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Naples

Naples, a town of South Italy, capital of the province of Naples, and once capital of the kingdom of Naples, is one of the chief naval and military ports of Italy. It is situate upon a beautiful semicircular bay on the west coast, and is 117 miles S.E. of Rome. The town is partly on the shore and partly on the hill-slopes, having on the W. the heights of Posilipo, and on the E. Vesuvius. The best view of it is from the W. heights, or from the sea. There are three forts - of no practical use now - St. Elmo on the hill to the west, Castello Nuovo near the sea, and Castello di Oro on a rocky islet which is joined by a jetty to the mainland. The city, which is divided by a steep ridge from Castello di Oro to St. Elmo, is three miles long by two broad, not counting the suburbs, and has an arsenal, a naval harbour, and a mercantile harbour. There are several gates - some now inside the city - the Capua gate being adorned by sculptures in relief. The streets are regular and clean though narrow, and are well paved with blocks of lava. There are many fountains and fine promenades, among the latter being the Riviera di Chiaja, close to the Villa Nazionale Gardens. The fashionable quarter is to the west, the road of communication being the Corso Victor Emmanuele. The cathedral of 1272, built on the sites of ancient temples, has granite pillars and ancient marbles, and contains relics of St. Jannarius. The Royal Palace contains some good paintings, and the Palace of Capo di Monte has modern paintings, sculptures, and fine gardens. The Museo Nazionale contains a library of 275,000 volumes, valuable MSS., the Farnese paintings and sculptures, and relics of Herculaneum. and Pompeii. Educational, literary, and scientific institutions abound. Among the productions are macaroni and vermicelli, articles in coral and lava, and cameos. In the neighbourhood are many objects of interest, the tomb of Virgil, Vesuvius, the remains of Herculaneum and Pompeii, and ancient villas, temples, and tombs. There is a good export trade, though the harbour is insignificant. The population is unique in its character. Originally a Greek colony, the city was called Neapolis (new city) to distinguish it from Parthenope. Hadrian and Constantine in later times did much towards embellishing it, and in 536 and 542 it was pillaged by Belisarius and Totila respectively. When capital of the kingdom it belonged successively to Normans, the German Emperor, and to the kings of France and Spain. After the revolution in France the crown was given, first to Joseph Bonaparte, and then to Murat. Then after being misgoverned for many years by its Bourbon kings, it was taken by Garibaldi in 1860, and was annexed to the kingdom of Italy. The Bay of Naples is 20 miles across from Cape Misenum to Cape Campanella, and extends 20 miles inland. At the northern part of the entrance are the islands of Ischia and Procida, and at the south is Capri, the city being on the northern shore.

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