The capital of a province in Campania, southern Italy, and formerly capital of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies; it is situated on the northern side of the bay of Naples, on the Capodimonte, the Vomero, and the Posilipo hills, in one of the most enchanting spots upon the earth. The most populous town in Italy, its suburbs stretch along the bay, as far as Torre Annunziata.
Naples is a very industrial town, and its fisheries, navigation, and commerce are very active; commercially, it is the most important centre of Italy, after Genoa, and contains an arsenal of the Royal Navy. In its neighbourhood, the vine and all species of esculent plants are cultivated; and fruits and vegetables are exported in great quantities. The silk industry is very important. Naples has frequently been damaged by the eruptions of the neighbouring Mt. Vesuvius; the most memorable of these occurred in the year 72 of the Christian era, the first eruption of Vesuvius after several centuries of inactivity; in 205, 407, 512, 982, and 1139, the eruptions were less violent; until 1631, the volcano gave no signs of activity, and was covered with vegetation; there were more or less violent eruptions, however, in 1680, 1694, 1707, 1723, 1794, 1804, 1805, 1822, 1828, 1839, 1850, and 1872; the eruption of 1904 was one of the most violent of all, and caused the ruin of Ottaiano and of San Giuseppe.
The cathedral or church of Saint Januarius, begun by order of Charles of Anjou in 1272, on the site of the ancient Stefania cathedral of the eighth century, and completed in 1341, the work of Nicolò Pisano, Maglione, and Masuccio, is in Gothic style with three naves; the façade, modified by the restoration of 1788, has been brought again to its original style; its principal door is a work of Babuccio Piferno (1407), while its chapel of St. Restituta is said to date from the time of Constantine. The fourteen pilasters are adorned with busts of famous archbishops of Naples. In the crypt, which was built by Malvito by order of Archbishop Carafa, is venerated the body of St. Januarius, taken there from Montevergine in 1479. Of the lateral chapels, that of the Treasure is the most notable; it is there that the head of St. Januarius and the ampullæ that contain the martyr's blood are preserved. The cathedral contains the superb sepulchres of Innocent IV and of a Cardinal Minutoli. the second, a work of Girolamo d'Auria; also, valuable thirteenth-century frescos of Santafede, Vincenzo Forti, Luca Giordano, and others, and paintings by John of Nola, Franco, Perugino, and Domenichino. Among other churches are the church of St. Augustine of the Mint, which has a pulpit of the fifteenth century, sculptures by Vincent d'Angelo and Jian da Nola, and a painting by Diana (the Communion of St. Augustine); the church of the Holy Apostles, restored in 1608 by the labour of famous artists, among whom were Giordano, Marco da Siena, Bonomini, and Dolci, the tabernacle of the high altar being the work of Caugiano; the church of S. Domenico Maggiore, dating from 1255, is rich in paintings, mosaics, and sepulchres, and in the ancient monastery connected with this church is the cell of St. Thomas Aquinas; the church of Donna Regina, built by Mary of Hungary, in 1300, and renewed by the Theatine Guarino in 1670, contains valuable paintings and frescos, and also, the tomb of the foundress.
The church of St. Philip Neri, in baroque style, by Dionisio di Bartolomeo (1592), contains statues by Sammartino, and both the church and the sacristy have very valuable paintings by Luke Giordano, Guerra, Guido Reni, Caravaggio, Spagnoletto, Domenichino, and others; the church of St. Francis of Paul (1817), an imitation of the Pantheon, with two wings that have porticos, is adorned with paintings of the nineteenth century. The church of San Giacomo of the Spaniards (1540) is decorated with works of art; St. John Carbonara (1343) contains the mausoleums of King Ladislaus and of the constable Sergianni Caracciolo, and paintings by famous artists. The church of St. Barbara, a work of Giuliano di Maiano, has a beautiful bas-relief of the Madonna with angels over the principal entrance, and another fine bas-relief within the edifice; adjacent to the church is the cell inhabited by St. Francis of Paula. The church of St. Clare (1310), restored in 1752, contains the mausoleums of Robert the Wise and of other personages, and also, paintings by Lanfranco, Giotto, and other artists; the pulpit is a graceful work of art. The church of Santa Maria del Carmine, built in the thirteenth century, and restored in 1769, contains the tomb of Conradin executed by Schoepf in 1874 by order of King Louis of Bavaria. The church of St. Mary of Piedigrotta. where each year, about September, popular feasts are celebrated; the church of St. Anna of the Lombards of Mt. Olivet (1411) contains many works of art, and also the tomb of the architect Charles Fontana; the church of St. Peter ad aram, so called because it contains an altar upon which St. Peter is said to have celebrated Mass. The church of Santa Maria del Parto, built by the poet Sannazaro, contains the mausoleum of its founder, a work of Fra Giovanni Montorsoli; the church of S. Paolo Maggiore, built on the ruins of the ancient temple of Castor and Pollux, after the plans of the Theatin Grimaldi; the church of SS. Severinus and Sosius, which is very ancient, was restored in 1490 and in 1609. While painting the vault of this temple, the artist Correnzio, falling from the scaffolding, was killed and he lies buried at the place of his fall; other artists have also adorned this church with fine works. The church of the Most Holy Trinity, or the new Gesù, an ancient palace converted into a church by the Jesuit Provedo (1584). Mention should be made, however, of the catacombs, near the church of St. Januarius of the Poor, famous in the second century, and of the new cemetery, rich in artistic monuments, among which are the Pietà by Calì in the chapel, and the statue of Religion by Angelini.
The Royal Palace, which ranks among the grandest of palaces on account of the majestic severity of its style, was begun in the early part of the seventeenth century by the viceroy Count of Lemos according to the designs of Domenico Fontana; it has a sumptuous interior, and contained valuable artistic collections, one of which, consisting of 40,000 engravings, is now at the Museo Nazionale. There is another royal palace at Capodimonte, built by Charles III, where there is a collection of arms and of modern paintings; the Palace of the Prefecture is modern; S. Giacomo Palace, formerly the residence of the minister of State, now contains the municipal and other offices. The Capuan Castle, built by William I in 1131, and thereafter the residence of the Durazzos, of the sovereigns of the house of Aragon, and of the viceroys, is now the court-house; the Castle of the Egg, also built by William I (1154), is at present a barrack and a fort, as are also Castel del Carmine and Castelnuovo, built by Charles I, and having a triumphal arch of Alfonso of Aragon. Castel San Erasmo is a fort, situated upon a height commanding the city and the harbour. The museum of ancient art at Naples is one of the best of its kind in the world; its chief sculptures, the Hercules, the Farnese Bull, and others, are from the collections of the Farnese family, and it possesses many interesting objects found in the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, frescos and mosaics, among others; it contains also rich collections of cameos, coins, and inscriptions (Neapolitan laws), besides a gallery of pictures. At S. Martino, a former convent of the Cistercians, there is a collection of paintings by Neapolitan artists, which belonged, for the most part, to that monastery. The Filanzieri Museum and the Gallery of the Fondi palace should also be noted. The aquarium for the study of submarine animal life was established by the co-operation of several countries, among them, the United States. There is at Naples a university founded in 1224, furnished with various scientific collections and with a library of more than 250,000 volumes; the town has a seminary, a theological institute, a nautical institute, and many intermediate schools. The National Library has nearly 390,000 volumes, and the Brancacciana Library more than 115,000 volumes. The State Archives are very important. Nearly all of the great families of the ancient Kingdom of Naples built sumptuous palaces, the private monumental architecture of Naples antedating that of Florence. Naples has more than 60 charitable institutions, some of which date from the thirteenth century, as, for example, the boarding-school of St. Eligius (1273), accommodating 300 young girls; the Casa Santa dell' Annunziata (1304); the boarding-school del Carmelo (1611), for 300 girls; and St. Januarius of the Poor (1669). Few ancient monuments are to be found at Naples; there is the piercing of the Posilipo ridge (crypta neapolitana ), 815 yards in length, done by one Cocceius, probably under Tiberius, and there are the ruins of villas of the ancient city, of a theatre and some temples; there is also the tomb of Vergil on the Pozzuoli road.