SituationThe region of Campania covers an area, extending from the Neapolitan Apennines (Monte Cervati, 1,898m/6,263ft) to the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea, here much indented (gulfs of Gaeta, Naples, Salerno and Policastro). It is a fertile low-lying region, well watered by the rivers Garigliano, Volturno and Sele. Violent volcanic activity (Vesuvius) has left its marks on the area.SceneryThe extraordinary fertility of the soil, the mild climate and the availability of water earned the region the name of "Campania Felix" in ancient times. It has long been one of the most densely populated parts of Italy and is intensively cultivated (wheat, fruit, vines, vegetables, tobacco).HistoryThe original inhabitants were an Italic people, the Osci. In the eighth century the Greek colonies of Kyme, Dikaiarchia and Neapolis (Magna Graecia) were established on the coast. At the end of the sixth century Campania was occupied by the Etruscans; in 430 B.C. it was captured by the Samnites, and in 338 B.C. by the Romans. Under the Empire it was much favored by noble Romans as a place of residence, and the wealth and ostentation of this period has been preserved in the ruins of Herculaneum and Pompeii. In the early medieval period Campania was divided into Lombard and Byzantine spheres of influence, but was reunited by the Normans in the 12th century and thereafter passed to the kingdom of Sicily and the kingdom of Naples.The most important towns in Campania are Naples and Salerno.