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30 Interesting facts about Naples, Italy

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Date: 2014-09-09 19:19:45


Author: Samuel Heenan

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1.Naples history can be traced back over 2,800 years to the eighth century BC when people from the Greek colony of Cumae founded what was then called Parthenope.

2.Naples is the capital of the region of Campania, which comes from the name 'Campania felix' - latin for "fertile countryside".

3.The name 'Napoli' originates from the greek word Neapolis or “new city.”

4.Naples is the 3rd largest city in Italy after Rome and Milan with a population of around 1 Million.

5.Naples' historic city centre is the largest in Europe covering 1,700 hectares (4,200 acres) and enclosing 27 centuries of history and is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

6.During the Samnite Wars, the city, now a bustling centre of trade, was captured by the Samnites. However the Romans soon captured the city from them and made it a Roman colony.

7.Naples itself was founded by the ancient Greeks in the second century BC.

8.The Margherita pizza was named after Queen Margherita Teresa Giovanni after her visit to the city in 1889 and you can see the Italian Flag in the Colours, basil for the green, cheese represents the white and red the tomato sauce.

9.Naples and its surroundings also gave birth to many of Italian directors and actors such as Sophia Loren, the academy award winner who was born in the Pozzuoli area of Naples.

10.In 1830 the world's first pizzeria, Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba, opened its doors in Naples.

11.Naples was a part of the Roman Empire and when the last Roman emperor, Romulus Augustus, died in 476 the city passed into barbarian hands.

12.There are 448 historical churches in the city of Napoli.

13.Residents of Naples are called Neapolitans or, in Italian, Napoletano.

14.Naples has 3 castles; Castel Nuovo which was built in 1279 by Charles I of Anjou, Castel dell’Ovo (known as Egg castle) with ancient origins and Castel Sant’Elmo, a fortress towering over the city that dates back to at least 1275.

15.The City of Naples is divided into 21 different zones, each with their own style and appeal.

16.The Phrase 'See Naples and die' or in Italian Vedi Napoli e poi Muori was a reference that the city is so beautiful there is nothing to top it and therefore no reason to go on living, as in 'You've seen it all.'

17.In the sixth century, Naples was conquered by the Byzantines, and it was one of the last duchies to fall to the all-conquering Normans in 1039, as they founded the Kingdom of Sicily.

18.Naples had been under the rule of Spain, Austria and the Bourbons, and had (briefly) been a Jacobin republic.

19.It wasnt until October 1860 that Napoli became part of the new Italy.

20.The Funicular in Naples is one of the longest funicular lines in the world, and with over 10 million passengers carried annually. It carries an average of 28,000 passengers on workdays, but this is reduced to an average of 10,000 on weekends and holidays.

21.Maschio Angioino, known as Castel Nuovo, was commissioned by Charles of Anjou, the head of the French dynasty in Naples, because having failed to find a suitable place to live in Castel Capuano, he decided to build himself a fortified palace by the sea. He chose the area known as Campus oppidi, where there was a small Franciscan church.

22.Castel dell’Ovo has its name linked to the legend of the magic egg which originated in the Middle Ages. This egg is capable of protecting the city and its people from disaster or danger. Virgil is supposed to have hidden it in some secret place in the castle, preserved in a glass jar placed inside a metal cage.

23.The Neapolitan Academy of Fine Arts was founded by Charles III of Bourbon in 1752.

24.The history of Naples is richly interwoven with stories linked to the existence of foreign communities who had settled in Naples for reasons of trade and commerce. A group of merchants and sailors from Alexandria in Egypt settled in the area to the far East of the lower plateia of Neapolis, known as piazzetta Nilo today.

25.The horn is the most famous symbol of Neapolitan superstition. Lots of doors and balconies sport huge bunches of red peppers instead, because their hot seeds symbolically ward off evil tongues. We no longer remember what the horn really means. We touch it without knowing why. Yet the horn is none another than a stylisation of a phallus, that of the Grecoroman god Priapus, guardian of the lands, protector from the evil eye and god of prosperity, the house and fishing.

26.Approx 600,000 people live in the 18 towns at the base of Mount Vesuvius which comprises the "red zone." The red zone denotes the populated area that would bear the brunt of an ­eruption. Directly in the line of fire, the 9-mile (12-kilometer) radius of people stand little chance of survival when Vesuvius explodes again.

27.In Naples there is the Vesuvius Observatory which monitors seismic activity, gas emissions and other indicators 24 hours a day to know at the earliest point when the Volcano may blow.

28.Naples is home to Pompeii and Herculaneum, these two famous sites which were destroyed and conserved by the eruption of 79 AD of Mount Vesuvius.

29.You can find original works of Caravaggio in Naples such as Seven Acts of Mercy, The Flagellation and The Martyrdom of St. Ursula.

30.The province of Naples is the most densely populated in Italy. It has an area of 1,171.13 km², and a total population of about 3.05 million.

For more information and to book a tour from Rome to visit the city of Naples and the ruins of Pompeii you can Book a Tour Here.

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