Naples facts for kids
Ancient Greeks settled Naples in the 6th Century B.C. There were so many Greeks there, the Romans called it Magna Graecia, which means "Greater Greece." Later the Romans conquered the southern Italy and took Naples. When the Roman Empire fell to invaders in the west, Naples came under the rule of the Byzantines. The Byzantines ruled the Greek-speaking Eastern Roman Empire based in Greece and also in what is today called Turkey.
Naples became independent later and but was combined with the Kingdom of Sicily during the Middle Ages. By 1500 it was ruled by Aragón, which was a kingdom in eastern Spain. Later Naples became part of Spain when Aragon and the other kingdom in Spain called Castile became one country. Naples was part of this Kingdom of Spain until the Austrian Empire got it in the War of the Spanish Succession in 1714. The Italian kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont conquered it in 1861. That kingdom became known as Italy. Naples was heavily bombed when Italy fought in World War Two, since British/American armies tried to capture it.
Today Naples is the capital of Campania and the largest city in southern Italy. It has a population of about 1 million. 300,000 people live in the area around Naples (including the habitans of Naples). It is an important city for tourists.
There is one airport in the city, Naples International Airport at Capodichino.
It was the capital of the former Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
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Greek birth and Roman acquisition
Naples has been inhabited since the Neolithic period. The earliest Greek settlements were established in the Naples area in the second millennium BC. Sailors from the Greek island of Rhodes established a small commercial port called Parthenope (Παρθενόπη, meaning "Pure Eyes", a Siren in Greek mythology) on the island of Megaride in the ninth century BC. By the eighth century BC, the settlement had expanded to include Monte Echia. In the sixth century BC the new urban zone of Neápolis (Νεάπολις) was founded on the plain, eventually becoming one of the foremost cities of Magna Graecia.
The city grew rapidly due to the influence of the powerful Greek city-state of Syracuse, and became an ally of the Roman Republic against Carthage. During the Samnite Wars, the city, now a bustling centre of trade, was captured by the Samnites; however, the Romans soon captured the city from them and made it a Roman colony. During the Punic Wars, the strong walls surrounding Neápolis repelled the invading forces of the Carthaginian general Hannibal.
Naples was greatly respected by the Romans as a paragon of Hellenistic culture. During the Roman era, the people of Naples maintained their Greek language and customs, while the city was expanded with elegant Roman villas, aqueducts, and public baths. Landmarks such as the Temple of Dioscures were built, and many emperors chose to holiday in the city, including Claudius and Tiberius. Virgil, the author of Rome's national epic, the Aeneid, received part of his education in the city, and later resided in its environs.
It was during this period that Christianity first arrived in Naples; the apostles Peter and Paul are said to have preached in the city. Januarius, who would become Naples' patron saint, was martyred there in the fourth century AD. The last emperor of the Western Roman Empire, Romulus Augustulus, was exiled to Naples by the Germanic king Odoacer in the fifth century AD.
Duchy of Naples
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 recaptured Naples in 536, after entering the city via an aqueduct.
In 543, during the Gothic Wars, Totila briefly took the city for the Ostrogoths, but the Byzantines seized control of the area following the Battle of Mons Lactarius on the slopes of Vesuvius. 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. Although Naples' Greco-Roman culture endured, it eventually switched allegiance from Constantinople to Rome under Duke Stephen II, putting it under papal suzerainty by 763.
The years between 818 and 832 were tumultuous in regard to Naples' relations with the Byzantine Emperor, with numerous local pretenders feuding for possession of the ducal throne. Theoctistus was appointed without imperial approval; his appointment was later revoked and Theodore II took his place. However, the disgruntled general populace chased him from the city, and instead elected Stephen III, a man who minted coins with his own initials, rather than those of the Byzantine Emperor. Naples gained complete independence by the early ninth century. During the 850s, the city was sacked by Saracen raiders.
The duchy was under the direct control of the Lombards for a brief period, after the capture by Pandulf IV of the Principality of Capua, a long-term rival of Naples; however, this regime lasted only three years before the Greco-Roman-influenced dukes were reinstated. By the 11th century, Naples had begun to employ Norman mercenaries to battle their rivals; Duke Sergius IV hired Rainulf Drengot to wage war on Capua for him.
By 1137, the Normans had attained great influence in Italy, controlling previously 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. Naples thus joined the Kingdom of Sicily, with Palermo as the capital.
Kingdom of Naples
Norman to Angevin
After a period of Norman rule, the Kingdom of Sicily went to the Hohenstaufens, a German royal house. The University of Naples, the first university in Europe dedicated to training secular administrators, was founded by Frederick II, making Naples the intellectual centre of the kingdom. Conflict between the Hohenstaufens and the Papacy led in 1266 to Pope Innocent IV crowning the Angevin duke Charles I King of Sicily: Charles officially moved the capital from Palermo to Naples, where he resided at the Castel Nuovo. Having a great interest in architecture, Charles I imported French architects and workmen and was personally involved in several building projects in the city. Many examples of Gothic architecture sprang up around Naples, including the Naples Cathedral, which remains the city's main church.
In 1282, after the Sicilian Vespers, the Kingdom of Sicily was divided into two. The Angevin Kingdom of Naples included the southern part of the Italian peninsula, while the island of Sicily became the Aragonese Kingdom of Sicily. Wars between the competing dynasties continued until the Peace of Caltabellotta in 1302, which saw Frederick III recognised as king of Sicily, while Charles II was recognised as king of Naples by Pope Boniface VIII. Despite the split, Naples grew in importance, attracting Pisan and Genoese merchants, Tuscan bankers, and some of the most prominent Renaissance artists of the time, such as Boccaccio, Petrarch and Giotto. During the 14th century, the Hungarian Angevin king Louis the Great captured the city several times. In 1442, Alfonso I conquered Naples after his victory against the last Angevin king, René, and Naples was unified with Sicily again for a brief period.
Aragonese and Spanish
Sicily and Naples were separated in 1458, but remained dependencies of Aragon under Ferdinand I. The new dynasty enhanced Naples' commercial standing 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. In 1501, Naples came under direct rule from France under Louis XII, with the Neapolitan king Frederick being taken as a prisoner to France; however, this state of affairs did not last long, as Spain won Naples from the French at the Battle of Garigliano in 1503.
Following the Spanish victory, Naples became part of the Spanish Empire, and remained so throughout the Spanish Habsburg period. The Spanish sent viceroys to Naples to directly deal with local issues: the most important of these viceroys was Pedro Álvarez de Toledo, who was responsible for considerable social, economic and urban reforms in the city; he also supported the activities of the Inquisition.
By the 17th century, Naples had become Europe's second-largest city – second only to Paris – and the largest European Mediterranean city, with around 250,000 inhabitants. The city was a major cultural centre during the Baroque era, being home to artists such as Caravaggio, Salvator Rosa and Bernini, philosophers such as Bernardino Telesio, Giordano Bruno, Tommaso Campanella and Giambattista Vico, and writers such as Giambattista Marino. A revolution led by the local fisherman Masaniello saw the creation of a brief independent Neapolitan Republic in 1647, though this lasted only a few months before Spanish rule was reasserted. In 1656, an outbreak of bubonic plague killed about half of Naples' 300,000 inhabitants.
In 1714, Spanish rule over Naples came to an end as a result of the War of the Spanish Succession; the Austrian Charles VI ruled the city from Vienna through viceroys of his own. However, the War of the Polish Succession saw the Spanish regain Sicily and Naples as part of a personal union, with the 1738 Treaty of Vienna recognising the two polities as independent under a cadet branch of the Spanish Bourbons.
During the time of Ferdinand IV, the effects of the French Revolution were felt in Naples: Horatio Nelson, an ally of the Bourbons, even arrived in the city in 1798 to warn against the French republicans. Ferdinand was forced to retreat and fled to Palermo, where he was protected by a British fleet. However, Naples' lower class 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.
Eventually, the Republicans conquered Castel Sant'Elmo and proclaimed a Parthenopaean Republic, secured by the French Army. A counter-revolutionary religious army of lazzaroni known as the sanfedisti under Cardinal Fabrizio Ruffo was raised; they met with great success, and the French were forced to surrender the Neapolitan castles, with their fleet sailing back to Toulon.
Ferdinand IV was restored as king; however, after only seven years Napoleon conquered the kingdom and installed Bonapartist kings, including his brother Joseph Bonaparte (the Spanish king). With the help of the Austrian Empire and its allies, the Bonapartists were defeated in the Neapolitan War, and Ferdinand IV once again regained the throne and the kingdom.
Independent Two Sicilies
The Congress of Vienna in 1815 saw the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily combine to form the Two Sicilies, with Naples as the capital city. In 1839, Naples became the first city on the Italian peninsula to have a railway, with the construction of the Naples–Portici railway.
Italian unification to the present day
After the Expedition of the Thousand led by Giuseppe Garibaldi, which culminated in the controversial Siege of Gaeta, Naples became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861 as part of the Italian unification, ending the era of Bourbon rule. The kingdom of the Two Sicilies had been wealthy, and as many as 443.2 million ducats were taken from the old kingdom's banks as a contribution to the new Italian treasury. The economy of the area formerly known as the Two Sicilies collapsed, leading to an unprecedented wave of emigration, with an estimated 4 million people emigrating from the Naples area between 1876 and 1913. In the forty years following unification, the population of Naples grew by only 26%, vs. 63% for Turin and 103% for Milan; however, by 1884, Naples was still the largest city in Italy with 496,499 inhabitants, or roughly 64,000 per square kilometre (more than twice the population density of Paris).
Public health conditions in certain areas of the city were poor, with twelve epidemics of cholera and typhoid fever causing the death of some 48,000 people in the half century 1834–1884, and a high (for the time) death rate of 31.84 per thousand even in the epidemic-free period 1878–1883. Then in 1884, Naples fell victim to a major cholera epidemic, caused largely by the city's poor sewerage infrastructure. As response to these problems the government prompted since 1852 a radically transformation of the city called risanamento with the objective of improving the sewerage infrastructure and replacing the most clustered areas with large and airy avenues as this was considered the main cause of insalubrity. the project proved difficult to accomplish both politically and economically due to corruption as shown in the Saredo Inquiry, land speculation and extremely long bureaucracy, all these led to the project to take several decades to complete with contrasted results. The most notable transformations made were the construction of Via Caracciolo in place of the beach along the promenade, the creation of Galleria Umberto I and Galleria Principe and the construction of Corso Umberto.
Naples was the most-bombed Italian city during World War II. Though Neapolitans did not rebel under Italian Fascism, Naples was the first Italian city to rise up against German military occupation; the city was completely freed by 1 October 1943, when British and American forces entered the city. Departing Germans burned the library of the university, as well as the Italian Royal Society. They also destroyed the city archives. Time bombs planted throughout the city continued to explode into November. The symbol of the rebirth of Naples was the rebuilding of the church of Santa Chiara, which had been destroyed in a United States Army Air Corps bombing raid.
Special funding from the Italian government's Fund for the South was provided from 1950 to 1984, helping the Neapolitan economy to improve somewhat, with city landmarks such as the Piazza del Plebiscito being renovated. However, high unemployment continues to affect Naples; Italian media attributed the past city's waste disposal issues to the activity of the Camorra organised crime network. In 2007, Silvio Berlusconi's government held senior meetings in Naples to demonstrate their intention to solve these problems. However, the late-2000s recession had a severe impact on the city, intensifying its waste-management and unemployment problems. By August 2011, the number of unemployed in the Naples area had risen to 250,000, sparking public protests against the economic situation. In June 2012, allegations of blackmail, extortion and illicit contract tendering emerged in relation to the city's waste management issues.
Naples hosted the 6th World Urban Forum in September 2012 and the 63rd International Astronautical Congress in October 2012. In 2013, it was the host of the Universal Forum of Cultures. it will host the 2019 Summer Universiade
Naples' 2,800-year history has left it with a wealth of historical buildings and monuments, from medieval castles to classical ruins, and a wide range of culturally and historically significant sites nearby, including the Palace of Caserta and the Roman ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
The most prominent forms of architecture visible in present-day Naples are the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque styles.
Naples has a total of 448 historical churches (1000 in total), making it one of the most Catholic cities in the world in terms of the number of places of worship. In 1995, the historic centre of Naples was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, a United Nations programme which aims to catalogue and conserve sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common heritage of mankind.
Naples is one of the most ancient cities in Europe, whose contemporary urban fabric preserves the elements of its long and eventful history. The rectangular grid layout of the ancient Greek foundation of Neapolis is still discernible and has indeed continued to provide the basic form for the present-day urban fabric of the Historic Centre of Naples, one of the foremost Mediterranean port cities. From the Middle Ages to the 18th century, Naples was a focal point in terms of art and architecture, expressed in its ancient forts, the royal ensembles such as the Royal Palace of 1600, and the palaces and churches sponsored by the noble families.—UNESCO's Criterion
Piazzas, palaces and castles
The main city square or piazza of the city is the Piazza del Plebiscito. Its construction was begun by the Bonapartist king Joachim Murat and finished by the Bourbon king Ferdinand IV. The piazza 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 on both sides. Nearby is the Teatro di San Carlo, which is the oldest opera house in Italy. Directly across from San Carlo is Galleria Umberto, a shopping centre and social hub.
Naples is well known for its historic castles: The most ancient is Castel dell'Ovo ("Egg Castle"), which was built on the tiny islet of Megarides, where the original Cumaean colonists had founded the city. In Roman times the islet became part of Lucullus's villa and later it was the site to which the last western Roman emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was exiled.
Castel Nuovo, also known as Maschio Angioino, is one of the city's foremost landmarks; it was built during the time of Charles I, the first king of Naples. Castel Nuovo has seen many notable historical 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 by the cardinal collegium, before moving to Rome.
Castel Capuano was built in the 12th century by William I, the son of Roger II of Sicily, the first monarch of the Kingdom of Naples. It was expanded by Frederick II and became one of his royal palaces. Along its history the castle was the residence of many kings and queens. In the 16th century it became the Hall of justice.
Another Neapolitan castle is Castel Sant'Elmo, which was completed in 1329 and is built in the shape of a star. Its strategic position that overlook the entire city made it the aim of various invaders. During the uprising of Masaniello in 1647, the Spanish took refuge in Sant'Elmo to escape the revolutionaries.
The Carmine Castle, built in 1392 and highly modified in the 16th century by the Spanish, was demolished in 1906 to make room for the Via Marina, although two of the castle's towers remain as a monument. The Vigliena Fort, which was built in 1702, was destroyed in 1799 during the royalist war against the Parthenopean Republic, and is now abandoned and in ruin.
Naples is widely known for its wealth of historical museums. The Naples National Archaeological Museum is one of the city's main museums, with one of the most extensive collections of artefacts of the Roman Empire in the world. It also houses many of the antiques unearthed at Pompeii and Herculaneum, as well as some artefacts from the Greek and Renaissance periods.
Previously a Bourbon palace, now a museum and art gallery, the Museo di Capodimonte is another museum of note. The gallery features paintings from the 13th to the 18th centuries, including major works by Simone Martini, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, El Greco, 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 once stood just adjacent to the palace.
In front of the Royal Palace of Naples stands the Galleria Umberto I, which contains the Coral Jewellery Museum. Occupying a 19th-century palazzo renovated by the Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza, the Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina (MADRE) features an enfilade procession of permanent installations by artists such as Francesco Clemente, Richard Serra, and Rebecca Horn. The 16th-century palace of Roccella hosts the Palazzo delle Arti Napoli, which contains the civic collections of art belonging to the City of Naples, and features temporary exhibits of art and culture. Palazzo Como, which dates from the 15th century, hosts the Museo Filangieri of plastic arts, created in 1883 by Gaetano Filangieri.
Churches and other religious structures
Naples is the seat of the Archdiocese of Naples, and the Catholicism is highly important to the populace; there are hundreds of churches in the city. The Cathedral of Naples is the city's premier place of worship; each year on 19 September, it hosts the longstanding Miracle of Saint Januarius, the city's patron saint. During the miracle, which thousands of Neapolitans flock to witness, the dried blood of Januarius is said to turn to liquid when brought close to holy relics said to be of his body. Below is a selective list of Naples' major churches, chapels, and monastery complexes:
- Certosa di San Martino
- Naples Cathedral
- San Francesco di Paola
- Gesù Nuovo
- San Domenico Maggiore
- Santa Chiara
- San Paolo Maggiore
- Santa Maria della Sanità, Naples
- Santa Maria del Carmine
- Sant'Agostino alla Zecca
- Madre del Buon Consiglio
- Santa Maria Donna Regina Nuova
- San Lorenzo Maggiore
- Santa Maria Donna Regina Vecchia
- Santa Caterina a Formiello
- Santissima Annunziata Maggiore
- San Gregorio Armeno
- San Giovanni a Carbonara
- Santa Maria La Nova
- Sant'Anna dei Lombardi
- Sant'Eligio Maggiore
- Santa Restituta
- Sansevero Chapel
- San Pietro a Maiella
- San Gennaro extra Moenia
- San Ferdinando
- Pio Monte della Misericordia
- Santa Maria di Montesanto
- Sant'Antonio Abate
- Santa Caterina a Chiaia
- San Pietro Martire
- Hermitage of Camaldoli
- Archbishop's Palace
Aside from the Piazza del Plebiscito, Naples has two other major public squares: the Piazza Dante and the Piazza dei Martiri. The latter originally had only a memorial to religious martyrs, but in 1866, after the Italian unification, four lions were added, representing the four rebellions against the Bourbons.
The San Gennaro dei Poveri is a Renaissance-era hospital for the poor, erected by the Spanish in 1667. It was the forerunner of a much more ambitious project, the 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. Though a notable landmark, it is no longer a functioning hospital.
Underneath Naples lies a series of caves and structures created by centuries of mining, and the city rests atop a major geothermal zone. There are also a number of ancient Greco-Roman reservoirs dug out from the soft tufo stone on which, and from which, much of the city is built. Approximately one kilometre (0.62 miles) of the many kilometres of tunnels under the city can be visited from the Napoli Sotteranea, situated in the historic centre of the city in Via dei Tribunali. This system of tunnels and cisterns underlies most of the city and lies approximately 30 metres (98 ft) below ground level. During World War II, these tunnels were used as air-raid shelters, and there are inscriptions in the walls depicting the suffering endured by the refugees of that era.
There are large catacombs in and around the city, and other landmarks such as the Piscina Mirabilis, the main cistern serving the Bay of Naples during Roman times.
Several archeological excavations are also present; they revealed in San Lorenzo Maggiore the macellum of Naples, and in Santa Chiara, the biggest thermal complex of the city in Roman times.
Parks, gardens, villas, fountains and stairways
Of the various public parks in Naples, the most prominent are the Villa Comunale, which was built by the Bourbon king Ferdinand IV in the 1780s; the park was originally a "Royal Garden", reserved for members of the royal family, but open to the public on special holidays. The Bosco di Capodimonte, the city's largest verdant space served as a royal hunting preserve, within the Park there are a further 16 historic buildings including residences, lodges, churches as well as fountains, statues, orchards and woods.
Another important park is the Parco Virgiliano, which looks towards the tiny volcanic islet of Nisida; beyond Nisida lie Procida and Ischia. Parco Virgiliano was named after Virgil, the classical Roman poet and Latin writer who is thought to be entombed nearby. Naples is noted for its numerous stately villas, fountains and stairways, such as the Neoclassical Villa Floridiana, the Fountain of Neptune and the Pedamentina stairways.
Neo-Gothic, Liberty Napoletano and modern architecture
Various buildings inspired by the Gothic Revival are extant in Naples, due to the influence that this movement had on the Scottish-Indian architect Lamont Young, one of the most active Neapolitan architects of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Young left a significant footprint in the cityscape and designed many urban projects, such as the city's first subway.
In the first years of the 20th century, a local version of the Art Nouveau phenomenon, known as "Liberty Napoletano", developed in the city, creating many buildings which still stand today. In 1935, the Rationalist architect Luigi Cosenza created a new fish market for the city. During the Benito Mussolini era, the first structures of the city's "service center" were built, all in a Rationalist-Functionalist style, including the Palazzo delle Poste and the Pretura buildings. The Centro Direzionale di Napoli is the only adjacent cluster of skyscrapers in southern Europe.
The city is situated on the Gulf of Naples, on the western coast of southern Italy; it rises from sea level to an elevation of 450 metres (1,480 ft). The small rivers which formerly crossed the centre of the city have since been covered over by construction. It lies between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Campi Flegrei (en: Phlegraean Fields). The islands of Procida, Capri and Ischia can all be reached from Naples by hydrofoils and ferries. Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast are situated south of the city, while the Roman ruins of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis and Stabiae, which were destroyed in the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, are also visible nearby. The port towns of Pozzuoli and Baia, which were part of the Roman naval facility of Portus Julius, lie to the north of the city.
The thirty quarters (quartieri) of Naples are listed below. For administrative purposes, these thirty neighborhoods are grouped together into ten governmental community boards.
Naples has a borderline Mediterranean (Csa) and humid subtropical climate (Cfa) in the Köppen climate classification, since only one summer month has less than 30 millimetres (1.18 in) of rainfall, preventing it from being classified as solely Mediterranean or humid subtropical. The climate and fertility of the Gulf of Naples made the region famous during Roman times, when emperors such as Claudius and Tiberius holidayed near the city. The climate is a crossover between maritime and continental features, as typical of peninsular Italy. Maritime features moderate the winters, but summers are quite similar to inland areas much further north in the country. The continental influence still ensures summer highs averaging near 30 °C (86 °F), and Naples falls within the subtropical climate range with summer daily means of 23 °C (73 °F).
Naples is Italy's fourth-largest economy after Milan, Rome and Turin, and is the world's 103rd-largest urban economy by purchasing power, with an estimated 2011 GDP of US$83.6 billion, equivalent to $28,749 per capita. Naples is a major cargo terminal, and the port of Naples is one of the Mediterranean's largest and busiest. The city has experienced significant economic growth since World War II, but joblessness remains a major problem, and the city is characterised by high levels of political corruption and organised crime.
Naples is a major national and international tourist destination, being one of Italy and Europe's top tourist cities. Tourists began visiting Naples in the 18th century, during the Grand Tour. In terms of international arrivals, Naples was the 166th-most-visited city in the world in 2008, with 381,000 visitors (a 1.6% decrease from the previous year), coming after Lille, but overtaking York, Stuttgart, Belgrade and Dallas.
In recent times, there has been a move away from a traditional agriculture-based economy in the province of Naples to one based on service industries.
Naples is served by several major motorways (it: autostrade). The Autostrada A1, the longest motorway in Italy, links Naples to Milan. The A3 runs southwards from Naples to Salerno, where the motorway to Reggio Calabria begins, while the A16 runs east to Canosa. The A16 is nicknamed the autostrada dei Due Mari ("Motorway of the Two Seas") because it connects the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Adriatic Sea.
Naples has an extensive public transport network, including trams, buses and trolleybuses, most of which are operated by the municipally owned company Azienda Napoletana Mobilità (ANM).
The city furthermore operates the Metropolitana di Napoli, the Naples Metro, an underground rapid transit railway system which integrates both surface railway lines and the city's metro stations, many of which are noted for their decorative architecture and public art.
There are also four funiculars in the city (operated by ANM): Centrale, Chiaia, Montesanto and Mergellina. Three public elevators are in operation in the city: within the bridge of Chiaia, in via Acton and near the Sanità Bridge.
Suburban rail services are provided by Trenitalia, Circumvesuviana, Ferrovia Cumana and Metronapoli.
The city's main railway station is Napoli Centrale, which is located in Piazza Garibaldi; other significant stations include the Napoli Campi Flegrei and Napoli Mergellina. Naples' streets are famously narrow (it was the first city in the world to set up a pedestrian one-way street), so the general public commonly use compact hatchback cars and scooters for personal transit. Since 2007 trains running at almost 300 km/h (186 mph) have connected Naples with Rome with a journey time of under an hour, and direct high speed services also operate to Florence, Milan and Turin. Direct sleeper 'boat train' services operate nightly to cities in Sicily.
The port of Naples runs several public ferry, hydrofoil and SWATH catamaran services, linking numerous locations in both the Neapolitan province, including Capri, Ischia and Sorrento, and the Salernitan province, including Salerno, Positano and Amalfi. Services are also available to destinations further afield, such as Sicily, Sardinia, Ponza and the Aeolian Islands. The port serves over 6 million local passengers annually, plus a further 1 million international cruise ship passengers. A regional hydrofoil transport service, the "Metropolitana del Mare", runs annually from July to September, maintained by a consortium of shipowners and local administrations.
The Naples International Airport is located in the suburb of San Pietro a Patierno. It is the largest airport in southern Italy, with around 140 national and international flights arriving or departing daily.
The average amount of time people spend commuting with public transit in Naples, for example to and from work, on a weekday is 77 min. 19% of public transit riders, ride for more than 2 hours every day. The average amount of time people wait at a stop or station for public transit is 27 min, while 56.% of riders wait for over 20 minutes on average every day. The average distance people usually ride in a single trip with public transit is 7.1 km, while 11% travel for over 12 km in a single direction.
Naples has long been a centre of art and architecture, dotted with Medieval, Baroque and Renaissance-era churches, castles and palaces. In the 18th century, Naples went through a period of neoclassicism, following the discovery of the remarkably intact Roman ruins of Herculaneum and Pompeii.
The Neapolitan Academy of Fine Arts, founded by Charles III of Bourbon in 1752 as the Real Accademia di Disegno (en: Royal Academy of Design), was the centre of the artistic School of Posillipo in the 19th century. Artists such as Domenico Morelli, Giacomo Di Chirico, Francesco Saverio Altamura, and Gioacchino Toma worked in Naples during this period, and many of their works are now exhibited in the Academy's art collection. The modern Academy offers courses in painting, decorating, sculpture, design, restoration, and urban planning. Naples is also known for its theatres, which are among the oldest in Europe – the Teatro di San Carlo opera house dates back to the 18th century.
Naples is also the home of the artistic tradition of Capodimonte porcelain. In 1743, Charles of Bourbon founded the Royal Factory of Capodimonte, many of whose artworks are now on display in the Museum of Capodimonte. Several of Naples' mid-19th-century porcelain factories remain active today.
Naples is internationally famous for its cuisine and wine; it draws culinary influences from the numerous cultures which have inhabited it over the course of its history, including the Greeks, Spanish and French. Neapolitan cuisine emerged as a distinct form in the 18th century. The ingredients are typically rich in taste, while remaining affordable to the general populace.
Naples is traditionally credited as the home of pizza. This originated as a meal of the poor, but under Ferdinand IV it became popular among the upper classes: famously, the Margherita pizza was named after Queen Margherita of Savoy after her visit to the city. Cooked traditionally in a wood-burning oven, the ingredients of Neapolitan pizza have been strictly regulated by law since 2004, and must include wheat flour type "00" with the addition of flour type "0" yeast, natural mineral water, peeled tomatoes or fresh cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil.
Spaghetti is also associated with the city and is commonly eaten with the sauce ragù: a popular Neapolitan folkloric symbol is the comic figure Pulcinella eating a plate of spaghetti. Other dishes popular in Naples include Parmigiana di melanzane, spaghetti alle vongole and casatiello. As a coastal city, Naples is furthermore known for numerous seafood dishes, including impepata di cozze (peppered mussels), purpetiello affogato (octopus poached in broth), alici marinate (marinated anchovies), baccalà alla napoletana (salt cod) and baccalà fritto (fried cod), a dish commonly eaten during the Christmas period.
Naples is well known for its sweet dishes, including colourful gelato, which is similar to ice cream, though more fruit-based. Popular Neapolitan pastry dishes include zeppole (more commonly called "'a Pasta Cresciuta" and "'e fFritt' 'e Viento") babà, sfogliatelle and pastiera, the latter of which is prepared specially for Easter celebrations. Another seasonal sweet is struffoli, a sweet-tasting honey dough decorated and eaten around Christmas. Neapolitan coffee is also widely acclaimed. The traditional Neapolitan flip coffee pot, known as the cuccuma or cuccumella, was the basis for the invention of the espresso machine, and also inspired the Moka pot.
Wineries in the Vesuvius area produce wines such as the Lacryma Christi ("tears of Christ") and Terzigno. Naples is also the home of limoncello, a popular lemon liqueur. The nutritional value of the napolitan cuisine was discovered by the American epidemiologist Ancel Keys in the 1950, being later often mentioned by epidemiologists as one of the best examples of the Mediterranean diet.
The cultural significance of Naples is often represented through a series of festivals held in the city. The following is a list of several festivals that take place in Naples (note: some festivals are not held on an annual basis).
- Festa di Piedigrotta ("Piedigrotta Festival") – A musical event, typically held in September, in memory of the famous Madonna of Piedigrotta. Throughout the month, a series of musical workshops, concerts, religious events and children's events are held for the entertainment of the citizens of Naples and surrounding areas.
- Pizzafest – As Naples is famous for being the home of pizza, the city hosts an eleven-day festival dedicated to this iconic dish. This is a key event for Neapolitans and tourists alike, as a variety of stations are open for tasting a wide range of true Neapolitan style pizza. In addition to pizza tasting, a variety of entertainment shows are displayed.
- Maggio dei Monumenti ("May of Monuments") – A cultural event where the city hosts a variety of special events dedicated to the birth of King Charles of Bourbon. It festival features art and music of the 18th century, and many buildings which may normally be closed throughout the year are opened for visitors to view.
- Il Ritorno della festa di San Gennaro ("The Return of the Feast of San Gennaro") – An annual celebration and feast of faith held over the course of three days, commemorating Saint Gennaro. Throughout the festival, parades, religious processions and musical entertainment are featured. An annual celebration is also held in "Little Italy" in Manhattan.
The Naples language, considered to be a distinct language and mainly spoken in the city, is also found in the region of Campania and has been diffused into other areas of Southern Italy by Neapolitan migrants, and in many different places in the world. On 14 October 2008, a regional law was enacted by Campania which has the effect that the use of the Neapolitan language is protected.
The term "Neapolitan language" is often used to describe the language of all of Campania, and is sometimes applied to the entire South Italian language; Ethnologue refers to the latter as Napoletano-Calabrese. This linguistic group is spoken throughout most of southern continental Italy, including the Gaeta and Sora district of southern Lazio, the southern part of Marche and Abruzzo, Molise, Basilicata, northern Calabria, and northern and central Apulia. In 1976, there were ethnologue.com estimated 7,047,399 native speakers of this group of dialects.
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