Naples is the third largest city in Italy, after Rome and Milan, and the largest city in Southern Italy with 1.25m inhabitants. The city faces the great sweep of the splendid bay of Naples, extends in to the fertile Campania plain, and occupies high ground and hollows formed by ancient volcanic craters. The beautiful bay of Naples contains the legendary coastal resorts of Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, and the islands of Procida and Capri, immortalised by the jet-set in the 1950’s and 60’s.
According to Greek mythology, Naples was built by Syren Parthenope. Greek people, perhaps from Rhodes, founded a colony as early as the 10th century B.C. During the Roman period, Naples was a favourite playground for the elite, but the city came under Byzantine influence, after the fall of the Roman Empire. From this time onwards, a series of differing dominations enriched the culture of the Neapolitan population. In the 18th century the period of Bourbon hegemony began, followed by the French Napoleonic dominion. In the 19th century Naples came to be considered an important international cultural and political centre.
Naples is known throughout the world for its historical heritage, architecture, arts, music, and folklore. The fascination and enchantment of Naples and the surrounding countryside have drawn visitors here for many centuries. Having become run-down and poverty stricken at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries, Naples is now acknowledged as a city constantly evolving for the better. Naples successfully hosted the G7 Summit in 1994, and was one of the venues of Soccer World Cup in 1990. Nominated as a UNESCO Mankind Heritage City, it is now being chosen as the venue of major international events, not only due to its historical, cultural and natural attractions, but also for its renovated and newly opened venues and facilities.