Founded in the 9th-8th century BC as a Greek colony, which was originally named Parthenope and later Neápolis (New City), Naples is one of the oldest cities in the world. Naples eventually became part of the Roman Republic as a major cultural center. The old town is a busy, noisy mess, where garbage strikes are frequent and the streets are a chaotic mess of bumper to bumper cars and motobikes weaving in and out of traffic, both mostly oblivious to any know rules of the road. Intriging to say the least.
The Naples National Archaelogical Musem is one of the main museums, considered one of the most important for artifacts of the Roman Empire in the world. It also hosts many of the antiques unearthed at Pompeiii and Herculaneum, as well as some artifacts from the Greek and Renaissance periods. It was interesting for us to see the artifacts from Pompeii. We had visited Pompeii a few years back. We hope to visit Herculaneum soon. We have heard that is even more astonishing than Pompeii. (Update: A few later we have visited Herculaneum and yes, it was amazing. Check out our pictures.
Galleria Umberto I is a public shopping gallery was built between 1887–1891, and was the cornerstone in the decades-long rebuilding of Naples. It was designed by Emanuele Rocco, who employed modern architectural elements reminiscent of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II in Milan. The Galleria was named for Umberto I, King of Italy at the time of construction. It was meant to combine businesses, shops, cafes and social life — public space — with private space in the apartments on the third floor. You can see the dome in the foreground.
Away from the old town and Naples opens up into a charming Med city. Across is Island of Capri.
The remains of the Roman-era structures and later fortifications were demolished by local residents in the ninth century to prevent their use by Saracen raiders. The first castle on the site was built by the Normans in the 12th century.
The current appearance dates from the Aragonese domination (15th century). It was struck by French and Spanish artillery during the Italian wars; in the Neapolitain Republic of 1799 its guns were used by rebels to deter the philo-Bourbon population of the city.
Castel Nuovo is the main symbol of the architecture of the city. Castel Nuovo has been expanded or renovated several times since it was first begun in 1279.
Before the accession of Charles I of Anjou to the throne in 1266, the capital of the kingdom of Naples was Palermo. There was a royal residence in Naples, at the Castel Capuano. However, when the capital was moved to Naples, Charles ordered a new castle, not far from the sea, built to house the court. Works, directed by French architects, began in 1279 and were completed three years later.