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City/Town of Naples

City/Town : Naples
Region : Campania
Province : Naples
Country : Italy
Continent : Europe
Gentilic : napoletani
Population : 1,061,644
Area : 117.27 sq km
Latitude : 40°50′N
Longitude : 14°15′E
 
Visiting Naples

from WikiTravel

Naples is the capital of Italy's Campania region. The city is the third most populated municipality (city proper) of Italy, but the second metropolitan area, after Milan. It was founded between the 7th and 6th centuries BC by the Greeks and was named Neapolis, which means new city. The historic centre of Naples has earned the UNESCO World Heritage Site denomination. It has one of the biggest historical city centres in the world, and its pride are the 448 historical and monumental churches, the highest number in the World for a single city.

Sure, the city has a bad reputation concerning the Mafia, trash crisis (the worst is actually over) and some parts of the city are impoverished, but if you look even further than that and by excersising a bit of caution, you will find a vibrant city with plenty to see and do, a city where the large influx of tourists like in Rome, Venice, Florence etc... have not happened (for now) and have thus allowed the city to retain much of its original culture, allowing you to visit a hidden gem just 2 hours south of Rome. Its territory, particularly the iconic sight of the gulf of Naples (but also Mount Vesuvius, the music, etc. ) is arguably one of the most powerful symbolic images of Italy.

Both Naples and the locally Italian Napoli are acceptable; either way, it's a derivative of the ancient Greek name Neapolis, which means new city. The Greeks first established the city and inhabited the region long before Roman times.

The most widely spoken language in Naples is Italian or a mixture of Italian and Napulitano (Neapolitan). Neapolitan is sometimes described as an Italian dialect, but may be considered a separate and sometimes unintelligible language. Neapolitan does not enjoy any official status, but it does have a rich literary tradition and it is still thriving in Campania and adjacent parts of Lazio, Abruzzo, Basilicata, Molise and Calabria. This said, the official language of Naples (as of all of Italy) is Italian and everyone speaks it. Neapolitan has strong Spanish and French influences originating from their occupation of the area. Therefore, more Spanish and French words are understood by the locals than in other parts of Italy. English is the most commonly spoken foreign language, although the average knowledge of English is far from excellent.

DISTRICTS OF NAPLES

  • Centro Storico (Historic Centre) - A labyrinth of history built in several layers of one period over the other and Naples prime tourist attraction. With excellent pizzerias, barouque churches, underground greco-roman ruins, famous streets like Spaccanapoli with shops selling traditional Neapolitan nativity figures, mozzarella, costumes and souvenirs and a vibrant night-life and atmosphere makes this free-of-charge living museum a must see among the must sees of Naples. 
  • Agnano - A volcanic crater famed and favoured by the Romans and the Greeks for its hot springs, now one of the centers of Neapolitan fun with one of the city's largest discos and one of the biggest sporting centres of Naples. Also to be found within the area are thermal baths, ruins of Roman baths, la Grotta del Cane a mofetta and home to numerous vulcanic phenomenons and the Astroni crater a WWF oasis. 
  • Posillipo and Chiaia - With Roman ruins both on land and underwater, the famous view of Naples, a walk by the sea with dark blue water contrasting with seagulls perched on white skerries, Norman castle Castel dell'Ovo, barouque churches, palaces and gardens make this one of Naples' most charming destinations. 
  • Arenella and Vomero - A nice neighbourhood dotted with trees, more churches and castles and villas. 
  • San Carlo all'Arena - Nice neighbourhood with piazze a graveyard and the largest monumental palace of Naples, the Ospedale L'Albergo Reale dei Poveri (Bourbon Hospice for the Poor). 

THINGS TO SEE

In Naples, some may find the actual conditions of many buildings and streets, and the rampant graffiti, off-putting. Others claim this is "the immense character and culture of Napoli...and even the dirt and grime has its own flavor...a Neapolitan recipe for reality, and great fun". Naples' peculiarity is that the city centre is not the elegant part of the city. Just do not expect in the city centre the pristine conditions of many other major European cities, since the historical centre, unlike most European cities, is not the "downtown". If you want to visit the elegant part of the city, you can walk around the wonderful lungomare (the Riviera di Chiaia or Via Francesco Caracciolo), and visit Via dei Mille and Vomero hill (main shopping areas).

Most sites in Campania (including Pompeii) accept the Campania Card for tourists (free entry). Some cards also include a pass for the local public transportation.

  • Castel dell'Ovo at Porto Santa Lucia Naples' known port with the Egg Castle on a small peninsula. The castle currently houses the Museum of Prehistory.
  • Castelnuovo (Maschio Angioino) A huge medieval castle at the shore which houses the main city museum featuring various collections, but most importantly a picture gallery (with focus on 19th Century Italian painting). From the roof, you can get one of the best views of the city.
  • Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte - Napolitan National Gallery, a must-see! Displays the Burgia, Farnese and Borbon collections with mainly Renaissance and Baroque Italian painting. Among the famous artists on display: Caravaggio, Tizian, Giovanni Bellini, Annibale Caracci, de Ribera and Giordano. A beautiful park surrounds the museum.
  • Museo Archeologico Nazionale - It is the biggest roman architectural museum in the World, even bigger than the National Museum of Rome. Its collection is astonishing both considering the quality and the quantity of the objects on display. Naples Archeological Museum houses wall paintings and different objects removed from Pompeii, Herculaneum, and other excavation sites in the area. In addition, you can admire the Farnese collection of Roman sculptures (including the famous sculptures of the Caracala Baths). €9.00 for admission. European citizens pay € 6.5, children get in for free. If you are a EU-citizen, under 25 or over 60, you can get in for the reduced price of €3.25. There is also an audio guide available talking about the statue collection on the first floor, however most of the amazing artifacts such as original Roman murals of mostly Greek mythologies are not covered. All descriptions of the exhibits are in English and in Italian. It is a must-see, an incredible collection of artifacts. The Museum also contains the well signposted "secret room" containing the erotic sculptures, paintings and murals from Pompeii. Daily: 9:00 to 19:30 (closed: Tuesdays, 1st January, 1st May, 25th December).
  • View of Mergellina (from via Orazio or via Petrarca)
  • Certosa di San Martino - A Carthusian monastery at the top of a hill near the city centre. It houses the Museum of City History.
  • Parco Virgiliano - A nice park with a stunning view of the surrounding area. It is about half an hour off the city centre, but certainly worth the effort! Not to be confused with the Park in which Virgil's Tomb is found.
  • Piazza del Gesù and Piazza S.Domenico Maggiore - The New Jesuite Church is among the most extravagant Baroque churches in the world! Across the street you will find the Santa Chiara Monastery [24]. It is worth a visit for its beautiful garden decorated with frescos and coulorful columns. If you continue towards S. Domenico Square you will pass by the St Angelo on the Nile Church with its Donatello's altar. The Sansevero Chapel nearby is also well known for its marble sculptures of veiled figures.
  • Napoli Sotterranea -  Underneath San Lorenzo Maggiore medieval church.You can witness the remains of the Roman city. The tunnels served as shelters during WWII.
  • Castel Capuano
  • Castel Sant'Elmo
  • Catacombe di San Gennaro - Medieval catacombs on Capodimonte hill.
  • Quadreria dei Girolamini - A beautiful small picture gallery mainly of Italian Baroque painting and some works of famous De Ribera. Free of charge and just across the street from the Duomo.
  • Duomo - Naples' main church with two luxurious chapels. Underneath it you can find excavation of a Roman site. Near the duomo you can find the St. Gennaro Treasury Museum, with arts exhibits from the duomo and another heavily frescoed chappel.
  • Pio Monte della Misericordia - A church and a picture gallery both belonging to an old charity organisation. The gallery mainly displays Napolitan Baroque paintings.
  • Teatro San Carlo - Naples' famous opera house.
  • Piazza del Plebiscito - Naples' main square. Surrounding it you will find the Royal Palace (Palazzo Reale - open to tourists), the San Carlo Theatre and the Galleria Umberto.
  • Acquario - Villa Comunale A park near the shore with Europe's first public aquarium in its centre. Nearby is the Cortes Museum of Applied Arts - La Casina Pompeiana in the park is home to changing exhibitions focusing on photography.
  • Galleria Umberto - A shopping passage from the 19th Century.
  • Villa Floridiana - Seat of Duca di Martina Museum of Ceramics and Marchese di Civitanova Museum of Carriages.
  • Museo Civico Filanghieri [31] Used to be a private collection mainly of applied arts.
  • Citta' della Scienza
  • Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Donna Regina
  • Pinacoteca della Accademia di Belle Arte - Mainly features 19th Century Italian painting.
  • PAN - Palazzo delle Arti di Napoli - Contemporary art.
  • Raccolta Mura - Museum of the Napolitan Song
  • Museo del corallo e del cammeo - Neapolitan typical jewellery
  • Museo del Mare (Naval Museum)
  • Fondazione Pagliara
  • Piomonte di Pieta' in Palazzo Carafa - A Manierist church and a picture gallery. Open only on weekends.
  • Textile and Clothing Museum - Elena Aldorandini
  • Museum of Music History at the San Pietro a Maiella Conservatory. Exhibits important manuscripts of the Scarlatti family.
  • Grotta di Seiano - An artificial cave underneath Posillipo. It leads to an ancient Greek theatre.