entire Habsburg Spain period. The Spanish sent viceroys to Naples to directly deal with local issues: the most important of which was Pedro Álvarez de Toledo, who was responsible for considerable social, economic and urban progress in the city; he also supported the Inquisition.
During this period Naples became Europe's second largest city after only Paris. It was a cultural powerhouse during the Baroque era as home to artists including Caravaggio, Rosa and Bernini, philosophers such as Telesio, Bruno, Campanella and Vico, and writers such as Battista Marino. A revolution led by local fisherman Masaniello saw the creation of a brief independent Neapolitan Republic, though this last only a few months before Spanish rule was regained. Finally, by 1714, the Spanish ceased to rule Naples as a result of the War of the Spanish Succession; it was the Austrian Charles VI who ruled from Vienna, similarly with viceroys. However, the War of the Polish Succession saw the Spanish regain Sicily and Naples as part of a personal union, which in the Treaty of Vienna were recognised as independent under a cadet branch of the Spanish Bourbons in 1738 under Charles VII.
During the time of Ferdinand IV, the French Revolution made its way to Naples: Horatio Nelson, an ally of the Bourbons, even arrived in the city in 1798 to warn against it. However, Ferdinand was forced to retreat and fled to Palermo, where he was protected by a British fleet. Naples' lower classes the lazzaroni were strongly pious and Royalist, favouring the Bourbons; in the mêlée that followed, they fought the Neapolitan pro-Republican aristocracy, causing a civil war. The Republicans conquered Castel Sant'Elmo and proclaimed a Parthenopaean Republic, secured by the French Army. A counter-revolutionary religious army of lazzaroni under Fabrizio Ruffo was raised; they had great success and the French surrendered the Neapolitan castles and were allowed to sail back to Toulon.
Ferdinand IV was restored as king; however, after only seven years Napoleon conquered the kingdom and instated Bonapartist kings including his brother Joseph Bonaparte. With the help of the Austrian Empire and allies, the Bonapartists were defeated in the Neapolitan War and Bourbon Ferdinand IV once again regained the throne and the kingdom. The Congress of Vienna in 1815 saw the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily combined to form the Two Sicilies, with Naples as the capital city. Naples became the first city on the Italian peninsula to have a railway in 1839, there were many factories throughout the kingdom making it a highly important trade centre.
The central and main open city square or piazza of the city is the Piazza del Plebiscito. It was started by Bonapartist king Joachim Murat and finished by Bourbon king Ferdinand IV. It is bounded on the east by the Royal Palace and on the west by the church of San Francesco di Paola with the colonnades extending to both sides. Nearby is the Teatro di San Carlo, which is the oldest and largest opera house on the Italian peninsula. Directly across from San Carlo is Galleria Umberto, a shopping centre and active centre of Neapolitan social life in general.
Naples is well-known for its historic castles: the ancient Castel Nuovo is one of the most notable architectural representatives on the city, also known as Maschio Angioino; it was built during the time of Charles I, the first ever king of Naples. Castel Nuovo has hosted some historical religious events: for example, in 1294, Pope Celestine V resigned as pope in a hall of the castle, and following this Pope Boniface VIII was elected pope here by the cardinal collegium, and immediately moved to Rome.
The castle which Nuovo replaced in importance was the Norman founded Castel dell'Ovo. Its name means Egg Castle and it is built on the tiny islet Megarides, where the Cumaean colonists founded the city. The third castle of note is Sant'Elmo which was completed in 1329 and is built in the shape of a star. During the uprising of Masaniello, the Spanish took refuge in Sant'Elmo to escape the revolutionaries.
Naples hosts a wealth of historical museums and some of the most important in the country. The Naples National Archaeological Museum is one of the main museums, considered one of the most important for artifacts of the Roman Empire in the world. It also hosts many of the antiques unearthed at Pompeii and Herculaneum, as well as some artifacts from the Greek and Renaissance periods.
Previously a Bourbon palace, now a museum and art gallery, the Museo di Capodimonte is probably the most important in Naples. The art gallery features paintings from the 13th to the 18th century including major works by Simone Martini, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, El Greco and many others, including Neapolitan School painters Jusepe de Ribera and Luca Giordano. The royal apartments are furnished with antique 18th century furniture and a collection of porcelain and majolica from the various royal residences: the famous Capodimonte Porcelain Factory was just adjacent to the palace.
The Certosa di San Martino was formerly a monastery complex but is now a museum and remains one of the most visible landmarks of Naples. Displayed within the museum are Spanish and Bourbon-era artifacts, as well as displays of the nativity scene, considered to be among the finest in the world. Pietrarsa railway museum is located in the city: Naples has a proud railway history and the museum features, amongst many other things, the Bayard, the first locomotive in the Italian peninsula. Other museums include the Villa Pignatelli and Palazzo Como, and one of Italy's national libraries (the Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III) is also located in the city.
Hosting the Archdiocese of Naples, the Catholic faith is highly important to the people of Naples and there are hundreds of churches in the city. The Cathedral of Naples is the most important place of worship in the city, each year on September 19 it hosts the Miracle of Saint Januarius, the city's patron saint. In the miracle which thousands of Neapolitans flock to witness, the dried blood of Januarius is said to turn to liquid when brought close to relics said to be of his body: this is one of the most important traditions for Neapolitans. Below is a selective list of some of the best-known churches, chapels, monastery complexes and religious structures in Naples;
There are various other interesting features of note around Naples. Underneath Naples there is a series of caves and structures created by centuries of mining, which is in part of an underground geothermal zone. The general public are able to go on tours of the underground and there is even a museum. Aside from the main piazza there are two more in the form of Piazza Dante and Piazza dei Martiri. The latter is somewhat controversial: it originally just had a memorial to martyrs but in 1866, after the Italian unification, four lions were added, representing the four rebellions against the Bourbons.
Founded in 1667 by the Spanish, the San Gennaro dei Poveri is a hospital for the poor which is still in existence today. It was a forerunner of a much more ambitious project, the gigantic Bourbon Hospice for the Poor started by Charles III. This was for the destitute and ill of the city; it also provided a self-sufficient community where the poor would live and work. Today it is no longer a hospital.
Of the public parks in Naples, the most prominent is the Villa Comunale, previously known as the Royal Garden as its building was ordered by Bourbon king Ferdinand IV in the 1780s. The second most important park is Parco Virgiliano which is very green and has views towards the tiny volcanic islet of Nisida; beyond that in the distance are Procida and Ischia. It was named after Virgil the classical Roman poet who is thought to be entombed nearby.
10. San Ferdinando
12. San Giuseppe
16. San Lorenzo
20. San Carlo all'Arena
25. S.Pietro a Patierno
27. Zona Industriale
28. San Giovanni a Teduccio
The population of Naples itself is around one million people. Its greater metropolitan area, sometimes known as Greater Naples has an additional population of 2.5 million; the towns which are usually included within this area are Arzano, Casandrino, Casavatore, Casoria, Cercola, Marano di Napoli, Melito di Napoli, Mugnano di Napoli, Portici, Pozzuoli, Quarto, San Giorgio a Cremano, San Sebastiano al Vesuvio and Volla. The demographic profile for the Neapolitan province in general is quite young: 19% are under age 14, while 13% are over 65, compared to the national average of 14% and 19%, respectively. There is a higher percentage of females with 52.4%, while males number 47.6% were male. Naples currently has a higher birth rate than other parts of Italy with 10.46 births per 1,000 inhabitants compared to the Italian average of 9.45 births.
Unlike many northern Italian cities there are far fewer immigrants in Naples. 98.5% of the people are Italians. In 2006, there were a total of 19,188 foreigners in the actual city of Naples; the majority of foreigners are Eastern European, coming particularly from the Ukraine and Poland. Non-Europeans in general are very low in number, however there are some small Sri Lankan and East Asian immigrant communities. Statistics show that the vast majority of immigrants are female; this is because male workers tend to head North.
The economy of Naples and its closest surrounding area is based largely in tourism, commerce, industry and agriculture; Naples also acts as a busy cargo terminal. Naples used to be a busy industrial city, though many of the factories are no longer there. It previously had an important steel industry and hosted a large Mobil-Oil refinery facility. In the modern day notable parts of its industry includes the Alfa Romeo automobile factory at nearby Pomigliano d'Arco; the word "Romeo" in the company name is a reference to Neapolitan engineer Nicola Romeo.
The ecomony is measured on a provincial level; the province of Naples is placed 94th out of the total of 103 provinces in Italy in terms of gross value added. Statistics do not include wealth generated by the black market or untaxed wages. It is not uncommon for Neapolitan workers to move North because unemployment is at around 28%. The business centre of Naples is the Centro Direzionale. This was built only in recent times and features skyscraper technology designed by Kenzo Tange; it is an attempt to centralise and improve the business and economy of Naples, also providing jobs with its hotels and shops.
In recent times, there has been a move away from traditional agriculture-based economy in the province to one based on service industries. In early 2002 there were over 249,590 enterprises operating in the province of Naples registered in the Chamber of Commerce Public Register. This sector employs the majority of the people, though more than half of these are small enterprises with fewer than 20 workers; 70 companies are medium-sized with more than 200 workers; and 15 have more than 500 workers. Employment in the province of Naples in different sectors breaks down as follows:
|Public services||Manufacturing||Commerce||Construction||Transportation||Financial services||Agriculture||Hotel trade||Other activities|
There are many public and private institutions of higher education in Naples, as well as numerous institutes and research centres. Naples hosts what is thought to be the oldest state university in the world in the form of the University of Naples Federico II, which was founded by Frederick II during 1224. It is by far the most important university in southern Italy, with around 100,000 students and over 3000 professors. Part of the university is the important Botanical Garden of Naples which was opened in 1807 by Giuseppe Bonaparte (using Bourbon king Ferdinand IV's plans). Its 15 hectares feature around 25,000 samples of vegetation, covering about 10,000 plant species.
People from the city are also served by the Seconda Università degli Studi di Napoli, the second most important university of the city, opened far more recently in 1989, which, despite its name, has strong links to the nearby province of Caserta. A unique centre of education in the city is the Istituto Universitario Orientale which specialises in Eastern culture, founded by Jesuit missionary Matteo Ripa in 1732 after he returned from work in the court of Kangxi Emperor of the Manchu Qing Dynasty in China. There are other prominent universities in Naples too, such as the Parthenope University of Naples, the private Istituto Universitario Suor Orsola Benincasa and the Jesuit-run Theological Seminary of Southern Italy. In keeping with its strong musical legacy, Naples has a place to study music in the form of the San Pietro a Maiella music conservatory. The earliest music conservatories of Naples go back to the 1500s under the Spanish rule.
The city has a long history of producing a variety of famous dishes and wines; it draws its influence from different civilisations which have ruled the city at various times such as the Greeks, Spanish and French. Neapolitan cuisine emerged completely as its own distinct form in the 18th century. The ingredients are typically rich in taste while remaining affordable to the general populace.
Perhaps the best-known aspect of Neapolitan cooking is its rich savoury dishes. Naples is traditionally held as the home of pizza. This originated as a meal of the poor, but under Ferdinand IV it became better known: famously, the Margherita was named after Queen Margherita after a visit to the city. Cooked traditionally in a wood-burning oven, ingredients are strictly regulated by a law dating from 2004, and must be composed of wheat flour type "00" with the addition of flour type "0" yeast, natural water, peeled tomatoes or fresh cherry tomatoes, marine salt, and extra virgin olive oil. Spaghetti is associated with the city and is commonly eaten with the sauce ragù: a Neapolitan symbol is folklore figure Pulcinella eating a plate of spaghetti. Others include parmigiana di melanzane, spaghetti alle vongole and casatiello.
Naples also has some famous sweet dishes, including colourful gelato, similar though more fruit-based than ice cream. Some of the pastry dishes include: zeppole, babà, sfogliatelle and pastiera, the latter of which is prepared especially for Easter. Another seasonal sweet is struffoli, a sweet tasting honey dough decorated and eaten around Christmas. There are some beverages from Naples also: it produces wines from the Vesuvius area such as Lacryma Christi ("tear of Christ") and Terzigno. Also from Naples is limoncello the highly popular lemon liqueur.
Naples has played an important and vibrant role over the centuries in the general history of western European musical traditions. The history of Naples as a strong musical power can be traced back to the time of Spanish rule where organised music conservatories of Naples were first introduced. It was during the late Baroque period that Alessandro Scarlatti (father of Domenico Scarlatti) established the Neapolitan school of opera; this was in the form of opera seria which was a new development for its time. Another form of opera originating in Naples is opera buffa, a comic opera strongly linked to Battista Pergolesi and Piccinni; later Rossini and Mozart would use the genre. The grandiose Teatro di San Carlo built in 1737, the oldest working theatre in Europe, was the operatic centre of the city and remains so to this day.
The earliest six-string guitar was created by a Neapolitan named Gaetano Vinaccia in 1779 (known as the romantic guitar); the Vinaccia family had also developed the mandolin. Along with the Spanish, Neapolitans became pioneers of classical guitar music with Ferdinando Carulli and Mauro Giuliani being prominent exponents. Giuliani was actually from further south in the Kingdom of Naples – Apulia - but had moved to Naples; Giuliani is considered to be one of the greatest guitar players and composers of the 19th century, along with his great Catalan contemporary Fernando Sor. Another Neapolitan musical artist who had an impact on the world stage is opera singer Enrico Caruso, one of the most famous and respected tenors of all time: he was considered a man of the people in Naples and came from a working class background.
Perhaps the most well known part of Neapolitan music is the Canzone Napoletana style, essentially the traditional music of the city with a repertoire of hundreds of folk songs, some of which can be traced back to the 1200s. The songs O sole mio and Funiculì Funiculà are part of this style and are known far and wide outside of Naples. The genre became a formal institution in 1835 thanks to the introduction of the annual Festival of Piedigrotta songwriting competition. Some of the best-known recording artists in this field includes Roberto Murolo, Sergio Bruni and Renato Carosone. There are other forms of music played in Naples which are not well known outside the area but hugely popular within it, such as cantautore (singer-songwriter) and sceneggiata, which has been described as a musical soap opera; the most well known artist of this style is Mario Merola.
Football is by far the most popular sport in Naples, brought to the city by the English during the early 1900s, it is deeply embedded in local culture: it is played by everyone from the scugnizzi (street children of Naples) to professional level. The best-known club from the city is SSC Napoli who play at the Stadio San Paolo in Fuorigrotta. They play in the highly prestigious Serie A league and won it twice during the time of Diego Maradona, they also won the UEFA Cup.
The city has produced numerous professional players, the most famous of whom are Ciro Ferrara and Fabio Cannavaro, the latter led Italy to the 2006 World Cup as captain and was World Player of the Year. Some of the smaller clubs from the city include Sporting Neapolis and Internapoli who play at the Stadio Arturo Collana. The city also has participants in other sports though less popular: Eldo Napoli represent the city in basketball's variation of Serie A playing at Bagnoli. Partenope Rugby are the best-known rugby union side, winning the rugby version of Serie A twice. Other sports played to some extent include water polo, horse racing and sailing. As well as fencing, boxing, taekwondo and other martial arts. The "Accademia Nazionale di Scherma" (National Academy and Fence School of Naples) is the only place in Italy where the titles "Master of Sword" and "Master of Kendo" can be obtained.
Naples is well connected in regards to major motorways, known in Italy as autostrada. From Naples all the way north to Milan is the A1 known as autostrada del Sole (motorway of the sun), the longest transalpine motorway on the peninsula. There are other autostrada from Naples too, such as the A3 which goes southwards down to Salerno where the motorway to Reggio Calabria begins, as well as the A16 which goes across east to Canosa. The latter is called the autostrada dei Due Mari (motorway of the Two Seas) because it connects the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Adriatic Sea.
Within the actual city itself there are many public transport services, including trams, buses, funiculars and trolleybuses. Naples also has its own Naples Metro, the underground rapid transit railway system of the city which has integrated into one single service system the several railways lines of Naples and its metro stations. Suburban rail services are provided by Trenitalia, Circumvesuviana, Ferrovia Cumana and Metronapoli. The main general train station of the city is Napoli Centrale, which is located in Piazza Garibaldi; another significant station is the Napoli Campi Flegrei. Naples has lots of narrow streets, so the general public commonly use compact hatchback cars and scooters are especially common. Naples is now connected to Rome by high-speed railway with trains running at almost , reducing journey time to under an hour; the system was introducted in 2007.
The port of Naples has several ferry, hydrofoil and SWATH catamarans services open to the general public, most of which are to places within the Neapolitan province such as Capri, Ischia and Sorrento, or the Salernitan province, such as Salerno, Positano and Amalfi. There are however some which go to destinations further afield, such as Sicily, Sardinia, Ponza and the Aeolian Islands. There are many enterprises at the port, which is important for transferring cargo and is a growing centre of commerce in general. Within the scope of suburb San Pietro a Patierno is the Naples International Airport, the most important airport in southern Italy, which serves millions of people each year with around 140 flights arriving or departing daily.
Naples is involved in town twinning (known as gemellaggio in Italian), a mutual partnership with several cities. Below are partner cities listed on the official website of the city of Naples;
Since 1995, the historic centre of Naples has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, a programme which aims to catalogue, name, and conserve sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common heritage of humanity. The deciding committee who evaluate potential candidates described Naples' centre as being "of exceptional value", and went on to say that Naples' "setting on the Bay of Naples gives it an outstanding universal value which has had a profound influence".