Naples city tours
Naples, the principal city of southern Italy and illustrious cradle of history and art, spreads out like an amphitheater over the slopes of the hills descending along the littoral of the homonyms gulf, between Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields. The city is melting pot of deep contradictions: here, side by side, there is great wealth and great poverty, modernity and tradition, the most majestic palaces and the lowliest of dwellings, outstanding views (from Posillipo, from Via Caracciolo, from the Museo S. Martino) and sad pockets of urban degradation, the whole being enlivened by the energetic exuberance of a people who always have, with their extraordinary resourcefulness, know how to be protagonists of the city life.
Neapolis, the new City, rose near the Rhodian settlement of Parthenope and in the 15th century had already established itself as the most important center of Campania. Surrendering to the power of Rome after the siege to which it was subjected in 327 by the consul Publilius Philon, Naples showed itself from then on to be a faithful ally of the Romans, who raised it to the status of municipalism in 90 BC and the colony under Emperor Claudius. Appreciated for its mild climate (the mean annual temperature is about 17°), for the attractions of its landscape and for its cultural features of clear Hellenistic origin (here, up until the Late Imperial Period, it prided itself on conserving its Greek language and institutions), the city was the Favorite dwelling-place of Roman patricians and intellectuals (Virgil studied at the school of Syron, had a sumptuous residence and was finally buried here).
With the spread of Christianity Naples witnessed the violence o the persecutions. One of the victims was Gennarus, the bishop of Benevento, martyred at Pozzuoli in the 4th century and ever since venerated as the city patron saint. Later, the decline of the Roman Empire would open the way for the raids of the barbarians, first among them the Ostrogoth in 493.
Reconquered by the Byzantines, under new rule the
city grew in wealth and power, even to the extent that