The city where history, legends and traditions at merge with a hospitality and beauty to leave the visitors perfectly speechless. Megaride is where the story began in Naples. A small group of Greeks from the area of Phlegrean Fields, settled on the small island of Megaride, where now we can see the Castel dell’Ovo, expanding toward the hill Monte Echia, Pizzofalcone, becoming the city of Partenope and then became Naples.
Like Sorrento and Positano, is tied to the legend of the Sirens and Parthenope was one of them. The legend says that she died in an attempt to deceive Ulysses and her body was carried by the waves on the rocks of Megaride and the inhabitants of the island in her honor called the city by her name. The Cumans, founders of the first Greek city in the western part of Italy in the ninth century BC (Cuma), decided to found a new city to the Eastern side of Partenope and they called it Neapolis (new city). The city, in the tradition of Greek town planning, was characterized by the presence of thistles and decumani, and was rich of religious buildings and public utilities. It became an important colony of Magna Grecia, together with Taranto and Cuma.
Although the early relations between Rome and Neapolis were imprinted on friendship and on trying to enter into agreements, Neapolis was forced to ally with the neighboring populations of the Samnites and Nolani groped for to contain the expansion of Rome, but this was unnecessary because the war ended with the Roman victory. After peace was created a confederation with Rome, and the city was able to maintain their prerogatives and institutions, revealing themselves as a loyal ally of Rome which became increasingly powerful. Neapolis by Rome was considered an important vehicle of Greek culture and civilization: the city and its surroundings became a destination for summer residences of roman patricians who built luxurious villas between Sorrento and Pozzuoli (Tiberius, Nero, and Lucullus, chose this area for rest and fun, Cicero, Horace, Pliny the Elder, Virgil, here they found inspiration for their artistic genius).
Naples was the center of refined culture, part of the Greece in the Italian Peninsula, that the Romans had always respected and appreciated. With the division of the Roman Empire, the fall of the Roman Western Empire and the barbarian invasions in the peninsula, the history of Naples in the Dark Ages was linked to the empire of the East. Though under the distasteful Byzantine domination, the city had to repel strong enemies like the Lombards and Vandals.
Emperor of the East rectify of the Neapolitans to be independent, appointed a Neapolitan duke at the head of the city: Basil. This way though depending formally from Byzantium and the town had its own government, who was first appointed by the Byzantines, then became elective and eventually inherited. This lasted from 661 to 1137 a period of bitter struggle in which Naples was one of the few remaining islands of civilization in the peninsula now subjugated by barbarians. Not being a warrior city, Naples to fight against the Lombards and the Saracens have to called mercenary armies of barbarians and one of them was Norman led by Roger II, who was not content with the role of a mercenary began to fight and conquer all of southern Italy making Palermo the Kingdom’s capital and proclaiming it self is King coming up in Naples. Then Naples was dominated by different royal houses like the Swabians under Frederick II considered the greatest monarch in Europe who founded the first state university in history (1221).
The Angevins with Charles of Anjou, who proclaimed the Kingdom of Naples the capital of the South. The Aragonese with Alfonso, called the Magnanimous brought the economic and social development of the city by promoting the ideals and the art of the Renaissance, one of the testimony is the magnificent arch of marble on the main entrance of Castel Nuovo. After the Spanish domination, the longest one, the Bourbon dynasty started with Charles I who implemented reforms that give a bust for a development that characterized the economy and production activities in Naples. Activities divided into three categories, the first which included handicraft of the coral work, ceramics, porcelain, precious metal and wood.
The second, related industrial activities such as the birth of the shipyard of Castellammare and the manufacture of S. Leucio.
The third, which took care of business with the port of Naples. From 1805 to 1815 Naples as well all of Europe was under the rule of Napoleon who entrusted the kingdom of Naples, first to Joseph his brother and then Joachim Murat. Also in this period were carried out works become famous throughout the world as the road of Posillipo and the Conservatory of Music. Francis II was the last King of Bourbon, in 1860 Garibaldi and the Thousand landed at Marsala, and helped by mutiny in the Royal Navy and Army generals, he climbed up the whole southern Italy until Caiazzo, where there was the famous battle that marked the end of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
Stroll through the streets of Naples today with about 1,500,000 inhabitants it means to do a fantastic journey through the history, the culture, and an unmistakable scenario that is unique in the world. The quality monumental, Artistic and Architectural of monuments of Naples is of inestimable value and of different styles such as the Neapolitan Baroque, Liberty Napoletano, Renaissance style, neo-classical, etc… The historical notes mentioned may be retraced, visiting buildings, they are several hundred, of the city such as Palazzo Donna Anna, Gravina Palace, Palazzo Doria d’Angri, etc… Or Royal residences such as Palazzo Reale in Piazza Plebiscite and the palace of Capodimonte. Visiting the castles, there are six and still intact in their structure and they are Castel dell’Ovo, Castel Capuano, Castel Nuovo, Castel S. Elmo, Castle Barracks Garibaldi and Nisida. Visiting religious architecture like the Cathedral, the Basilica of St. Clare, Church of Gesù Nuovo, Basilica S. Francis of Paola, S. Domenico Maggiore, etc… Visiting the many other works of various origins and features such as fountains theaters, Obelisks etc…, designed by architects like Luigi and Carlo Vanvitelli, Domenico Fontana, Cosimo Fanzago and others.
Naples is a city of the greatest density of cultural resources and monuments in the world. The old town, in 1995, was numbered by the UNESCO among the World Heritages:
"It is one of the oldest cities in Europe where the contemporary fabric urban preserves the elements of its eventful history. The layout of its streets, its wealth of historic buildings that characterize different periods, they give to the site a universal value without equal, who has exerted a profound influence on much of Europe and beyond the boundaries of this."
This is the full text of the reason given by UNESCO. The history of Naples is not a study or imagination but it is to see with their own eyes and experience the reality of the past.