And this it is said that whoever has seen a ghost can never find happiness again, we could say just the opposite that my father could never be completely unhappy, because his thoughts always returned to Naples
Johann Wolfgang Goethe
Naples is the administrative centre and the capital (main city) of the Campania region, the third largest city in Italy which counts about one million inhabitants ( including the province 4 millions).
It overlooks the Neapolitan gulf, located between the The Flegraen Fields and the Peninsula of Sorrento.
The harbour (port) of the city is the second most important in Italy, after that one of Genoa, and one of the mains ports in the Mediterranean area.
The first area is located in the city centre with the Municipio and Plebiscito squares, with the New Castle or the Angevin Fortress, symbol of the city; the Opera Theatre San Carlo, the first one in Europe; the Royal Palace, nowadays a museum and the lively Toledo Street.
The third area is characterized by very important museums. Naples boats the main archaeological museum about Greek and roman art in Europe and a very interesting painting gallery in the Royal Palace of Capodimonte, rich of masterpieces of Raphael, Tizian, Masaccio, Caravaggio, Van Dyck and so on.
Naples is one of the oldest cities in Europe, founded by the Greeks round the VIII century B.C. called after the mythological Siren Parthenope and enlarged in the V century B.C. with the name of Neapolis (the New City). It was conquered by the Romans even of it kept the Greek language, culture and uses and customs. In the emperor age, the roman aristocrats chose Naples as summer resort and as a cultural centre building monumental villas with hanging gardens from where they enjoyed the view over the Neapolitan bay and its islands. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the last roman emperor died in Naples, the city underwent the incursion of the Barbars and from the VI century it was joined to Byzantine ownerships. From 763 to 1139 Naples and its surroundings built an Independent Duchy (From 763 to 1139 an Independent government governed the city) .
In 1139 Roger the Norman joined Naples to the large Norman Kingdom of Sicily.
At the end of the XIII century the Anjou conquered South Italy transferring the capital of the kingdom from Palermo to Naples, increasing the prestige of the city.
The Royal House of the Aragonian, who put the end to the dynasty of Anjou-Durazzo, enlarged and embellished the city, reigning to 1503, when the Neapolitan Kingdom became of province of Spain, full depending from Spain.
Spanish Vice kings governed Naples and its Kingdom aggravating the social conditions of the city which was overpopulated, with a few infrastructures and damaged by the violent eruption of the Vesuvius in 1631.
The Spanish Vice kingdom caused great damage to Naples from which it conserves much evidences: the popular uprising of 1648, the plague of the earthquake in 1656 had negative consequences in the history of the city.
Occupied by the Austrians during the wars of the Spanish Succession in 1734, Naples passed under the reign of Charles of Bourbon, first king of o the Royal Spanish House, which reigned to the unification of Italy (1860-62) with the of a ten years French period from 1806-1816 under Joseph Bonaparte and Joachim Murat.
Naples is going through a cultural and artistic rebirth for more than ten years now and it conserves an attraction thanks to the contradictions and melting pot that has given birth to a millennial culture.