Naples Tourist Attractions
The south Italian port town of Naples, principal town of the region of Campania and of the province of Nápoli, lies on the north side of the Bay of Naples, on the Tyrrhenian Sea, extending along the lower slopes of attractive hills.
The old town with its narrow streets and stepped lanes and its tall balconied houses is fringed on the west and north by extensive villa suburbs and on the east by an industrial zone. In recent years much of the city has been redeveloped with new buildings and realigned streets, particularly in the area around the harbor, the Rione Santa Lucia.
Naples possesses many historical monuments going back almost 3,000 years, particularly the treasures, to be seen in the National Museum, garnered from the cities engulfed by Vesuvius; the port of Naples is of major importance for southern Italy.
Naples was originally a Greek foundation. As early as the eighth century B.C. the site was occupied by the Rhodian settlement of Parthenope, near which settlers from Kyme (Latin Cumae), itself a colony established by Ionians from Euboea, founded the "old town", Palaiopolis, in the seventh century. In the fifth century the "new town", Neapolis, was founded, mainly by incomers from Chalcis on Euboea. In 326 B.C. the three settlements became allies of Rome and were amalgamated. Although favored by Rome for its faithfulness to the alliance, Neapolis preserved its independence and its distinctive Greek characteristics until late in the Imperial period. The town became a favorite residence of the Roman magnates, and Virgil composed some of his finest poetry here.
During the period of the Great Migration, in 543, the town fell into the hands of the Goths, but returned to Byzantine rule in 553 and thereafter succeeded in asserting its independence until conquered by the Normans in 1139 and incorporated by Roger II in his kingdom of Sicily. Roger's grandson Frederick II of Hohenstaufen founded the university in 1224. In the reign of Charles of Anjou (1266-85) Naples became capital of the kingdom. In 1442 Alfonso I of Aragon reunited the kingdoms of Sicily and Naples. From 1503 to 1707 Naples was the residence of Spanish viceroys. Following the War of the Spanish Succession the territory passed in 1713 to the Habsburgs, and after the War of the Austrian Succession (1734) to the Bourbons, with whom it remained until its incorporation in the new united Italy in 1860.