and visit the ruins of pompeii. centuries before christ, naples was a thriving greek commercial center called "neapolis," or "the new city." over the ages, it became an important center ruled by a series of foreign overlords. in the 18th century, naples finally became the capital of its own independent kingdom. then, with the unification of italy in 1861, naples fell from being an important political capital to just another provincial town. neapolitans lament that after their city joined the newly united italy, its riches were swallowed up by the new country. as the city's wealth was used to fund the industrial expansion of the north, naples eventually lost its status and glamour. today, italy's third largest city feels in many places like an urban jungle. its lack of open spaces or parks makes it europe's most densely populated city. watching the police try to enforce traffic sanity is almost comical in this gritty city.
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