Why has the historic centre of Naples become a World Heritage Site?
“From Neapolis founded by Greek colonists in 470 BC. to the city of today, Naples has kept the imprint of the cultures that subsequently arose in Europe and in the Mediterranean basin. This makes it a unique place, with exceptional monuments such as the Church of Santa Chiara and Castel Nuovo”
Naples is one of the oldest cities in Europe; its origins date back to the 9th century BC. when it was founded with the name of Parthenope. It was later called Neapolis, or New City, in 470 BC.
The urban area of the historic centre retains many elements of its long history, such as the rectangular grid layout of the ancient Greek foundation.
The history of the city is closely linked to its position on the Gulf of Naples and its role as a port.
As UNESCO has stated:
“Naples has exerted a great influence on the rest of Europe since ancient times, as an important centre of Magna Graecia and the Roman Republic. Its role as the main actor among the most influential cultural centres of the Mediterranean region was reconfirmed in the Middle Ages, and again from the 16th to the 18th century, being one of the main European capitals and exerting important influences in many cultural fields, especially related to art and architecture”
All of this can still be seen today, in its ancient fortresses, in royal complexes such as the Royal Palace; the palaces and churches built by noble families, obelisks, monasteries, cloisters, museums, catacombs, statues, monuments, and numerous archaeological excavations.
Furthermore, in 2017 the art of the Neapolitan Pizzaiolo was declared by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
If you come to visit Naples, take the opportunity to taste a true Neapolitan pizza!