Naples has a very long and interesting history. Earliest records date back to the 9th century BC, when the Greeks started to colonize extensive parts of Italy. It was initially named Parthenope, but was renamed Neapolis (New City) sometime during the 5th century BC.
In terms of Greek legends, it is said that the Argonaut Phaleros funded the city. Parthenope was the name of the siren in Greek mythology who allegedly threw herself into the sea after her failed attempt to bewitch the sailor Ulysses with her voice and song.
The Greeks became entwined in a bitter feud with the Etruscans, who quickly started to dominate the area. Parthenope then became less used in terms of commerce and trade. In fact, some history suggests that it stopped to exist for a number of years. However, the Greeks took the city back and renamed it Naepolis, turning it into a city of commerce and culture. Neapolitans are very proud of their cultural history, and some still call themselves Parthenopeans to this day.
The Romans used Naples as a centre of Greek knowledge and many scholars came here to learn history. It has a very pleasant, year round climate, which made it very popular as a pleasure resort as well, something that both the Greeks and the Romans enjoyed thoroughly. The Romans really put the city on the map when they built roads and excavated galleries. Hence, Naples became linked to Pozzuoli, the port became larger and public baths and aqueducts were built to improve the quality of life of Romans living in Naples. It was a city of true decadence, with historical records indicating many spectacles and feasts.
It is a beautiful historic city and many ruins still remain. With just a little bit of imagination, it isnít hard to picture oneself back in the days of ancient Greeks and Romans.
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