Exuberant Naples: city revered for culture and history
Naples, the exuberant city revered for its culture and history has always been a city of art.
It has been coveted by artists and patrons alike since Greek settlers laid the first tufo stones 3,000 years ago. With the rise and fall of each empire, kingdom and duchy that made the city of Naples its capital, has come the blossoming and subsiding of its importance – but it only takes a leisurely stroll through the backstreets of the historic centre to see its bygone opulence fossilised into sedimentary layers of cultural history. Look out for slices of Greco-Roman columns set within the facade of a gothic church; a five-a-side football pitch wedged within a frescoed cloister or a stone shrine embossed with a Madonna figure alongside a bronze bust of a Camorra soldier framed in neon.
San Carlo Opera House
When King Charles III of Spain rode into Naples in his carriage as the city’s new ruler in 1734, he threw wads of cash into the crowd to help quell any chance of an uprising. He soon became the bourgeoisie’s most popular foreign king, for funding initial excavations of nearby Pompeii, which attracted artists to the city, and famously commissioning the building of the opera house, which became a favourite among composers such as Bach and Mozart. It is the oldest continuously active opera house in the world, still greatly admired by musicians and the public alike for its architecture and performances. The opera season runs from late January to May and cheap early bird tickets can be found online.