Often called la bella Napoli, Naples is the capital of Campania and the home of pizza Neapolitana. One of the oldest cities in the world, it has been inhibited by the Greeks, Spanish, Romans and Arabs, and remained influential after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Naples served as the capital city of the Kingdom of Naples between 1282 and 1816, and became the capital of the Two Sicilies until Italy was unified in 1861. It was severely bombed in World War II. Today, Naples is a UNESCO World Heritage site with a population of fiery Neapolitans they say this is due to – Vesuvius boiling under their feet.
Neapolitans live by their patron Saint, Gennaro. It is believed that his blood liquefies each September 18, on his saint’s day. And the comic figure, Pulcinella, the classical character that originated in the 17th century Commedia dell’art, remains the voice of the people. Naples, set on the Bay of Naples, is one of the world’s grandest cities. It’s home to the first theatre in the world, the San Carlo and the sleeping volcano, Vesuvius. Its Museo Archeologico Nazionale holds one of the world’s finest collections of antiquities, many of which were brought here from early excavations of Pompeii. Take in the Capodimonte Royal Palace and Museum that was originally a hunting lodge for King Charles III. It evolved into the royal residence and a place for the king to house the Farnese collection, which includes portraits of members of ruling families, painted by Titian. These paintings formed the basis of the National Gallery (Galleria Nazionale), one of the finest art collections in Italy.
Must Sees in Naples:
San Martino Monastery
The former Carthusian monastery of San Martino was built in 1325 and rebuilt in the 17th century. It houses the Museo Nazionale di San Martino.
Catacombs of San Gennaro
The second-century Catacombs of San Gennaro, like the Roman Catacombs, are a maze of passages and tomb chambers.
The Piazza del Plebiscito is the Palazzo Reale, Royal Palace, begun in 1600 by Domenico Fontana and restored from 1837-41. It’s one of four palaces in the area that the Bourbon kings used as residences.
The Castel Nuovo
On the southern side of Piazza del Municipio is Castel Nuovo, the five-towered building also known as the Maschio Angioino. The property was the residence of kings and viceroys of Naples. Its history reflects the various rulers – French, Aragonese, Spanish, and Austrian — each adding and renovating to suit the times.
Naples is the birthplace of pizza, first made in honor of Queen Margherita in the colors of the Italian flag – red (tomato), white (mozzarella) and green (basil). Enjoy other street foods as well, such as pizza fritte, fried dough, and gelato! You will never run out of things to do in bella Napoli, Naples!