At the beginning it was Partenope, the legendary siren who lured sailors transiting through the gulf with her seductive song. 2500 years from then Naples is still a city that attracts for its extraordinary seductive abilities, the charm of its landscapes and the alchemy of the various cultures that make up its history. This stratification started with the Greek foundation in the 7th century BC, then embracing the greatest civilizations of every historical age which have marked its every facet; Naples is Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Norman, Swabian, French, Austrian, Spanish, but it is especially Mediterranean, the land of the myth that has inspired all kinds of poets and artists. Its urban fabric is an open book, a compendium of history and art that weaved into the scenery of gothic and Romanic churches, of roman roads, castles, Greek walls looking out onto baroque age buildings, where recent and far past mix in a continuous osmosis that can be felt clearly in the overlapping of archaeological spaces and in the impossible architectures underground. This is the reason why a large part of the city has been declared "World Heritage" by UNESCO.
If you're going to Naples there are many possible itineraries, to the extent that trying to draw map of them is quite difficult. Perhaps the best way to get into the city's atmosphere is the one described by Goethe, roaming around the roads and letting the city itself guide you through the labyrinth of alleys in the historical centre, a true and proper open air museum. For art lovers an absolute must will be a visit to the city's museums, the Archeologico Nazionale, the most important in Europe, and the Museo and Gallerie Nazionali di Capodimonte, with works from the 1200's to the 1700's and the Farnese collection. If you prefer medieval atmospheres merely pop into the churches in the historical centre, Santa Chiara, San Domenico Maggiore and San Lorenzo, just to mention a few. At night, like all Mediterranean cities, Naples lives on the street; Piazza del Gesù Nuovo is the meeting point for university students, with bars and venues of all kinds. Young upper class Neapolitans, on the other hand, prefer Piazza Amedeo and the bars on the Riviera di Chiaia.
There are many artistic and cultural events. The city theatres offer a calendar full of events: from the tradition of Teatro San Carlo to the experimenting of the Teatro Nuovo and Galleria Toledo. Fixed appointments for cinema lovers are the NapoliFilmFestival.