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Published on Apr 29, 2010
Naples is a city in Italy; it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples. The city is known for its rich history, art, culture, architecture, music and gastronomy, playing an important role in the country's history and beyond throughout much of its existence, which began more than 2,800 years ago. 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 in the 8th century BC, as a Greek colony, under the name of Parthenope, and later Neápolis (New City), Naples is one of the oldest cities in the world, and it held an important role in Magna Graecia; while when the city became part of the Roman Republic in the central province of the Empire, was a major cultural center (Virgil is one of the symbol of the political and cultural freedom of Naples). The city has seen a multitude of civilizations come and go, each leaving their mark: now the historic city centre is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The historic city centre of Naples is the largest in Europe (1,700 hectares ).
Naples was preeminently 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. Naples has profoundly influenced many areas of Europe and beyond.
The city proper has a population of around 1 million people: Naples is the most densely populated major city in Italy. The population of urban area is estimated by Eurostat to be 2.25 million, while 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.
Naples is ranked fourth in Italy, for economic strength, after Milan, Rome and Turin. Naples is a thriving and cosmopolitan metropolis, and is the world's 91st richest city by purchasing power, with a GDP of $43 billion, surpassing the economies of Budapest and Zürich. The port of Naples is also one of the most important in Europe. Even though the city has had a remarkable economic growth, and unemployment levels in Campania and the city have decreased since 1999, Naples is still characterized by political and economic corruption and a thriving black market empire. Italian mega-companies, such as MSC, are headquartered in the city. Since 1958, the city hosts the Center Rai of Naples (media), while in the Bagnoli district there is a big NATO base. The city hosts the SRM institution for economic research. In the Posillipo district there is Villa Rosebery, one of three official residence of the President of Italy. Naples is full member of Eurocities network of European cities. The city was selected to become the headquarters of the European institution Acp/Ue.
Naples was the most bombed Italian city of World War II. In the twentieth century, first under Fascism and reconstruction following the Second World War built much of the periphery. In recent decades, Naples has adopted a business district (the Centro Direzionale) with skyscrapers and infrastructure such as the TGV in Rome or in a subway expansion: it will include half of the region. The metropolis will host the IAC 2012 and the Universal Forum of Cultures 2013.
The city is also synonymous with pizza, which originated in the city in 1889. 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. ( source Wikipedia )