According to the stories, the body of the siren who once tried to bewitch Ulysses in the Odyssey was found very close to the old city, or Pallet Polis as the Greeks called it. The cunning Ulysses managed to save his life by tying himself to the boat while the siren died from sadness over her failure and washed up on Palépolis beach. Greek colonists who found her body did not want to found anew city at the same site so they walked a little further to find an ideal place to build anew city or Nea Polis, from which Napoli (Naples) is derived, the beautiful capital of the Campania region in Italy.
Naples is the most important and populous city of southern Italy. Today, its urban area is home more than 4 million inhabitants. Located in the largest volcanic area of Italy, it is also the city hardest hit by volcanic and seismic activity. The volcano known as Vesuvius is located 9 km east of the city, and is certainly one of the attractions of Naples’ rich geographical environment.
The history of Naples is formed by the fusion of different peoples, including the Greeks, the Romans, the Normans and the Spanish, whose contributions are still visible in Naples when you walk around and discover the city. This historical and cultural richness lends Naples a unique charm.
The city is also known as the city of a hundred domes due to its many churches. Currently, it boasts around 400 churches, which is the most of any city in Europe, surpassing even Rome. These include the Basilica of Francisco de Paula, the Monastery of Santa Chiara, the Naples Cathedral and the Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore. These are the largest and most famous, but all of the city’s churches are beautiful and have a history worth knowing.
In addition to its beautiful churches, Naples also has many palaces and well-preserved medieval castles. There are two that you absolutely must visit if you’re spending a few days in the city. The first is the Egg Castle or Castel dell ´Ovo, which is located in the same place where the first Greek settlers are believed to have landed in the seventh century BC. The second is called Maschio Angioino, a beautiful medieval castle where Boccaccio wrote the Decameron. There are also two forts that are full of history: the Castel Capuano and the Castel St. Elmo.
Additional attractions in Naples include the city’s beautiful coast, which is unique for its underwater archaeological park; its beautiful parks and villas, which are the “lungs of the city”, and especially the Capodimonte Park and Villa Floridiana; its historic center, which was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. In the latter, you can visit the city’s most famous streets and the catacombs, or take a guided tour of underground Naples, which we highly recommended, and the San Carlo Theatre, which is the oldest theater in Europe still running and has a unique history and beauty.
Add to this its fabulous cuisine and charming citizens and you’ll understand why Naples is an ideal destination any time of the year.
If you think you know Italy but haven´t visited Naples yet, you are missing out! The center of Italy´s history for centuries, this city is full of surprises. Rent apartments in Naples and get to know the history of this beautiful city and of Italy.Tweet