Naples | Italy

Naples (/ˈneɪpəlz/; Italian: Napoli [ˈnaːpoli] (About this sound listen), Neapolitan: Napule [ˈnɑːpələ] or [ˈnɑːpulə]; Latin: Neapolis; Ancient Greek: Νεάπολις, meaning "new city") is the regional capital of Campania and the third-largest municipality in Italy after Rome and Milan. In 2017, around 967,069 people lived within the city's administrative limits while its province-level municipality has a population of 3,115,320 residents. Its continuously built-up urban area (that stretches beyond the boundaries of the Metropolitan City of Naples) is the second in Italy after Milan and one of the largest metropolises on the Mediterranean Sea, with a population of between 4.4 and 5.3 milion .

First settled by Greeks in the second millennium BCE, Naples is one of the oldest continuously inhabited urban areas in the world. In the ninth century BCE, a colony known as Parthenope or Παρθενόπη was established on the Island of Megaride, later refounded as Neápolis in the sixth century BCE. The city was an important part of Magna Graecia, played a major role in the merging of Greek and Roman society and a significant cultural centre under the Romans. It was capital of the Duchy of Naples (661-1139 CE), then the Kingdom of Naples (1282 and 1816) and finally the Two Sicilies until the unification of Italy in 1861.

Between 1925 and 1936, Naples was expanded and upgraded by Benito Mussolini's government but severely damaged by Allied bombing during World War II, leading to extensive post-1945 reconstruction work. Naples has experienced significant economic growth in recent decades, helped by the construction of the Centro Direzionale business district and an advanced transportation network, which includes the Alta Velocità high-speed rail link to Rome and Salerno and an expanded subway network. Naples is the third-largest urban economy in Italy, after Milan and Rome . The Port of Naples is one of the most important in Europe and home of the Allied Joint Force Command Naples, the NATO body that oversees North Africa, the Sahel and Middle East.

Naples' historic city centre is the largest in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a wide range of culturally and historically significant sites nearby, including the Palace of Caserta and the Roman ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Naples is also known for its natural beauties (Posillipo, Phlegraean Fields, Nisida, Vesuvius, etc.), comparables to those of Rio de Janeiro. Neapolitan cuisine is synonymous with pizza, which originated in the city but it includes many other less well-known dishes and is the Italian city with the highest number of accredited stars from the Michelin Guide.

The best known sports team in Naples is the Serie A club S.S.C. Napoli, two-time Italian champions who play at the San Paolo Stadium in the southwest of the city.

Following the decline of the Western Roman Empire, Naples was captured by the Ostrogoths, a Germanic people, and incorporated into the Ostrogothic Kingdom. However, Belisarius of the Byzantine Empire recaptured Naples in 536, after entering the city via an aqueduct.

In 543, during the Gothic Wars, Totila briefly took the city for the Ostrogoths, but the Byzantines seized control of the area following the Battle of Mons Lactarius on the slopes of Vesuvius. Naples was expected to keep in contact with the Exarchate of Ravenna, which was the centre of Byzantine power on the Italian peninsula.

After the exarchate fell, a Duchy of Naples was created. Although Naples' Greco-Roman culture endured, it eventually switched allegiance from Constantinople to Rome under Duke Stephen II, putting it under papal suzerainty by 763.

The years between 818 and 832 were tumultuous in regard to Naples' relations with the Byzantine Emperor, with numerous local pretenders feuding for possession of the ducal throne. Theoctistus was appointed without imperial approval; his appointment was later revoked and Theodore II took his place. However, the disgruntled general populace chased him from the city, and instead elected Stephen III, a man who minted coins with his own initials, rather than those of the Byzantine Emperor. Naples gained complete independence by the early ninth century. During the 850s, the city was sacked by Saracen raiders.

The duchy was under the direct control of the Lombards for a brief period, after the capture by Pandulf IV of the Principality of Capua, a long-term rival of Naples; however, this regime lasted only three years before the Greco-Roman-influenced dukes were reinstated. By the 11th century, Naples had begun to employ Norman mercenaries to battle their rivals; Duke Sergius IV hired Rainulf Drengot to wage war on Capua for him.

By 1137, the Normans had attained great influence in Italy, controlling previously independent principalities and duchies such as Capua, Benevento, Salerno, Amalfi, Sorrento and Gaeta; it was in this year that Naples, the last independent duchy in the southern part of the peninsula, came under Norman control. The last ruling duke of the duchy, Sergius VII, was forced to surrender to Roger II, who had proclaimed himself King of Sicily seven years earlier. Naples thus joined the Kingdom of Sicily, with Palermo as the capital.

Public health conditions in the city were poor, with twelve epidemics of cholera and typhoid fever causing the death of some 48,000 people in the half century 1834–1884, and a high (for the time) death rate of 31.84 per thousand even in the epidemic-free period 1878–1883. :14–15 Then in 1884, Naples fell victim to a major cholera epidemic, caused largely by the city's poor sewerage infrastructure. Government measures to improve sanitary conditions in the Neapolitan slums in 1885 proved largely ineffective. During the early 20th century, efforts to industrialise the city were likewise hampered by administrative corruption and a lack of infrastructure. Facing a slumping economy, many poorer Neapolitans emigrated northwards, or headed overseas to the United States and Argentina.

On November 8, 1900, Prime Minister Giuseppe Saracco signed the decree establishing the Commission of Inquiry under the presidency of the senator and law professor Giuseppe Saredo, to investigate how huge amounts of money that had been poured into Naples after the cholera epidemic of 1884 had vanished without noticeable benefit for the city's poor. The Saredo Inquiry unearthed an extensive political patronage system in the city of Naples, the so-called "administrative Camorra" or "high Camorra"; the corrupt class of Neapolitan executive in charge of city governments between the 1880s and 1890s. The Commission published its findings on October 21, 1901, in effect an indictment of those responsible for governing Naples. It brought to light a serious situation of corruption, cronyism, clientelism and general inefficiency. Saredo concluded that among all major Italian cities, "Naples more than any other is burdened by debt, and spends the least per resident on education, health and public works."

Previously a Bourbon palace, now a museum and art gallery, the Museo di Capodimonte is another museum of note. The gallery features paintings from the 13th to the 18th centuries, including major works by Simone Martini, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, El Greco, Jusepe de Ribera and Luca Giordano. The royal apartments are furnished with antique 18th-century furniture and a collection of porcelain and majolica from the various royal residences: the famous Capodimonte Porcelain Factory once stood just adjacent to the palace.

In front of the Royal Palace of Naples stands the Galleria Umberto I, which contains the Coral Jewellery Museum. Occupying a 19th-century palazzo renovated by the Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza, the Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina (MADRE) features an enfilade procession of permanent installations by artists such as Francesco Clemente, Richard Serra, and Rebecca Horn. The 16th-century palace of Roccella hosts the Palazzo delle Arti Napoli, which contains the civic collections of art belonging to the City of Naples, and features temporary exhibits of art and culture. Palazzo Como, which dates from the 15th century, hosts the Museo Filangieri of plastic arts, created in 1883 by Gaetano Filangieri.

Naples is noted for its numerous higher education institutes and research centres. Naples hosts what is thought to be the oldest state university in the world, in the form of the University of Naples Federico II, which was founded by Frederick II in 1224. The university is among the most prominent in Italy, with around 100,000 students and over 3,000 professors in 2007. It is host to the Botanical Garden of Naples, which was opened in 1807 by Joseph Bonaparte, using plans drawn up under the Bourbon king Ferdinand IV. The garden's 15 hectares feature around 25,000 samples of vegetation, representing over 10,000 plant species.

Naples is also served by the Seconda Università degli Studi di Napoli, a modern university which opened in 1989, and which, despite its name, has strong links to the nearby province of Caserta. Another notable centre of education is the Istituto Universitario Orientale, which specialises in Eastern culture, and was founded by the Jesuit missionary Matteo Ripa in 1732, after he returned from the court of Kangxi, the Emperor of the Manchu Qing Dynasty of China.

Other prominent universities in Naples include the Parthenope University of Naples, the private Istituto Universitario Suor Orsola Benincasa, and the Jesuit Theological Seminary of Southern Italy. The San Pietro a Maiella music conservatory is the city's foremost institution of musical education; the earliest Neapolitan music conservatories were founded in the 16th century under the Spanish. The Accademia di Belle Arti di Napoli located on the Via Santa Maria di Costantinopoli is the city's foremost art school and one of the oldest in Italy. Naples hosts also the Astronomical Observatory of Capodimonte, established in 1812 by the king Joachim Murat and the astronomer Federigo Zuccari, the oldest marine zoological study station in the world, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, created in 1872 by German scientist Anton Dohrn, and the world's oldest permanent volcano observatory, the Vesuvius Observatory, founded in 1841. The Observatory lies on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius, near the city of Ercolano, and is now a permanent specialised institute of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics.

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