Very Brief History
The beautiful city of Naples (Napoli) lies along the coast of Italy, overlooking the Bay of Naples and the Tyrrhenian Sea. Naples is the capital of the Campania Region. It is the third-largest city in Italy and has a population of over 1 million people in the city and more than 4 million in the urban areas. The city is situated between the Vesuvius volcano and the Campi Flegrei (separate volcanic area) which are all part of the Campanian volcanic arc.
Naples has long been associated with pizza, churches, Camorra (mafia), narrow streets, and chaos. It has all the colour of a true metropolis and can be exhilarating and frightening all at one time.
The name Naples derives from the name Neapolis (meaning new city) which was given to the area by Greek settlers from Cumae in the 6th Century BC. The “old city” Paleopolis, was also founded by the Greeks from Cumae in 9th century BC and was located nearby.
Both cities flourished side by side until 400BC when they were overthrown by Samnites. It took three years for the Roman army to claim the cities. By 326BC the cities merged as one and became known as Neapolis. Even though ruled by Rome they maintain much of their Greek way of life. The city would suffer a wave of invasions from Huns, the Lombards, and others before becoming part of unified Italy in 1861.
Things You May Not Know About Naples
The area code for Naples is 081.
Caligula (AD 12-41) spent time in Naples and was believed to have built a 3 mile long pontoon bridge across the Bay of Naples riding back and forth. He was thought not to be of sound mind at the time!
Mt Vesuvius is the only active volcano located on the mainland of Europe.
Naples claim to fame are pizza and neopolitan ice cream. The first known pizzeria to be opened was Port ‘Alba in 1830 and is still operating today.
Believe it or not there is a Naples Pizza Association and it has strict guidelines for producing pizzas. To get their stamp of approval the pizza must be cooked in woodfire oven, the mozzarella cheese must be pure white (and made in Italy), the sauce must be homemade with only fresh ingredients and the diameter must never ever exceed 12 inches.