Situated on the east coast of Italy, Naples is the country’s third most populated city and is the largest in Southern Italy. A vibrant and happening place, Naples is a city that is brimming with culture – both present and past. The city’s name comes from the ancient Greek word Neapolis, which means ‘new city’. However, Naples is anything but new; the city is brimming with many interesting historic treasures. Naples’ seaside location means that it is a popular port; it has been for many centuries. Throughout the centuries, many-a-battle took place in the city’s harbour, including that of the year 536 when the Byzantine Empire recaptured the city. These days, the attractive bay is a stopping point for many boat trips and cruise holidays to Italy. Wandering along the city’s main marina and sea port makes for interesting viewing; apart from the large cruise ships that pass through daily, there are a plethora of smaller fishing boats and leisure yachts to gaze at. Naples is a hugely popular cruise port, as visitors come from far and wide to sample the city’s rich history – both from the deck and on foot. For those history enthusiasts, here is just a small selection of the most important sites that Naples has to offer.
The National Archaeological Museum
This museum is one of the most important structures in Naples. Not only that, but it also houses much of the story behind the city’s history. It contains some of the most important collections of Greek and Roman antiques in the world, including gem stones, mosaics, sculptures and silverware. It also contains many pieces of erotica from the Roman city of Pompeii. Located on Piazza Museo 19, near Piazza Cavour, the museum is a must-see attraction for any visit to Naples. A highlight is the Secret Cabinet, a room that was created in 1800 as a home for many historic sexual items and artwork. There is also the Temple of Isis, which is an exhibit of wall paintings that originally were hung in Pompeii’s Temple of Isis.
This is Naples’ iconic cathedral that dates back to the 13th Century. The gothic building was built especially for the body of Naples’ patron saint, San Gennaro. Naples holds an annual festival where the patron’s blood is taken out of storage as worshippers hope it will liquefy. Worth a visit is the Basilica Santa church, which is situated to the side of the Duomo; the 4th Century building is the oldest church in the whole of Naples.
Teatro San Carlo
The Teatro San Carlo is another of Naples’ most important historical buildings; built in the early 18th Century, it has now been open for more than 300 years and is the world’s oldest original opera house. Each year, the San Carlo is home to some of the world’s most prominent opera shows, and has been the residence of some of the finest opera singers ever to have lived, including Gioachino Rossini and Domenico Barbaia.
Capodimonte Museum and Park
Naples is a city that has a rich royal history; that’s why a visit to the Capodimonte Museum and Park is a must for any tourist. The museum building was originally built as a hunting lodge for King Charles III. These days, it is home to some of the world’s most valuable and important pictures and paintings. It also has a huge selection of royal porcelain and majolica, which dates back many centuries. On a summer’s day, a walk around the museum’s plentiful gardens is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon; one can explore the royal gardens and gaze into the royal apartments.
And finally… The birthplace of pizza
There is arguably no more of a widely eaten food in the world than pizza. Although it is part of popular cuisine around the world, its origins lie firmly in Italy – and the city that invented the pizza was Naples. This is a claim to fame that the city takes much advantage of; walking among its many streets, visitors will be greeted with many a fine pizza. However, the best ones are those that are still made using the traditional wood burning ovens. Another food that originated in Naples is eggplant parmesan, and seafood is found in abundance in this seaport city; as a result, wood oven-cooked pizza with parmesan and seafood is a true local Napoli dish that should not be missed upon any visit.aples is a city that has a rich royal history; that’s why a visit to the Capodimonte Museum and Park is a must for any tourist. The museum building was originally built as a hunting lodge for King Charles III. These days, it is home to some of the world’s most valuable and important pictures and paintings. It also has a huge selection of royal porcelain and majolica, which dates back many centuries. On a summer’s day, a walk around the museum’s plentiful gardens is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon; one can explore the royal gardens and gaze into the royal apartments.
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