Campania is a region in southern Italy. The region has a population of around 5.8 million people, making it the second-most-populous region of Italy; its total area of 13,590 km2 (5,247 sq mi) makes it the most densely populated region in the country. Located on the Italian Peninsula, with the Mediterranean Sea to the west, it includes the small Phlegraean Islands and Capri for administration as part of the region.
Located on the Italian Peninsula, Campania was colonised by Ancient Greeks and was part of Magna Græcia. During the Roman era, the area maintained a Greco-Roman culture. The capital city of Campania is Naples. Campania is rich in culture, especially in regard togastronomy, music, architecture, archeological and ancient sites such as Pompeii, Herculaneum, Paestum and Velia. The name of Campania itself is derived from Latin, as the Romans knew the region as Campania felix, which translates into English as "fertilecountryside". The rich natural sights of Campania make it highly important in the tourism industry, especially along the Amalfi Coast, Mount Vesuvius and the island of Capri.
The original inhabitants of Campania were three defined groups of the Ancient peoples of Italy, who all spoke the Oscan language, which is part of the Italic family; their names were the Osci, the Aurunci and the Ausones. During the 8th century,BC, people from Euboea in Greece, known asCumaeans, began to establish colonies in the area roughly around the modern day province of Naples. Another Oscan tribe, the Samnites, moved down from central Italy into Campania. Since the Samnites were more warlike than the Campanians, they easily took over the cities ofCapua and Cumae, in an area which was one of the most prosperous and fertile in the Italian Peninsula at the time. During the 340s BC, the Samnites were engaged in a war with the Roman Republic in a dispute known as the Samnite Wars, with the Romans securing rich pastures of northern Campania during the First Samnite War.
The major remaining independent Greek settlement was Neapolis, and when the town was eventually captured by the Samnites, the Neapolitans were left with no other option than to call on the Romans, with whom they established an alliance, setting off the Second Samnite War. TheRoman consul Quintus Publilius Filo recaptured Neapolis by 326 BC and allowed it to remain a Greek city with some autonomy as a civitasfoederata while strongly aligned with Rome. The Second Samnite War ended with the Romans controlling southern Campania and additional regions further to the south.
Campania was a full-fledged part of the Roman Republic by the end of the 4th century BC, valued for its pastures and rich countryside. Its Greek language and customs made it a centre of Hellenistic civilization, creating the first traces of Greco-Roman culture. During the Pyrrhic War the battle took place in Campania at Maleventum in which the Romans, led by consulCurius Dentatus, were victorious. They renamed the city Beneventum (modern day Benevento), which grew in stature until it was second only to Capua in southern Italy. During theSecond Punic War in 216 BC, Capua, in a bid for equality with Rome, allied with Carthage. The rebellious Capuans were isolated from the rest of Campania, which remained allies of Rome. Naples resisted Hannibal due to the imposing walls. Capua was eventually starved into submission in the Roman retaking of 211 BC, and the Romans were victorious.
The rest of Campania, with the exception of Naples, adopted the Latin language as official and was Romanised. As part of the Roman Empire, Campania, with Latium, formed the most important region of the Augustan divisions of Italia; Campania was one of the main areas for granary. Roman Emperors chose Campania as a holiday destination, among them Claudius and Tiberius, the latter of whom is infamously linked to the island of Capri. It was also during this period that Christianity came to Campania. Two of the apostles, St. Peter and St. Paul, are said to have preached in the city of Naples, and there were also several martyrs during this time. Unfortunately, the period of relative calm was violently interrupted by the epic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 which buried the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. With the Decline of the Roman Empire, its last emperor, Romulus Augustus, was put in a manor house prison near Castel dell'Ovo, Naples, in 476, ushering in the beginning of theDark Ages and a period of uncertainty in regard to the future of the area.
After a period as a Norman kingdom, the Kingdom of Sicily passed to the Hohenstaufens, who were a powerful Germanic royal house of Swabianorigins. The University of Naples Federico II was founded by Frederick II in the city, the oldest state university in the world, making Naples the intellectual centre of the kingdom. Conflict between the Hohenstaufen house and the Papacy, led in 1266 to Pope Innocent IV crowning Angevin Dynasty duke Charles I as the king. Charles officially moved the capital from Palermo to Naples where he resided at the Castel Nuovo. During this period, much Gothic architecture sprang up around Naples, including the Naples Cathedral, the main church of the city.
In 1281, with the advent of the Sicilian Vespers, the kingdom split in half. The Angevin Kingdom of Naples included the southern part of the Italian peninsula, while the island of Sicily became the Aragonese Kingdom of Sicily. The wars continued until the peace of Caltabellotta in 1302, which saw Frederick III recognised as king of the Isle of Sicily, while Charles II was recognised as the king of Naples by Pope Boniface VIII. Despite the split, Naples grew in importance, attracting Pisan and Genoese merchants, Tuscan bankers, and with them some of the most championedRenaissance artists of the time, such as Boccaccio, Petrarch and Giotto. Alfonso I conquered Naples after his victory against the last Angevinking, René, and Naples was unified for a brief period with Sicily again.
Campania has an area of 13,590 km2 (5,247 sq mi) and a coastline of 350 km (217 mi) on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Campania is famous for its gulfs (Naples, Salerno and Policastro) as well as for three islands (Capri, Ischia and Procida).
Four other regions border Campania; Lazio to the northwest, Molise to the north, Apulia (Puglia) to the northeast and Basilicata to the east.
The mountainous interior is fragmented into several massifs, rarely reaching 2,000 metres (Miletto of 2,050 m), whereas close to the coast there are volcanic massifs: Vesuvio (1,277 m) and Campi Flegrei.
The climate is typically Mediterranean along the coast, whereas in the inner zones it is more continental, with low temperatures in winter. 51% of the total area is hilly, 34% mountainous and the remaining 15% is made up of plains. There is a high 'seismic' risk in the area of the region.
The agro-food industry is one of the main pillars of industry of Campania. The organisation of the sector is improving and leading to higher levels of quality and salaries. Campania mainly produces fruit and vegetables, but has also expanded its production of flowers grown in greenhouses, becoming one of the leading regions of the sector in Italy. The value added of this sector represents around 6.5% of the total value added of the region, equalling €213.7 million. Campania produces over 50% of Italy's nuts and is also the leader in the production of tomatoes, which reaches 1.5 million tonnes a year. A weak point, however, for the region's agriculture is the very reduced size of farms, equal to 3.53 hectares. Animal breeding is widespread (it was done in 70,278 farms in 2000) and the milk produced is used to process typical products, such as mozzarella. Olive trees cover over 74,604 hectares of the agricultural land and contribute by €620.6 million to the value added of agriculture, together with the production of fruit. Wine production has increased, together with the quality of the wine.
The region has a dense network of road and motorways, a system of maritime connections and an airport (Naples Airport), which connect it rapidly to the rest of the Country. Campania has a series of historical problems and internal contrasts, although they are improving. The regional capital, Naples, one of the most populated and interesting cities in Italy, rich in history and natural beauty, both artistic and archaeological, still represents the centre of regional life. The port connects the region with the whole Mediterranean basin, and brings tourists to thearchaeological sites, the cities of art (Naples and Caserta), to the beautiful coastal areas and to the islands. The services sector makes up for 78% of the region's gross domestic product.