Laying in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius and rising like a mythical siren from its half-moon bay, Naples, capital of the southern Italian region of Campania is Italy’s third largest city and arguably it’s most bewitching.
Naples was founded by ancient Greek colonists between the Seventh and Sixth Centuries BC and for most of its history since then it’s been the desire of many conquerors and admirers and the city is filled with magnificent indelible legacies of its past.
For a period Naples was Europe’s largest city, a capital of glamour that attracted kings, aristocrats, intellectuals and artists. Travellers on the famous grand tour acclaimed Naples to be the most glorious and dazzling capital of the west.
When the 18th century famous writer and poet Goethe visited Naples he declared it a paradise and that the site of the bay, the islands and volcano the castles and villas exceeded all his expectations inspiring him to famously declare that ‘anyone can be forgiven for losing his mind in Naples’.
The central neighbourhoods of Naples are like an open-air museum where every element of life has been elevated to an art form. Streets are lined with authentic pizzerias, formidable fortresses, magnificent Baroque churches, grand royal palaces, lively piazzas and colourful outdoor markets.
Branching of the streets are narrow dusty cobblestone alleys replete with laundry fluttering above between houses whilst below, barking dogs hastily avoid being run-over by zooming scooters piled with two or three helmet-less passengers.
The Historic Centre of Naples is a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Further stock photos from Naples, Italy, and the Mediterranean can be viewed and purchased from my image library website – Mediterranean Heritage and Travel photography.
All Images, Text and Content On This Blog Are Copyright Steven Sklifas
View of people relaxing and talking in a section of the small Piazza Trento e Trieste which opens up to the much larger Piazza del Plebiscito in the city of Naples. In the background is the immense Neo-classical 18th century church of San Francesco di Paola which flanks the Piazza del Plebiscito with its colonnade arcades. Resembling the Pantheon in Rome the impressive church was built between 1817 and 1846 by Pietro Bianchi after it was commissioned by Ferdinand I to celebrate the end of his exile and the return of Bourbon dynasty to power. The equestrian statues of Charles III and Ferdinand IV stand in front of the building.
View of lit lamps along an inner courtyard arched hallway of the Palazzo Reale or Royal palace. The majestic Palazzo was built-in 1602 by Domenico Fontana in anticipation of a visit by Philip III of Spain who never arrived and it was intended to be the residence of rulers of Naples although no king has ever inhabited the palace which was only occupied by viceroys. It was extensively renovated under the Bourbons and was only fully completed in 1843.
View of the Castel dell Ovo which occupies a small island that has been inhabited since the early days of ancient Greek settlement. Originally dating from the 9th century, the castle was reconstructed in the 12th century during the Norman period and then again during the 16th century which is its present form. It is also known as the Egg castle because according to legend, it sits on an egg buried by the Roman poet Virgil and if the egg ever breaks, then Naples will fall.
The interior of the wonderfully refined shopping arcade known as the Galleria Umberto I in the city of Naples. Dating from around 1890 and designed by engineer Paolo Boubee, the Gallleria Umberto was originally the meeting point of the Neapolitan aristocracy. The structure is French inspired with beautifully decorated facades and is a triumph of iron and glass nearly 60 metres high from the dome seemingly supported by copper angles to the delicate coloured marbled inlayed floor.
Part view of the elegant Baroque fountain known as Fontana di Nettuno in the city of Naples. Dedicated to the God Neptune, the fountain dates from around 1600 and was designed by a group of artists, including Michelangelo Naccherino and Pietro Bernini. The fountain is replete marble and adorned with beautifully crafted sculptures of water spouting lions, dolphins and sea monsters and is crowned by the statue of Neptune.
View of the facade of the Castel Nuovo, distinguished by a trio of battle towers at its front. The castle is better known as Maschio Angioino, derived from the name Charles of Anjou, who built the impressive fortress at the end of the thirteenth century. Between two of the towers, is the ornate white Triumphal Arch, added in 1467 to commemorate the entry of King Alfonso I of Aragon into Naples in 1443. Designed by Francesco Laurana, the Arch is one of the most beautiful works of the Neapolitan renaissance.
View of boats anchored on the Bay of Naples with the unmistakable profile of Mount Vesuvius in the background. Vesuvius is mainland Europe’s only active volcano and is famous for its eruption in AD79 when it buried the ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
View of the interior and nave of the Duomo or the Cathedral of San Gennaro which was originally founded on the site of the Greek sanctuary of Apollo in the 4th century AD. The current building dates back to 1300s and its nave has an intricate 17th century painted ceiling in which is supported on sixteen pillars, joined to form arches incorporating over 100 ancient granite columns..
View of the small port of Santa Lucia which is home to many colourful boats and bordered on one side by many elegant hotels and restaurants.
View of a small shrine monument to the Argentine footballer Diego Maradona at Bar Nilo on Via San Biagio dei Librai. Maradona is cherished in Naples as he captained and inspired Napoli to their first ever Serie A championship in 1987, and then again in 1990.
View of the beautiful sculpture of La Pieta by Michelangelo Naccherino that sits above the entrance of the impressive late Renaissance facade of the 16th century Cappella del Monte di Pieta in the historical centre of Naples. The facade is adorned with stunning sculptures with the entrance bordered by two Pietro Bernini sculptures (la Sicurta and la Carita) and the above triangular tympanum.
View of the striking fountain known as Fontana dell Immacolata which is situated on the Naples waterfront in the Santa Lucia neighbourhood. Designed by Michangeleo Naccherini and Pietro Bernini in 1601, the fountain is composed of three triumphal arches and is adorned with beautifully crafted sculptures
Archaeological museum display of a group of five bronze statues or sculptures that were found in the Villa of the Papyruses or Papyri at Herculaneum which is one of the most important residences to have come to light from the Vesuvius excavations.
Archaeological museum display of the colossal Roman copy of a Hellenistic statue known as the Farnese Atlas or Atlante which depicts the Greek mythological figure Atlas carrying a globe on his shoulders. The statue is located in the Salone della Meridiana which is on the upper hall of the National Archaeological museum of Naples.