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Naples bows towards the sea and the beauty of the city is illuminated by an abundance of sunshine: distracted and accustomed to such splendour, the city takes no notice of those who stop to admire the small streets, neighbourhoods, monuments and castles, the Capodimonte Palace, the Royal Palace, Sant’Elmo Castle, Castel dell’Ovo (the egg castle) date back to an era of sovereigns and ancient dynasties, the Santa Chiara Monestary, the Duomo, the churches of Gesù Nuovo and San Domenico Maggiore bear witness to a deeply rooted sense of religion which, still today, invokes the miracle of Saint Gennaro, patron saint of the city. There are also long-established museums, including the National Archaeological Museum, the San Martino Monastery, the Museum of the Duke of Martino and Villa Pignatelli. There are no temporal limitations to the universe of beauty, and Naples offers innovative venues dedicated to contemporary art including the recently established MADRE –(the Donnaregina Museum of Contemporary Art), PAN (The Naples Palace of Arts), and the City of Science, the first science museum in Italy, based upon an interactive experience which embraces science, technology, art and culture.
In the city’s many streets and squares, the grace and splendour of the present and the past and the old and the new, join together in a perfect, unique synthesis which is so fascinating and impudent that UNESCO has placed the historic centre of Naples on the World Heritage List. Within the complex maze of the small streets and alleyways which intertwine between the sea and the southern side of the ancient Greco-Roman walls, is one of the city’s most intriguing areas, the Borgo degli Orefici – (the area of the goldsmiths). Already before the Angevin period, these ancient workshops excelled in the artistic crafting of gold. Craftsmenship is an ancient tradition in Naples: as exemplified by the Borgo di Rua Catalana, an area which, over the past years, has been the subject of an intense enhancement programme of the workshops which craft non-valuable materials. Since 1997, under the direction of Riccardo Dalisi, artist, architect and designer, this area has been enhanced by illuminated installations and sculptures created by local craftsmen. Obviously, one cannot overlook the street of San Gregorio Armeno, where master craftsmen, express their fantasies by re-inventing new characters and scenarios of the traditional nativity scene.