Naples, capital of the province and the region Campania, is the third most
populated city in Italy (after Rome and Milan) with over a million inhabitants
and is the most important industrial centre and trading port for the South part
of the country.
The city is located the Bay of Naples (an arm of the Tyrrhenian Sea), between
the impressive volcano Vesuvius and the Phlegrean Fields and it enjoys a wonderful
Mediterranean climate. The bay of Naples extends from Cape Misena in the north
to the Sorrento peninsula in the south and is completely covered with towns
and villas. Near its entrance are the beautiful and very popular islands of
Capri, Ischia, and Procida.
Naples is a city with a long and sometimes chaotic history: according to the
myth, it was founded by the mermaid Parthenope, who washed up on a rock here,
heartbroken after failing to charm Odysseus.
The first inhabitants of the area were the Aegean Greek sailors who arrived
around 470 BC. Since then, Naples has known Romans, Normans, Saracens, Angevins,
Napoleonic French and Bourbon Spanish. All of them left their own mark on the
city’s art, architecture, local dialect, cuisine and way of life.
Especially the Neapolitan cuisine is famous worldwide and amazingly rich with
extraordinary dishes: mozzarella, spaghetti and pizza, are really the best you
can taste anywhere. More particular are the "timballo di maccheroni"
(macaroni cooked in a mould), "zuppa di soffritto" (fried soup) and
the "pasta ammiscata", a popular soup made by mixing up the leftovers
of different kinds of pasta. Its seafood specialities are also great: "impepata
di cozze" (spicy mussels), mixed seafood salads and a really vast selection
of spaghetti served with various seafood sauces. Classical desserts include
the "pastiera" (a cake made with sweet pastry and ricotta cheese)
and the unique babà.
Today, Naples is a crowded and lively city, famous for its songs full of passion,
coloured festivals, and folklore. Really interesting parts of the city are the
Old Spacca Quarter (the heart of Old Naples) and the seaside Santa Lucia sector.