Napoli is the largest city in southern Italy and capital of Campania Region and the Province of Naples. The city has a population of about 1 million. By one count the metropolitan area of Napoli is the second largest in Italy after that of Milan, with over 4,200,000 inhabitants. As with most major cities, various other urban and metropolitan area population figures are also available. The inhabitants are known as Neapolitans, napulitane in Neapolitan, napoletani or poetically partenopei in Italian. It is located just halfway between the Vesuvius volcano and a separate volcanic area, the Campi Flegrei, all part of the Campanian volcanic arc.
Napoli is rich in historical, artistic and cultural traditions and gastronomy. Neapolitan ('o napulitano) is the colourful, rich Romance language th
at became a trademark of southern Italy ever since the reign of the Kingdom of Naples and the Two Sicilies.
Napoli was founded between the 7th and 6th centuries BC by the Greeks and was given the name Neapolis. During the period of Roman domination, the town preserved the Greek language and original habits. After the Roman period the city was dominated by many different groups of people (Byzantines, Longobards, Normans, Swabians, Angevins, Aragoneses, Spanish, Bourbons and Frenchs). Nowadays one can see the traces of all those dominations in the monuments, in the culture and in the habits of the town.
Napoli was also the capital of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and after the Congress of Vienna became the capital of the (newly named, but geographically unchanged) Kingdom of Napoli. Thus, Napoli was the only city (besides Jerusalem) taking the same name as the Kingdom of which it was the capital. After a long period of decline following the forging of the Italian State over 100 years ago, the city is making great strides in recovering its eminence as a center for culture.
Napoli is by tradition the home of pizza. It is the birthplace of the Pizza Margherita, which traditionally is made with mozzarella cheese, pomodoro (tomato) and basil - each representing the red, white, and green of the Italian flag. The pizza was named after it was served to Queen Margherita when she visited the city. La vera pizza ("true pizza") should be made in a wood-burning oven similar to a Tandoori oven, and there is a certification body that issues recognition to pizza places around the world that have been deemed to make true Neapolitan pizza.
Napoli is also famous for its pasta dishes, where spaghetti is often served with sugo di pomodoro, a tomato sauce which gets its full flavour from sun-ripe Campanian San Marzano tomatoes. Another excellent Campanian dish found in Naples is melanzane alla parmigiana, which is fried slices of aubergine (eggplant) gratineed with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. Often one can get another version of melanzane alla parmigiana with an addition of mozzarella cheese.
Napoli offers several kinds of unique pastry, the most famous of which is perhaps the babi , followed by choux (Neapolitans write it as sciu) and the Pastiera, a cake prepared for Easter. The baba (also known as savarin) is a mushroom-shaped piece of leavend sweet paste, soaked with an orange flavoured mixture of ron|ruhm and water. Choux is a small "bubble" of leavened paste stuffed with light cream, usually coffee or chocolate flavored. The Pastiera is a cake with a complicated recipe, varying by the county in which it is prepared. The ingredients are typically annealed grain, eggs, and sometimes cream. It is always combined with boiled rice. Another typical Neapolitan pastry is the Sfogliatella (riccia or frolla).
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