harbour, Naples, Italy Postcard
Naples (Italian: Napoli, Neapolitan: Nàpule) is the capital city of the Campania region and the Province of Naples. Its metropolitan area is the second most populated in Italy and one of the largest in Europe. It is located halfway between the volcano, Vesuvius and a separate volcanic area, the Campi Flegrei, both of which form part of the Campanian volcanic arc. The city itself has a population of around 1 million, the inhabitants are known as Neapolitans, napoletani or poetically partenopei. It is rich in historical, artistic and cultural traditions and gastronomy. The Neapolitan language is the geographically most diffuse Italian language, similar variations of the Neapolitan dialect ('o napulitano) are spoken throughout most of Southern Italy. Between 1266 and 1861, Naples was the capital town of the Kingdom of Naples (later of the Two Sicilies), usually simply indicated as "the Kingdom", other Italian states having different denominations. This history, coupled with its size, has given Naples the unofficial status of being the Capital of the South (in Italy). In the modern day, the city is served by Naples International Airport at Capodichino, a civil airport hosted by a military one, once outside the town, now surrounded by built up area.**************The Royal Palace of Naples is one of four palaces that the Bourbon Kings of Naples used during their rule of the Kingdom of Naples (1730-1860): one is in Caserta, another on the Capodimonte hill overlooking Naples, and the third (now the site of the agricultural department of the of Naples) is in Portici on the slopes of Vesuvius. The Royal Palace is on the site of an earlier building meant to host King Philip III of Spain, who however never made the trip. The architect chosen for that palace was Domenico Fontana. The building was put up on the site of an even older Spanish viceroyal residence from the early 16th century. The royal residence was moved to Caserta in the 18th century, as that inland town was more defensible from naval assault than Naples. The 17th century palace visible today is, however, the result of numerous additions and changes, including some by Luigi Vanvitelli in the mid-18th century and then by Gaetano Genovese in 1838 after a fire had damaged much of the palace. Additionally, restoration was done after World War II to repair bomb damage. The western façade side of the building (fronting on Piazza del Plebiscito) displays a series of statues of the rulers of dynasties to rule Naples since the foundation of the Kingdom of Naples in the twelfth century. They are: Roger II, Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, Charles of Anjou, Alfonse of Aragon, Emperor Charles V, Charles III of Bourbon, Joachim Murat, and Victor Emanuel II of Savoy, the first king of united Italy. Today the palace and adjacent grounds house the San Carlo Theatre, a museum, the National Library of Naples and a number of city offices, including those of the regional tourist board.