Naples is the capital of the Campania Region of Italy. This city covers an area of forty-five square miles and has a population of over nine hundred thousand residents. Naples is situated between two volcanic areas, Mount Versuvius and Phlegraean Fields and sits on the coast by the Gulf of Naples.
In terms of economic strength, the city of Naples is the fourth largest in Italy and is in the top one hundred of the world’s richest cities. The city has a Gross Domestic Product of forty-three billion dollars and experiences a steady economic growth. Naples is also known worldwide for its cultural, architectural and historical value.
- Naples is a city that can trace its history to the eight century BC when inhabitants of the Greek colony founded the city of Parthenope.
- This city experienced an impressive amount of growth due in part to the influence of the Greek city states and its role as a trade route.
- This city merged with several other cities in the region and formed the city of Naples.
- The city went on to become well respected by the Roman Empire due to its adherence to Hellenistic culture.
Residents of Naples had maintained their Greek language and the city was bursting forth with amenities such as public baths, villas, aqueducts and theaters. The Golden Age of the city would come to an end with the decline of the Roman Empire. This was when the city was captured by the Ostrogoths and became of part of the Ostrogothic Kingdom. The city was recaptured by the Byzantine Empire during the sixth century.
Eventually, after a period of intense warfare between the Ostrogoths and the Byzantines, the Duchy of Naples was created. In the twelfth century, the city would fall under Norman control. It was also during the twelfth century that the University of Naples was founded, making the city the intellectual center of the kingdom. During the nineteenth century, Naples became a part of the Kingdom of Italy.
Naples has an economy that is based on five important sectors. The first economic sector of the city is based upon the electronic and light aircraft industries. The second important economic sector is manufacturing. Other economic activities of the city include ship building, the food industry and tourism.
Its tourism industry is greatly bolstered by the large concentration of cultural resources and monuments that are concentrated within the city. The city is also known for its architectural history that is a combination of Medieval, Baroque and Renaissance architecture. In fact, the historic center of the city is listed as a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
One of the most prominent attractions in Naples is the Museo Archeologico Nazionale (otherwise known as the Naples National Archaeological Museum). This world class museum contains a large collection of Roman and Greek artifacts from ancient times all the way to the Renaissance. The building in which the museum is located was erected in the mid-eighteenth century and was originally used as a cavalry barracks.
The Naples National Archaeological Museum contains a collection which includes bronzes
- Papyri Villa, classical sculpture such as the Farnese Hercules
- Farnese Bull
- Farnese Atlas
- Venus Kallipygos and busts of the Roman Emperors.
The city also includes famous mosaics and an Egyptian collection. Another prominent museum located in Naples is the National Museum of Capodimonte. This museum contains a large collection of Neapolitan decorative art and is loacted within the Palace of Capodimonte. The collection located here date back to the eighteenth century when King Charles VII built the palace to house his mother’s extensive collection of Farnese art that he inherited. Throughout the eighteenth century, the collection was gradually enlarged and a restoration laboratory was created.
The palace was converted into a museum during the 1950s and many more works were relocated here from the National Museum. Its collection includes works from artists such as Niccolo dell’Abbate, Antonio Allegri, Jacob de Backer, Sisto Badalocchio, Fra Bartolomeo, Jacopo de’ Barbari, Sofonisba Anguissola, Joachim Beuckelaer, Giovanni Bellini, Bronzino, Caravaggio, Bernardo Cavallino, Aniello Falcone, Matteo di Giovanni, Simone Martini and Francesco De Mura.
Naples is considered to be one of the most Catholic cities in the entire world. This can be evidenced by the large collection of churches in the city, almost five hundred altogether. The Cathedral of Naples is one of the most important places of worship in the city and is dedicated to the city’s patron saint San Gennaro. The church was founded by King Charles I during the fourteenth century.
This cathedral contains various works of art which includes frescoes by Giovanni Lanfranco and paintings from various forteenth century French masters.
Other prominent churches in the city include
- Santa Chiara, Gesù Nuovo
- San Domenico Maggiore
- Sansevero Chapel
- Santa Maria Donna Regina Vecchia
- San Lorenzo Maggiore
- Santa Maria Donna Regina Nuova
- San Giovanni a Carbonara
- San Francesco di Paola
- Madre del Buon Consiglio
- Sant’Eligio Maggiore
- San Gregorio Armeno
- Santa Maria del Carmine
- Santissima Annunziata
- Sant’Anna dei Lombardi
- Santa Caterina a Chiaia
- San Gennaro extra Moenia
- San Pietro Martire
- San Pietro a Maiella
- Hermitage of Camaldoli
- Santa Maria La Nova
- Santa Restituta
- San Ferdinando and Girolamini