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Naples (Italian Napoli, Neapolitan Napule, from Greek Νέα Πόλις - Néa Pólis - meaning "New City") is the largest city in southern Italy and capital of Campania Region. It is rich in historical, artistic and cultural traditions and gastronomy.

History

The city was probably founded by inhabitants of the Greek colony Cuma, around the eighth century B.C., just a few kilometres from the more ancient town Partenope. For this reason it was named Neapolis (from Greek, meaning New City). Its buildings, museums and even the language spoken by natives bear traces of all periods of its history, from its Greek birth, until the present day.

It was in Naples, in the 'Castel dell'Ovo' (Castle of the Egg), that Romulus Augustus, the last Emperor of the Western Roman Empire, was imprisoned after being deposed in 476. In the sixth century, Naples was conquered by the Byzantines during the attempt of Justinian I to recreate the Roman Empire, and was one of the last duchies to fall in Norman hands in 1039, as they founded the Kingdom of Sicily.

Tourist attractions

Castel dell'Ovo

Naples itself is less visited than some of the surrounding attractions. There are, however, many attractions within the city. La Villa Comunale (formerly a royal park) has been refurbished and stretches along the seafront in the smarter western end of the city. It contains an aquarium which is possibly Europe's oldest and is favoured by the locals for family walks on Sunday mornings. The Museo Archeologico Nazionale Napoli contains a large collection of Roman artifacts from Pompeii and Herculaneum as well as the Farnese Marbles, some of the greatest surviving Roman statues; The Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte contains art collections including work by Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli and Caravaggio.

Guided tours operate around the Stratification of Naples which shows the city through the layers laid down across history. Subterranean Naples consists of old Greco-Roman resevoirs dug out from the soft tufo stone on which, and from which, the city is built. You can visit approximately one kilometer of the many kilometers of tunnels under the city. There are also large catacombs in and around the city.

Around Naples

The islands of Procida, famously used as the set for much of il Postino, Capri and Ischia can all be reached quickly by Aliscafi (twin-hulled ferries). Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast are situated south of Naples. The Roman ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum (destroyed in the A.D. 79 eruption of Vesuvius) are also nearby.

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