Naples’ ancient origins can be found in a series of legends, among which the most meaningful is the one about Partenope, a mermaid. Feeling shattered by Ulysses, who succeded in escaping the mermaids’ enchanting song by his sheer cunning, she committed suicide. Her body was found aground on the rocks of a small island called Megaride, where nowadays you can see Castel dell’Ovo.
Naples, spread along the edge of its marvelous Gulf, is considered, one of the most important tourist centers of Italy.
Visiting Naples means immersing yourself in a setting of extraordinary and complex beauty. 2,500 years of history are represented and reconstructed in the wonderful works of art and architecture which are interwoven and overlaid in today's urban fabric. Every corner of the city reveals works of incredible historic and artistic value. The city Museums house collections of works of art and archaeological remains which are amongst the finest and most significant in the world.
So, welcome to Naples, a city of art whose extraordinary architecture and natural landscape add to its magnificence, with its sea, thousands of different colours, ancient city walls and buildings and a long tradition of food and wine as well.
Welcome to the centre of the city, where you can find your way to a Museum, a particular street or square, a monument or just wander around the oldest historic centre in Europe, a real open-air museum which is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Some places to visit
The name Castel dell'Ovo is derived from a medieval legend about the Latin poet Vergilius, at those times believed a wizard. Many believe the name, Castel dell'Ovo, is due to its unusual shape (“ovo” meaning “egg”); however, others maintain that the name is linked to medieval legend. Apparently the poet Virgil hid an egg in an iron cage and left it to hang from a rafter in a secret place within the castle; if the egg is broken, both the castle and the city are doomed to destruction.
The islet was the first settlement by Greek colonists coming from Pithecusa (on Ischia Island) who also founded the old town of Partenope on Monte Echia, the earliest nucleus of Naples. During the 1st century B.C. the islet of Megaride became property of Lucius Licinius Lucullus, who built his most magnificent villa there. Very few signs of this legendary villa remain, because of the several constructions made upon it in the following times.
The building of the Castel Nuovo, also called Maschio Angioino, began in 1279 under the reign of Charles I of Anjou, on the basis of a plan by the French architect Pierre de Chaule. The strategic position of the new castle gave it the characteristics not only of a royal residence, but also those of a fortress. From the very beginning it was called "Castrum Novum" to distinguish it from the older castles: Castel dell'Ovo and Castel Capuano.
The Maschio Angioino is located in Piazza Municipio, not far form the port of Naples and Piazza Plebiscito. A tour of the museum takes us from the Armoury Hall, the Palatine or Saint Barbara Chapel, the first and second levels of the southern courtyard and the Charles V Hall and the Sala della Loggia which are to host exhibitions and cultural events.
Piazza Plebiscito has become the symbol of the recent renovation of Naples in the 1994, when it recovered its representative function on the occasion of G7. Since then, the piazza is a pedestrian area designed for the enjoyment of tourists and dwellers; every now and then here are played concerts and happenings or shown large installations of contemporary art.
Piazza Plebiscito was given its present name on the occasion of plebiscite held here on October 1860, by which Naples and the whole Southern Italy ratified their annexation to Piedmont Kingdom by Savoy. Before the piazza was called "Largo di Palazzo" (wide space in front of the Palace) because it faced main facade of the Royal Palace.
The National Archeological Museum of Naples is the most important archeological museum in Europe and contains the collection of objects that belonged to the Bourbon family and also a series of bronzes, sculptures and other objects found in the digs at Pompeii and Herculaneum. The famous “Tirannicidi” and all the sculptures on show in the “Galleria dei Grandi Maestri” (Great Masters Gallery) must be seen.
The core of the collection are the pieces from the Farnese set, including a collection of engraved gems. The "Treasure of the Magnificent" is an excellent example of the collection. It consists of gems collected by Cosimo de' Medici and Lorenzo il Magnifico in the 15th century.
For more info visit the site www.marketplace.it/museo.nazionale/
Fourty meters below the characteristic and lively streets of the Historic Center of Naples, you find a different world, unexplored, isolated by time, but deeply connected with the world above.
It's the heart of Naples, and the place from which the city was born. To visit it is to travel to the past, a world 2400 years old.
The existence of Naples basement is characterized to the morphologic and geologic conformation of the territory, composed from "tufacea" rock that has particular characteristics of lightness, friableness and stabilities.
For more info visite the site www.lanapolisotterranea.it/home_ing.htm
The Church of Santa Chiara is a Gothic church/convent built between 1310 and 1328 for the wife of King Robert of Anjou. It is marked by a belfry that stands within the grounds at the northeast corner. The complex was expanded along Baroque lines in the 18th century. It was almost entirely destroyed by bombing in WW II and was restored to its original Gothic form in 1953.
Famous is the cloister of the Clarisses, transformed in 1742 by Vaccaro with the addition of precious majolica tiles in Rococo style.
For more info visite the site www.santachiara.info
The Sansevero Chapel Museum in the historic heart of Naples is a jewel of the world’s artistic heritage. Here, baroque creativity, dynastic pride, beauty and mystery blend to create a unique and almost timeless atmosphere.
With its masterpieces such as the famous Veiled Christ, renowned world over for the remarkable tissue-like quality of the marble, feats of virtuosity such as Disillusion, and enigmatic creations such as the Anatomical Machines, the Sansevero Chapel is one of the most impressive monuments that the human mind has ever conceived.
A noble mausoleum, a temple of initiation, which admirably reflects the multi-faceted personality of its ingenious architect, Raimondo di Sangro, seventh Prince of Sansevero.
For more info visit the site www.museosansevero.it/index_ing.html
If you like cribs and want to see really all about the Neapolitan Crib, you should definitely visit the famous street of the nativity scene makers, in Naples’s historic city, the Via San Gregorio Armeno. Here you can admire numerous shops with creative nativity figurines in all variations.
Moreover you can get thousand of accessories and building material for your presepe, like cork to create the mountains, ready-to-place houses, wells, waterfalls powered by electric engine, small lakes with water, trees, grasslands, bridges, towers. And all handmade!
During Christmas time, more than half a million tourists come to see the shops with the original miniature figurines and the shops in this street are especially busy.
However, the most shops are open all year round and you can take your time and have a look around after New Year’s.
A good period to visit the street is in september-november, when all the handicraftsmen start to prepare their shop for the busy Christmas time.
Take the local train, "the Circumvesuviana", from Sorrento station witch lives for Naples every 30 minutes. The journey takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
From the port of Sorrento you can take an hydrofoil ofLinee Marittime Partenopeeuntil the port of Naples. The journey takes about 35 minutes.
Get Castellamare di Stabia, and then take the motorway A3 to Naples. It's not many advisable to reach Naples by car because of the difficulty of parking and the traffic in many hours of the day.
The Amalfi Coast is a stunning beauty with its steep sloped lemon tree gard... Continue
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