N OF PARTICIPANT
Welcome to Naples, a city sparks the collective and literary imagination with its evocative imagery, its symbolic and fantastic representations of sounds and colours. A city with an intense and immediate beauty full of hidden treasures, underground, in the maze of alleys of the historical centre, in the centuries old layers of history and culture whose traces originated the great Neapolitan culture.
Naples evokes emotions. Suggestive and spectacular elements have always been part of its history and culture. Theatres, culture centres, libraries, restaurants, pubs and cave animate the night life. The classical Neapolitan song coexists with innovative tendencies like jazz, songwriters and popular music, which are represented in official spaces, monumental places and squares. In addition, with its millenarian stratified history, is a melting pot for the sacred and the profane, folklore and traditions. Saint Gennaro's miracle day (19th Septemeber) is the most important among the city's countless sacred celebrations.
Impossible not to mention the Neapolitan culinary art with its delicious recipes for pasta, pizza, fish dishes, and rich desserts: a triumph of tastes, smells and colours.
Visiting Naples means plunging into its cultural and artistic identity, written in its many museums, castles, churches, squares and narrow streets. A tour in Naples must start from the majestic fortifications, Castel dell'Ovo and Maschio Angioino. The baroque style characterizes the Decumani, the ancient perimeter of the town, with symbolic monuments like the monumental complex of San Lorenzo Maggiore. There is not only ancient art: the subway, for example, hosts more than 180 works by famous contemporary artists, and the recently opened centres of contemporary art, the museums Madre and Pan, inside wonderful historical buildings, demonstrate the city's unceasing cultural vitality.
Naples offers various opportunity for swimming, at the sea-front boulevard and the little beach at Via Caracciolo and Mergellina, near the tuff cliffs and on the bathing platforms of Posillipo and Marechiaro, or at the beaches of Gaiola and Coroglio. In the park "Villa Comunale" you can visit the Aquarium built in the 19th century: it only takes in Mediterranean marine species and dedicates lots of effort to the protection of sea turtles by rescuing turtles from difficulty, giving them shelter and then releasing them back into the sea. The Protected Sea Area "Parco Sommerso della Gaiola" offers bird watching, sea watching, snorkelling and scuba diving to admire sunken roman ruins.
Naples not only offers history, culture and art, but also wellness. It is the only European city, except Budapest, that has a thermal center inside the urban territory: the Agnano thermae. Thermal baths in Naples have ancient roots dating back to Greek-Roman time, thanks to the naturai hot springs on the Neapolitan territory. There are many parks in the town, the "green lungs" of the city where it's possible to enjoy healthy walks: the parks ofAstroni, Capodimonte, Camaldoli, Parco del Poggio and the big Botanical Garden which contains several rare species of plants. There are also the historic "villa" parks, green oasis full of artistic and historical beauties. Lastly, you can admire breathtaking landscapes while going up to the Posillipo bill. On its top you can find the Virgiliano Park, a fascinating terrace garden at the extreme peak of the Gulf of Naples.