“He who has not been to Naples has not seen the spectacle of people’s life”
Pavel Muratov, “Images of Italy”
“About the location of the city and its beauties, often described and glorified, not a word. “Vedi Napoli e poi muo-ri!” say the Neapolitans. “See Naples and die!”. So Goethe wrote about this amazing city in his Italian Journey. The great poet was undoubtedly right, Naples must be seen, but it is impossible not to tell at least a little about this unusually bright and colorful city, the symbol of Southern Italy.
Naples (Napoli), whose name comes from the Greek “neapolis”, which means “new city”, is the capital of Campania, the third largest city in Italy and the largest city in southern Italy. This ancient city has a rich history: it was founded by Greek colonists in 470 BC. and then became part of the Roman Empire. It was here, in Naples – in the fortress of Castel dell’Ovo in 476 that the deposed last emperor of the Western Roman Empire, Romulus Augustulus, was imprisoned. Naples has always been a prominent and important city in Italian history: in 638-1137. it was the capital of the independent duchy of Naples, in 1139 the city became part of the Sicilian kingdom and in 1266 Charles I of Anjou transferred the capital from Palermo to Naples.
Naples still keeps traces of cultures that emerged one after another throughout the history of Europe and the Mediterranean, and the historic city center with unique architectural and historical monuments is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here are just some of the most famous sights of Naples: Castel dell’Ovo Fortress (Castel dell’Ovo or “Castle of the Egg”) – a majestic fortress towering in the waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea and connected to Naples by an embankment, the alleged site of the founding of Naples in the VI century BC. e., and then – the former villa of the commander Lucullus, a place of seclusion of the monks, a castle and a defensive fortress. Castel Nuovo (Castel Nuovo or “new castle”) is another ancient castle built by King Cal of Anjou on the seaside when Naples became the capital of the Kingdom of Sicily. The castle is decorated with a triumphal arch – the first work of Renaissance architecture in southern Italy, and until 2006 the city council of Naples continued to meet here in the medieval Hall of the Barons. The fortress of Sant’Elmo proudly rises above the city, erected in 1343 on the hill of the same name. In 1799, San Emmo was the symbol of the Neapolitan Republic, and today the building of the fortress houses the Bruno Molajoli Museum of the History of Art. The magnificent Royal Palace of Naples (Palazzo Reale di Napoli) is located on the square of the Palazzo Reale. The construction of the palace continued from 1600 to 1650, in 1717 Tsarevich Alexei was hiding here, and in the middle of the 18th century. the building was rebuilt according to the design of Luigi Vanvitelli. In front of the palace are statues of the greatest rulers in the history of the kingdom, and on both sides of the garden gate there are equestrian statues from St. Petersburg’s Anichkov Bridge. The main part of the palace is occupied by the National Library with a rich collection of unique books, and the Museum of Historic Apartments of the Royal Palace exhibits works by Titian, Guercino, Mattio Preti, Luca Giordano The main museum of Naples is the National Museum and Gallery of Capodimonte (Museo e Gallerie Nazionali di Capodimonte) – a former palace and the summer residence of the Bourbons. The magnificent collection of the museum contains exhibits of the Italian and Neapolitan cultural heritage, as well as an extensive collection of paintings, including the works of Titian, Botticelli, Caravaggio and others. Another grand museum is the National Archaeological Museum of Naples (Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli), which stores a huge collection of archaeological exhibits, found during excavations in Pompeii and Herculaneum. The museum building itself is also unique – it was built in 1615, and until 1777 the University of Naples was located here, then the building housed the Bourbon Museum and the Royal Library. No less impressive are the churches of Naples. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Santa Chiara (Church of Saint Clare of Assiaz) includes a 14th-century monastery, tombs and an archaeological museum. The beautiful church combines Provencal-Gothic architecture and Baroque style. Cathedral of St. Januarius – the cathedral church of Naples, founded by Charles of Anjou and dedicated to the heavenly patron of the city – St. Januarius. The main attraction of the cathedral is the chapel of St. Januarius, painted by the great painters of the XIV-XVI centuries, and decorated with religious paintings by Perugino and Luca Giordano. The main relic of the cathedral is a unique vessel with the blood of St. Januaria, sealed 1690 years ago. It is inexplicable that when it is shown twice a year to believers, the blood boils in a manner that occupies the entire vessel. Moreover, if the blood does not boil, the Neapolitans are waiting for troubles, which was confirmed twice – by the plague in 1527 and the earthquake in 1979. The San Severo Chapel (Cappella Sansevero) is a private chapel and tomb of the noble Neapolitan Sangro family, built in 1590, located in the city center and today is a museum where you can see such sculptural masterpieces of the XVII century. like “Christ under the Shroud”, “Chastity” and “Getting Rid of Spells”. The ancient church of San Lorenzo Maggiore, located in the center of the ancient Greco-Roman city, was founded in 1265. The chapels contain the tomb of Catherine of Austria, a statue by Tino da Camaino, the ceiling of the Sixtus V Hall is decorated with paintings by Luigi Rodriguez (early 17th century), and the Chapter Hall is richly decorated with ornamental paintings. And yet – in the church of San Lorenzo in 1338 Maggiore Giovanni Boccaccio met his beloved Fiametta. The pride of Naples is the Teatro di San Carlo, built by order of Charles II and opened in 1737. At that time it was the largest theater in the world. In 1815-1822, Rossini was in charge of the San Carlo Theater, and in 1822-1838. – Donizetti. 12 km east of Naples are the legendary ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. However, the ash that covered the cities not only buried them, but also preserved them to this day, and in early November, the excavation sites are available to everyone. The scale of Naples led to the appearance in the city of the subway,
You can talk about the sights of Naples for an infinitely long time. The magnificent city, spread out on the shores of the azure Tyrrhenian Sea, on the picturesque hills, near the majestic Vesuvius, is famous not only for its unique monuments and centuries-old history, but also for its completely unusual atmosphere, saturated with the bright colors of sunny Italy and its temperamental people. Leoncavallo, Domenico Scarlatti and Enrico Caruso were born here, and Sofia Loren spent her childhood and youth. Amazing Neapolitan landscapes are worthy of an artist’s brush: immersed in emerald greenery, the ancient city lies on the sparkling turquoise surface of the boundless sea, surrounded by silent Vesuvius and hazy hills. Thanks to the wonderful climate of the region, the Neapolitan cuisine is one of the most diverse and rich in Italy, and Naples itself is considered the birthplace of pizza, because the oldest pizzeria in the city was opened in 1830. And, of course, the city has countless restaurants, cafes, shops, old and modern comfortable hotels and other opportunities for an unforgettable vacation.