More than 2,800-years-old, Napoli (or Naples) has a deep and rich history, its roots lying in a Greek settlement founded during the 8th century B.C.E. Control of the city changed hands numerous times throughout its existence and for a period bounced back and forth between the Goths and Romans. In one famous account, the Byzantine Romans retook the city by entering on its aqueduct and bypassing the heavily guarded gates.
In the Middle Ages, the Normans took control and stayed in power for 300 years while their leaders and nobles feuded over who the rightful ruler was. Following their reign, control of the prosperous merchant city shifted between a host of city states and countries including France and Spain.
French rule began in 1501 under Louis XII. French control, however, only lasted until 1505, when Ferdinand seized power in the name of Spain. During this time, Naples became one Europe's biggest cities, second only to Paris, as well as a cultural powerhouse of the Renaissance boasting artists like Laurana, de Messina and Poliziano.