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Naples, city, Italy
Points of Interest
Naples is beautifully situated at the base and on the slopes of the hills enclosing the Bay of Naples. The bay, dominated by Mt. Vesuvius, extends from Cape Misena in the north to the Sorrento peninsula in the south and is dotted with towns and villas. Near its entrance are the islands of Capri, Ischia, and Procida. Naples is a crowded and noisy city, famous for its songs, festivals, and gaiety. Especially interesting parts of the city are the Old Spacca Quarter (the heart of Old Naples) and the seaside Santa Lucia sector.
Noteworthy structures in Naples include the Castel Nuovo (1282); the Castel dell'Ovo (rebuilt by the Angevins in 1274); the Renaissance-style Palazzo Cuomo (late 15th cent.); the large Carthusian Monastery of St. Martin (remodeled in the 16th and 17th cent.); the neoclassic Villa Floridiana, which houses a museum of porcelain, china, and Neopolitan paintings; the Church of Santa Chiara (Gothic, with 18th-century baroque additions), which contains the tombs of Robert the Wise and other Angevin kings; the Cathedral of St. Januarius (14th cent., with numerous later additions, including a 17th-century baroque chapel); the Royal Palace (early 17th cent.); and the Church of Santa Maria Donna Regina. Beneath the city lies a network of tunnels and catacombs.
Naples has several museums including the National Museum, which holds the Farnese collection and most of the objects excavated at nearby Pompeii and Herculaneum; the picture gallery, housed in Capodimonte palace; a museum of contemporary art, and the aquarium. As a musical center Naples reached its greatest brilliance in the 17th and 18th cent.; Alessandro and Domenico Scarlatti, Porpora, Pergolesi, Paisiello, and Cimarosa were among the representatives of the Neapolitan style. The Teatro San Carlo, a famous opera house, was opened in 1737. The city has a conservatory and several art academies. Near Naples is the Camaldulian Hermitage (founded 1585), from which there is an excellent view of the bay region.
Naples, city, United States
a city in southern Italy, situated on the Bay of Naples, in the Tyrrhenian Sea, at the foot of the volcano of Vesuvius. It is the principal city of the Campania region and of Naples Province.
Naples is southern Italy’s most important economic and cultural center. It is the country’s third largest city in population, having 1.3 million inhabitants in 1972. Together with nearby cities it forms Greater Naples, which has a population of more than 2 million. The city is an important transportation junction and seaport, with an annual cargo turnover of more than 12 million tons.
Greater Naples is a major industrial center. Industries include petroleum refining, the production of petrochemicals and coke and coke by-products, metallurgy, various types of machine building (ships, instruments, machine tools, airplanes, and motor vehicles), electrical engineering, and radio electronics. Naples also has food-processing, textile, paper, and cement industries. A significant percentage of the population is employed in service industries; this factor has brought about Naples’ role as a popular center for foreign tourism.
Naples has a university and a volcanologic station. It is the site of the San Carlo Opera Theater, the San Ferdinando Drama Theater (with a troupe directed by E. De Filippo), the National Museum, and the National Gallery in the palace of Capodimonte.
Naples was originally a Greek colony, whose principal colonists were from the city of Cumae. In 327 or 326 B.C., it was conquered by Rome. Naples was one of the centers of ancient Greek culture in Italy. After a fierce struggle between the Ostrogoths and the Byzantines during the fifth and sixth centuries A.D., the city nominally recognized the authority of Byzantium but in fact retained its independence. In 1139, Naples was incorporated into the Sicilian Kingdom; it was made the capital of the kingdom in 1266.
From 1282 to 1442 and again from 1501 to 1504, Naples was the capital of the Kingdom of Naples, which in 1504 became part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. In 1647 a major popular uprising led by Masaniello took place in the city. In 1799 the Parthenopean Republic was proclaimed in Naples. The republic fell in June-July 1799.
Between 1806 and 1815, Naples was the capital of the Kingdom of Naples, which was a dependency of France. In 1815, after the Bourbon restoration, the city became the capital of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
In the 19th century, Naples was the center of such major revolutionary events as the Neapolitan Revolution of 1820–21, the Italian Revolution of 1848–49, and the Italian Revolution of 1859–60. In September 1860 the revolutionary army of G. Garibaldi took Naples, and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was incorporated into the unified Kingdom of Italy. In September 1943 an uprising broke out in Naples, which had been occupied by fascist German troops after Italy was forced out of World War II. As a result of the uprising, the German troops were ousted from the city.
Situated like an amphitheater on coastal hills, Naples has retained the ancient Greco-Roman regular plan of its central part. The city’s architectural landmarks include Early Christian frescoed catacombs (second to fifth centuries), the Baptistery of San Giovanni and its mosaics (fifth century), the Castel dell’ Ovo (Castle of the Egg; construction begun in the 12th century), and the Castel Nuovo (New Castle; 13th to 15th centuries). The Castel Nuovo includes the Triumphal Arch of Alfonso of Aragon, which is embellished with statues and reliefs in the Renaissance style (c. 1454–67).
Naples also has a number of Gothic churches, which were partially rebuilt in the baroque style. These churches include San Lorenzo (begun in the 13th century; it contains a Gothic tomb), San Domenico Maggiore (begun at the end of the 13th century; its interior has frescoes by the school of Giotto and paintings by Caravaggio and Titian), Santa Maria del Carmine (13th to 18th century), and the cathedral (13th to 20th century). There are numerous Renaissance and baroque palaces and churches. Naples is also the site of the Certosa di San Martino Monastery (14th to 17th centuries), which houses a collection of 17th- and 18th-century Neapolitan and European paintings. The San Carlo Theater (1737–1816) and the Church of San Francisco di Paola (1817–46) are in the classical style.
Naples’ railroad station was constructed from 1954 to 1960 by the engineer P. L. Nervi and others. In the 1950’s construction began on modern residential complexes (La Loggietta, Barra). Nevertheless, the city’s outskirts and center still have sections of slums with poorly maintained apartment buildings.