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Naples

Naples

City of southern Italy that was the capital of a kingdom covering the southern regions of the peninsula and the island of Sicily. Naples had been a thriving port city from the time of the ancient Greeks, who founded the metropolis and called it Neapolis or new city. After the fall of the western Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire made Naples a key port. Trade from southern Europe to Greece and the Middle East brought great wealth to the city and made it a valuable prize for the Normans, who established a kingdom in southern Italy and the island of Sicily in 1039.

During the Renaissance, the kingdom of Naples was contested by the Angevin dynasty, which had its roots in northern France, and the rulers of the Spanish realm of Aragon. The Angevin dynasty was granted Naples by Pope Clement IV in 1266. Angevin kings brought important Italian artists, including Giotto and Simone Martini, to the city to decorate churches, palaces, and buildings belonging to the Franciscans, an order of monks established in the thirteenth century.

In 1373, when Queen Joan I renounced the Angevin claim to Naples, she named Duke Louis I of Anjou as her heir. The rival of Louis, the Prince of Durazzo, took his vengeance by murdering Joan and conquering Naples in 1382, when he was crowned as Charles III, king of Naples. Although Naples was seized by Alfonso V of Aragon in 1442, the Angevin dynasty did not give up its claim to the kingdom.

Alfonso celebrated his victory by raising one of the most famous monuments of Naples, the Arco di Trionfo di Constantio, a monumental arch inspired by the architecture of ancient Rome. Under the Aragonese dynasty Naples became an important center of painting, with a renowned school established in the city by Colantonio del Fiore. Neapolitan kings commissioned works by Pisanello, Donatello, and Michelozzo, all artists of Florence and Tuscany, while noble families of Naples hired these and other northern painters to decorate their private chapels in the city's leading churches. A unique Neapolitan style of painting and sculpture developed in the late fifteenth century; its leading artists were Diego de Siloé and Bartolomé Ordonez, both Spaniards.

In the meantime, the Angevin line died out in 1481, and the French claim to Naples was taken up by the Valois dynasty. The Valois was given support by Pope Innocent VIII, who saw the Aragonese as a serious threat to his own authority in central Italy. When Alfonso's son and heir Ferrante died in 1494, the pope invited King Charles VIII to invade Italy with the goal of seizing Naples and allying it with the Papacy. The French troops defeated the Aragonese but facing a much stronger army sent by Ferdinand II of Aragon, Charles soon retreated from Italy. The Aragonese remained in control of Naples while the kings of France made unsuccessful efforts to wrest it from their control. Finally Spain united Naples and Sicily under its own government in 1501 and sent viceroys to rule the city. By the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis of 1559 France officially ceded Naples to Spain. Under Spanish rule Naples grew to become the second-most populous city in Europe, after Paris, and attracted renowned painters, writers, scholars, and sculptors from throughout Italy.

In the sixteenth century Naples was visited by Raphael, who painted the Madonna del Pesce for a family chapel in San Domenico Maggiore, and Giorgio Vasari, who painted frescoes and paintings for the monastery of Monteoliveto. In the early seventeenth century, the wealthy religious orders were hiring Neapolitan and foreign artists to decorate the chapels, refectories, and halls of their monasteries in and around the city. Noble patrons also commissioned important works from Michelangelo da Caravaggio, who spent several years in Naples and left behind The Seven Acts of Mercy and the Flagellation of Christ. The sculptor Pietro Bernini was also working in Naples at this time as was the philosopher Giordano Bruno.

Under the Spanish viceroys Naples experienced the peak of its prestige and wealth, but it also suffered under oppressive tyranny. In 1647 a violent revolt led by a humble fisherman, Masaniello, broke out in the city. The revolt was put down but after an outbreak of plague killed half the population in 1656, Naples began to decline as an economic and artistic capital.

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Naples (city, Italy)

Naples, Ital. Napoli, city (1991 pop. 1,067,365), capital of Campania and of Naples prov., S central Italy, on the Bay of Naples, an arm of the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is a major seaport, with shipyards, and a commercial, industrial, and tourist center. Italy's third largest city, Naples is troubled by overpopulation, high unemployment, a low per capita income, a history of crime and corruption, and income inequalities. Manufactures include iron and steel, petroleum, textiles, food products, chemicals, electronics, porcelain ware, and machinery.

Points of Interest

Naples is beautifully situated at the base and on the slopes of the hills enclosing the Bay of Naples. The bay, dominated by Mt. Vesuvius, extends from Cape Misena in the north to the Sorrento peninsula in the south and is dotted with towns and villas. Near its entrance are the islands of Capri, Ischia, and Procida. Naples is a crowded and noisy city, famous for its songs, festivals, and gaiety. Especially interesting parts of the city are the Old Spacca Quarter (the heart of Old Naples) and the seaside Santa Lucia sector.

Noteworthy structures in Naples include the Castel Nuovo (1282); the Castel dell'Ovo (rebuilt by the Angevins in 1274); the Renaissance-style Palazzo Cuomo (late 15th cent.); the large Carthusian Monastery of St. Martin (remodeled in the 16th and 17th cent.); the neoclassic Villa Floridiana, which houses a museum of porcelain, china, and Neopolitan paintings; the Church of Santa Chiara (Gothic, with 18th-century baroque additions), which contains the tombs of Robert the Wise and other Angevin kings; the Cathedral of St. Januarius (14th cent., with numerous later additions, including a 17th-century baroque chapel); the Royal Palace (early 17th cent.); and the Church of Santa Maria Donna Regina. Beneath the city lies a network of tunnels and catacombs.

Naples has several museums including the National Museum, which holds the Farnese collection and most of the objects excavated at nearby Pompeii and Herculaneum; the picture gallery, housed in Capodimonte palace; a museum of contemporary art, and the aquarium. As a musical center Naples reached its greatest brilliance in the 17th and 18th cent.; Alessandro and Domenico Scarlatti, Porpora, Pergolesi, Paisiello, and Cimarosa were among the representatives of the Neapolitan style. The Teatro San Carlo, a famous opera house, was opened in 1737. The city has a conservatory and several art academies. Near Naples is the Camaldulian Hermitage (founded 1585), from which there is an excellent view of the bay region.

History

An ancient Greek colony, Naples was mentioned as Parthenope, Palaepolis, and Neapolis. It was conquered (4th cent. BC) by the Romans, who favored it because of its Greek culture, its scenic beauty, and its baths. The Roman poet Vergil, who often stayed there, is buried nearby. In the 6th cent. AD Naples passed under Byzantine rule; in the 8th cent. it became an independent duchy. In 1139 the Norman Roger II added the duchy to the kingdom of Sicily. Emperor Frederick II embellished the city and founded its university (1224). The execution (1268) of Conradin left Charles of Anjou (Charles I) undisputed master of the kingdom. He transferred the capital from Palermo to Naples. After the Sicilian Vespers insurrection (1282), Sicily proper passed to the house of Aragón, and the Italian peninsula S of the Papal States became known as the kingdom of Naples (see separate article). Naples was its capital until it fell to Garibaldi and was annexed to the kingdom of Sardinia (1860). The city suffered severe damage in World War II.

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Naples

Naples (Napoli) City on the Bay of Naples, s Italy; capital of the province of Campania. Founded in c.600 bc as a Greek colony, Rome conquered Naples in the 4th century bc. Successively ruled by the Byzantines, Normans, Spanish, and Austrians, it became the capital of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in 1734, eventually joining the Kingdom of Italy in 1860. Notable buildings include the 13th-century Gothic cathedral, the Church of the Holy Apostles, the University (1224) and the Music Conservatory (1537). The city contains areas of great economic deprivation. Industries: textiles, leather, steel, shipbuilding, aircraft, telecommunications, tourism. Pop. (2000) 1,000,470.

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Naples (city, United States)

Naples, resort city (1990 pop. 19,505), Collier co., SW Fla., on the Gulf of Mexico; inc. 1927. Bordering the Big Cypress Swamp, the city has been called the "gateway to the Everglades." Tourism, fishing, and shrimp fisheries form Naples' economy. It is noted for its beach, which is popular year-round, and has an art museum, zo,o and botanical garden. Naples is the site of Collier Seminole State Park.

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Naples

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