“I’m leaving. But do not forget neither Toledo nor the way all the other districts of Naples, in my eyes is, without comparison, the most beautiful city”.
The historic center of Naples is the core of the city also declared a World Heritage Site.
It retains the original mesh Hippodomean Pattern of the Greek era, It’s formed by cardines and decumans.
Here the urban fabric overlaps the anthropological fiber formed by stratifications of cultures throughout the centuries, dominations as well as domains that give to this city a beating heart and a soul always alive.
The city was discovered in the VII a.C. by Greeks on the hill of Pizzafalcone and was originally called Parthenope, later the name changed to Palepolis and only in the fifth century b.C. it was named Neapolis as per the urban core next to it.
All this was before the Grand Tour visitors, the Greeks and the Romans discovered the natural beauty of this city.
The peculiarity of Naples is found in the deep contradictions that you can experience in each and every corner, visitors can see real jewels of art, architecture, breath-taking landscapes, there are luxurious shops and workshops of artisans excelled, narrow streets close to the majestic roads and squares, all exists in a dynamic and vibrant ambient.
In narrow streets, dark and crowded you can meet suddenly airy courtyards, monuments and even silent facades of churches and buildings of incredible, but never arrogant, beauty. And if, of course, Capodimonte and the Archaeological Museum are the milestones of a visit to the city, it is just a beginning through a long series of wonders.
The castles for example. There is the Maschio Angioino which was called Castel Nuovo to distinguish it from Castel dell’Ovo (It’s jutting out the sea and it seems to float on the water) and Castel Capuano, existing buildings. It was started in the thirteenth century by Carlo d’Angiò, but it was completely rebuilt by Alfonso of Aragon in the fifteenth century. Today its imposing bulk dark is softened by the beautiful triumphal arches at the entrance, It’s one of the symbols of the city.
The real icon, however, in these parts is San Gennaro: the spire dedicated to him, is the oldest in the city, is a votive offered by the Neapolitans to their patron for having protection by the eruption of Vesuvius in 1631.
Churches of Naples are many: the famous Santa Chiara and the Gothic San Domenico Maggiore. This is where that left an extraordinary cycle of frescoes by Pietro Cavallini, one of the most important artists of the fourteenth century, considered lately the height of Giotto. We also remember the Gesù Nuovo has a monumental façade and the complex of San Lorenzo Maggiore, eighteenth-century façade with a portal of the fourteenth century Gothic interior, Greek-Roman remains under the cloister.
To understand the historical importance of this city, you have to cross the threshold of the seventeenth-century Royal Palace and to admire salons and staircase, the court theaters and chapels, stables, the extraordinary Library.
And after walking under the impressive glass and iron roof of the Galleria Umberto I, visiting the wonderful theater of San Carlo, reaching the Certosa di San Martino and Castel Sant ‘Elmo, visiting the rich collection of majolica Floridiana, it is worth to go down into the subterranean Naples that seems to exist for astonish. A hidden city, carved into the tuff and made of tunnels, catacombs, hypogea, cemeteries. A world that contrasts in every corner what is going on. And if in front of the skulls of Fontanelle you will feel the same perception that captured the beautiful Ingrid Bergman, star of the film of Rossellini’s Journey to Italy, and then you’ll go back up again to have a new current of vitality.