Naples (Italian: Napoli, Neapolitan: Napule) in Italy, is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples.
The city is known for its rich history, art, culture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,800 years old. Naples is located halfway between two volcanic areas, the volcano Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, sitting on the coast by the Gulf of Naples.
Founded by the Ancient Greeks as "Νεάπολις", Neápolis (New City), it held an important role in Magna Graecia and then as part of the Roman Republic in the central province of the Empire. The city has seen a multitude of civilizations come and go, each leaving their mark and now the historic city centre is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Naples was the capital city of a kingdom which bore its name from 1282 until 1816 in the form of the Kingdom of Naples, then in union with Sicily it was the capital of the Two Sicilies until the Italian unification.
The city proper has a population of around 1 million people, while the population of urban area is estimated by Eurostat to be 2.25 million. The Naples metropolitan area, according to different sources, is the second after the Milan metropolitan area (with 4.434.136 inhabitants according to SVIMEZ DATA or 4.996.084 according to CENSIS INSTITUTE) or the third (3.1 million inhabitants according to OECD) most populated metropolitan area in Italy.
The city is synonymous with pizza, which originated in the city. A strong part of Neapolitan culture which has had wide reaching effects is music, including the invention of the romantic guitar and the mandolin as well as strong contributions to opera and folk standards. There are popular characters and figures who have come to symbolise Naples; these include the patron saint of the city Januarius, Pulcinella, and the Sirens from the epic Greek poem the Odyssey.The central and main open city square or piazza of the city is the Piazza del Plebiscito.
It was started by Bonapartist king Joachim Murat and finished by Bourbon king Ferdinand IV. It is bounded on the east by the Royal Palace and on the west by the church of San Francesco di Paola with the colonnades extending to both sides. Nearby is the Teatro di San Carlo, which is the oldest and largest opera house on the Italian peninsula.Directly across from San Carlo is Galleria Umberto, a shopping centre and active centre of Neapolitan social life in general.
Naples is well-known for its historic castles: the ancient Castel Nuovo is one of the most notable architectural representatives on the city, also known as Maschio Angioino; it was built during the time of Charles I, the first ever king of Naples. Castel Nuovo has hosted some historical religious events: for example, in 1294, Pope Celestine V resigned as pope in a hall of the castle, and following this Pope Boniface VIII was elected pope here by the cardinal collegium, and immediately moved to Rome.
The castle which Nuovo replaced in importance was the Norman founded Castel dell'Ovo. Its name means Egg Castle and it is built on the tiny islet Megarides, where the Cumaean colonists founded the city. The third castle of note is Sant'Elmo which was completed in 1329 and is built in the shape of a star. During the uprising of Masaniello, the Spanish took refuge in Sant'Elmo to escape the revolutionaries.