Interesting facts about Naples

naples

Naples is the regional capital of Campania and the third-largest municipality in Italy (after Rome and Milan).

The city is situated on the Gulf of Naples, on the western coast of southern Italy.

As of August 2019, the population of Naples is about 1 million people.

Naples covers a total area of 119 square kilometers (46 square miles).

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The city rises from sea level to an elevation of 450 meters (1,480 feet).

The city is situated between two areas of volcanic activity: Mount Vesuvius to the east and the Campi Flegrei (Phlegraean Fields) to the northwest. The most recent eruption of Vesuvius occurred in 1944. In 1980 an earthquake damaged Naples and its outlying towns, and since then Pozzuoli to the west has been seriously afflicted by bradyseism (a phenomenon involving a fall or rise of land).

First settled by Greeks in the second millennium BC, Naples is one of the oldest continuously inhabited urban areas in the world.

naples ancient greece

During the end of the Greek Dark Ages a larger mainland colony – initially known as Parthenope – developed around the 9-8th century BC, and was refounded as Neapolis in the 6th century BC.

When the city became part of the Roman Republic in the central province of the Empire, it was a major cultural center.

Naples is a microcosm of the European history because it saw several civilizations come and go, each leaving traces also in its art and architecture.

Naples was the capital of States and Empires, and it was a primary cultural center (especially for the Renaissance humanism of the 17th, 18th, 19th centuries).

naples history

Between 1925 and 1936, Naples was expanded and upgraded by Benito Mussolini’s government but subsequently sustained severe damage from Allied bombing during World War II, which led to extensive post-1945 reconstruction work.

Naples’ historic city center is the largest in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a wide range of culturally and historically significant sites nearby, including the Palace of Caserta and the Roman ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

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The main city square or piazza of the city is the Piazza del Plebiscito. It is named after the plebiscite taken on October 2, 1860 that brought Naples into the unified Kingdom of Italy under the House of Savoy. It is located very closely to the gulf of Naples, and bounded on the east by the Royal Palace and on the west by the church of San Francesco di Paola with colonnades extending to both sides.

piazza del plebiscito

Castel dell’Ovo is a seaside castle in Naples, located on the former island of Megaride, now a peninsula, on the Gulf of Naples in Italy. The castle’s name comes from a legend about the Roman poet Virgil, who had a reputation in the Middle Ages as a great sorcerer and predictor of the future. In the legend, Virgil put a magical egg into the foundations to support the fortifications. Had this egg been broken, the castle would have been destroyed and a series of disastrous events for Naples would have followed.

Castle Dell'Ovo

Castel Nuovo is a medieval castle located in front of Piazza Municipio and the city hall in central Naples. Its scenic location and imposing size makes the castle, first erected in 1279, one of the main architectural landmarks of the city. It was a royal seat for kings of Naples, Aragon and Spain until 1815.

castel nuovo

The National Archaeological Museum of Naples is an important Italian archaeological museum, particularly for ancient Roman remains. Its collection includes works from Greek, Roman and Renaissance times, and especially Roman artifacts from nearby Pompeii, Stabiae and Herculaneum.

national archaeological museum of naples

The Cappella Sansevero is a chapel located in the historic center of Naples. The chapel is more properly named the Chapel of Santa Maria della Pietà. It contains works of art by some of the leading Italian artists of the 18th century. The chapel houses almost thirty works of art, among which are three idiosyncratic sculptures.

cappella sansevero

The Catacombs of San Gennaro sometimes called the “Valley of the Dead” are underground paleo-Christian burial and worship sites in Naples, carved out of tuff, a porous stone. They are situated in the northern part of the city, on the slope leading up to Capodimonte, consisting of two levels, San Gennaro Superiore, and San Gennaro Inferiore.

catacombs of san gennaro

Naples is noted for its numerous higher education institutes and research centers. 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 in 1224.

university of naples federico II logo

Neapolitan cuisine is synonymous with pizza – which originated in the city – but it also includes many lesser-known dishes.

Naples is also internationally famous for its wine and gelato, which typically contains 70% less air and more flavoring than other kinds of frozen desserts, giving it a density and richness that distinguishes it from other ice creams.

Naples has the greatest number of accredited stars from the Michelin Guide of any Italian city.

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