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Naples panorama

Panoramic view of Naples, Italy.

Naples is in the county town of Campania and the province of Naples. It is the third largest populated city in Italy and the largest city in the south of Italy. The city looks out over the Gulf of Naples and stretches for 8 kilometres between the lands of Campi Flegrei, the Sant'Elmo hills and Capodimonte on one side and the plains leading to Vesuvius on the other. Naples, founded in the 7th century, was an important location during the Greek-Roman era; becoming a Byzantine Duchy, a Norman-Swabian centre and finally an Angevin and Bourbon capital.

The historic city centre is divided into six zones: Via Toledo with Castel Nuovo, Spaccanapoli, the Decumano Massimo, Capodimonte, i Vergini, Vomero, Castel dell'Ovo and Via Chiaia. Via Toledo is the most famous street in Naples and indicates the confines of the Spanish district. This lively zone, rich in artistic and historic sights, is the preferred location for those city residents wishing to take a leisurely stroll. Here the buildings of the nobility alternate between churches and shops ( Caffe Gambrinus, San Francesco di Paola, San Carlo Theatre, Umberto I Gallery, San Ferdinando and Santa Brigida). Piazza del Plebiscito, the old square once belonging to the Royal Palace (Palazzo Reale) is closed at the north-east end by the Palace itself. This square was once used for large public ceremonies and festivals. The Palace, built for a Spanish Viceroy, is open to the public, who have access to the Library, Royal apartments and the stable block.

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Hotels and lodgingEdit

  • Belle Arti Resort, Via Santa Maria di Costantinopoli 27, tel +39 081.5571062, fax +39 081.447860, [1]


Museums & ChurchesEdit

The Castelnuovo, a trapezoidal building with five round towers, stands in the castle square and is both the seat of the City Council and, since 1990, the site of the Civic Museum, which is located in the Palatina Chapel. The main street, known as Spaccanapoli, was the lower of the two principal streets during the Roman era (Decumano inferiore). The street is partially closed to traffic, however following the R1 ring road from Vomero and the R2 from the main train station, it is possible to arrive in Via Toledo, from where it is necessary to continue on foot. The Piazza Mercato zone is a true feast of art, with its uninterrupted rows of churches ( Sant'Anna dei Lombardi, Gesù Nuovo, San Domenico Maggiore and Santa Marta), convent buildings (Santa Maria La Nova, Santa Chiara and Gesù Vecchio), historic buildings (Palazzo Filomarino, Archivio di Stato, Monte di Pietà and Palazzo Carafa Sant'Angelo) and historic roads ( Piazza San Domenico Maggiore and Corso Umberto I). The Via dei Tribunali, in the heart of Greek-Roman Naples, is the Decumano Maggiore and one of the finest streets in the city.The area has a large concentration of both Gothic religious buildings (San Lorenzo, San Gregorio Armeno, Gerolamini, San Pietro a Maiella and the Duomo) and historic buildings (Palazzo Spinelli, Castel Capuano, the Academy of Fine Arts and the National Archaeological Museum, one of the most important for Classical archaeology).

Continuing along Via Toledo, the street leads into the Capodimonte Palace and Via Foria, site of the Orto Botanico (Botanical Gardens) and the Albergo dei Poveri. This zone, comprising the boroughs of Sanità, Vergini and Fontanelle, is a working class district of narrow streets and steps. Here the humble constructions alternate with the area's historic buildings( Palazzo dello Spagnolo, Palazzo Sanfelice, the Astronomy Observatory) and the areas churches, cemeteries and catacombs ( S.Maria della Sanità and S.Gaudisio catacomb, San Severo and San Giovanni a Carbonara catacomb and the catacomb of San Gennaro). A rack-railway train takes visitors to the summit of Vomero Hill, where it is possible to admire views over the city and the Gulf. Visitors should take time to visit Castel Sant'Elmo della Certosa di San Martino and the Floridiana Museums ( Duca di Martina National Ceramic Museum ).

Nature and the sea blend together in the zone of Chiaia to surround the splendid Mergellina, Castel dell'Ovo (an ancient fortification, which looks out over the sea at Santa Lucia), the promenade, Piazza dei Martiri, Villa Pignatelli, Villa Comunale and Virgiliano Park.

The National Archaeological Museum is one of the most important collections of ancient artifacts in the world. The nucleus of this collection comes from the excavations of Ercolano and Pompeii. The original site of this collection from 1750 to 1822, was Palazzo Reale di Portici. In addition to these two famous sites, various finds in Campania and southern Italy have been added to this collection. The museum houses marble sculptures dating back to the Greek-Roman era, jewels, gems and cameos, an Egyptian collection and mosaic fragments from the excavations of Ercolano, Stabia and Bosco Reale. The pictures and fragments on display illustrate mythological and literary themes, still-art, landscapes, scenes of daily life and portraits, of which one of the most famous is that of Paquio Proculo and his wife. This important find, discovered in a house in Pompeii, dates back to the end of the Neronian era.

Walks & ToursEdit

Via di Posillipo is a panoramic road lined with elegant coastal houses and sumptuous buildings, surrounded by parks. It initially runs along the coast and then climbs the promontory that separates the Gulf of Naples from that of Pozzuoli. The first part of Via Posillipo is dominated by the Villa Doria d'Angri quay. The XVI century Villa Quercia, easily identified with its pompeian red walls, stands overlooking the sea.

From the Del Capo crossroads it is possible to contemplate the panorama immortalised by XVII th century artists, in their designs and paintings. Agnano Terme, situated 10 km. west of Naples, are thermal baths situated on the southern lip of a volcanic crater, which until 1870, was the site of a lake and today is the Agnano hippodrome, one of the best-known in Italy. The remains of a Roman bath can be seen on the slopes of Monte Spina.

Festivals & CelebrationsEdit

The traditional religious festivals are concentrated in the summer months period, a time more adapted for open-air festivals: the San Gennaro festival (first Saturday in May and the 19th of September), Madonna del Carmine festival (16 July), San Gregorio Armenio (December) with artistic nativity exhibition, Sant'Antonio festival (17 January), beacons light up the city in these days.

Naples art for singing is clearly seen during the Piedigrotta festival (September).

Good Friday sees a recital of the Stabat Mater by Pergolesi in San Ferdinando Church, one of the classical musical events that characterize the neapolitan summer evenings and help cultivate and maintain this ancient tradition.


Maps and transportationEdit

Getting to NaplesEdit

Exploring NaplesEdit

The rail network is definitely the best way to travel around Naples. The city has 2 metropolitan lines and 4 rack railways. The metropolitan FS (line 2) is the oldest. It crosses the city calling at Central Station (Piazza Garibaldi), the historic centre ( Montesanto), Mergellina Station, (near to the hydro-foil station, where the boats depart for the islands in the Gulf)), the Fuorigrotta Stadium ( Campi Flegrei) and the town of Pozzuoli. The Collinare Metropolitana, links Piazza Dante with Vomero Hill and the Ospedaliera zone with Secondigliano. Three rack railways connect Vomero Hill: the one in Chiaia runs to Piazza Amedeo, from where it is easy to arrive at Via dei Mille, a zone with numerous elegant shops. The Central rack railway leads to Via Roma, site of the Umberto I Gallery and Plebiscito Palace. The Montesanto rack railway leads to Naples' historic centre.

Practical information and resourcesEdit

Currency : Euro

Electric supply: 220 V., 2 and 3 three-pinned are used

Climate : mild winters and pleasant summer temperatures thanks to sea breezes. Little rainfall

Opening hours : shops are open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., except for Saturday and Sunday afternoon and the two weeks either side of the 15th of August. Banks are open from Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m to 1:30 p.m. and from 2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. The post offices are open from Monday to Saturday, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. Restaurants are open form 12:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. and from 8 p.m.until mid-night

Telephones : the area code for Naples is 081. It is possible using country direct to telephone the operator of a foreign country who will connect the caller to the number chosen. To use this facility dial 172, followed by the number of the country required.


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