Historic Center of Naples
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From the Neapolis founded by Greek settlers in 470 B.C. to the city of today, Naples has retained the imprint of the successive cultures that emerged in Europe and the Mediterranean basin. This makes it a unique site, with a wealth of outstanding monuments such as the Church of Santa Chiara and the Castel Nuovo.
Naples (Italian Napoli; ancient Neapolis) is a city in southern Italy, capital of Naples Province and of Campania Region.
|| An important seaport, Naples is built on the slopes and at the base of a range of hills bordering the Bay of Naples, an inlet of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Visible from the city is the volcano Mount
Naples is the site of numerous castles and other places of interest. On a rocky islet connected to the city by a causeway stands the 12th-century Castel dell'Ovo, the site of which was occupied by the villa of the Roman general Lucullus. Other Neapolitan castles are the 13th-century Castel Nuovo, situated on the harbor, and the 14th-century Castel Sant'Elmo, on a hill overlooking the city.
The former royal palace in Naples, the Palazzo Reale, was built in the early 17th century; it houses the notable National Library, which has a large and valuable collection of books and manuscripts. Near the palace is the Teatro San Carlo (1737, rebuilt 1816), famed for its opera productions and one of the largest theaters in Europe.
| The National Museum in Naples is renowned for its vast collection of Greco-Roman paintings and sculpture found in Pompeii, Herculaneum, and elsewhere in the vicinity of the city.
The museum also contains the celebrated Farnese collection of paintings. The city is the site of a university; Naples also has a naval institute, a school of foreign languages, a music conservatory, and an academy of fine arts.
Of the many ecclesiastical buildings in the city, the best known is the Cathedral of San Gennaro (begun 13th century, with many later additions, including a 19th-century facade). The cathedral contains the tomb of St. Januarius, the patron saint of the city; crowds fill the cathedral in May and September to witness what is believed to be the miraculous liquefaction of his blood. The Church of San Domenico Maggiore has a beautiful interior and is rich in sculpture and frescoes. Beside it stands the former Dominican monastery in which Saint Thomas Aquinas once lived and taught.
The ancient Neapolis (Greek, “New City”) was originally a Greek settlement. Although conquered by the Romans in the 4th century bc, it long retained its Greek culture. The mild climate and the beauty of the site made the city a favorite resort of wealthy Romans. After the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, the city declined. In the 6th century Neapolis was captured by forces of the Byzantine Empire, and in the 8th century it became an independent duchy. In 1139 the Normans conquered the duchy, and it was subsequently incorporated into the kingdom of the Two Sicilies. After the Sicilian Vespers of 1282 the city served as capital of the separate kingdom of Naples. In 1861 that kingdom became part of the modern state of Italy. The port of Naples was greatly improved in the late 19th century. The city, which had long been subject to epidemics of cholera, was provided with a pure supply of water in 1884 and a new sewage system.
At least two citizens of Naples in recent times have gained world fame. One is the Neapolitan opera singer Enrico Caruso, and the other the Italian actress Sophia Loren, the latter engraved on a private label (with no postal value) by the world famous Swedish engraver Czeslaw Slania.
During the years 1957-1962, while Slania "only" worked in Stockholm with retouching other engravers' works, he kept his mind and hand agile by engraving a series of labels in stamp format, portraying the most famous actresses of the period. Looking at these beautiful miniatures it is obvious that his engraving technique never faded, in spite of the very little professional work he did at this time. These labels were produced as personal favours to the persons honoured, and given to them for their private use or distribution to their friends. Therefore, in some cases there is no supply of them available to collectors.
Sources and links:
Other World Heritage Sites in Italy (on this site). Inactive links are not described on stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section Italy for further information about such sites.
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Revised 01 aug 2006