Naples is a city in Collier County, Florida, United States. As of 2015, the city’s population was about 20,600. Naples is a principal city of the Naples-Marco Island, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a population of about 322,000 as of 2015. Naples is one of the wealthiest cities in the United States, with the sixth-highest per capita income in the country in 2012, and the second-highest proportion of millionaires per capita in the US.
The city of Naples was founded during the late 1880s by former Confederate general and Kentucky U.S. Senator John Stuart Williams and his partner, Louisville businessman Walter N. Haldeman, the publisher of the Louisville Courier-Journal. Throughout the 1870s and ’80s, magazine and newspaper stories telling of the area’s mild climate and abundant fish and game likened it to the sunny Italian peninsula. Back then, Naples could only be accessed by boat, it was a remote retreat during the winter for rich people from the north until 1927 when the train came to town. The name Naples caught on when promoters described the bay as “surpassing the bay in Naples, Italy”. Major development was anticipated after the railroad reaching Naples on January 7, 1927, and the Tamiami Trail linking Naples to Miami was completed in 1928, but did not begin until after the Great Depression and World War II. During the war the U.S. Army Air Forces built a small airfield and used it for training purposes; it is now the Naples Municipal Airport.
Performing arts and culture
Naples is home to The Naples Players, Naples Shakespeare Festival (and sister company Marco Island Shakespeare Festival), Opera Naples, and the Equity Theatre Companies Theatre Zone and Gulfshore Playhouse. The Naples Philharmonic and the Baker Museum are located at Artis—Naples, which also serves as the educational campus for the Naples Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and Philharmonic Youth Chorus. If you are interested in more of Naples history, you can visit the famous Collier County Museum. Here you will find a collection of items from the Prehistoric times to today.The Holocaust Museum and Education Center of Southwest Florida educates about 155,000 students each year both in its facility and with a locally traveling exhibit.
Beaches, parks, and recreation areas
The beach on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico is more than 10 miles (16 km) long and is known for its cleanliness and pristine white sand. In 2005, Naples was voted the best beach in America by the Travel Channel.
Naples area beaches include:
- Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park
- Clam Pass Beach Park
- Naples Municipal Beach & Fishing Pier (Naples Pier)
- Vanderbilt Beach
- North Gulfshore Boulevard Beach
- Seagate Beach
- Lowdermilk Beach Park
- Tigertail Beach
The Naples Fishing Pier is one of the area’s better-known landmarks.
With more than 80 championship golf courses in the Naples area, Naples is the self-titled “Golf Capital of the World”, claiming to have more holes per capita than any other community.
In December 2009, Florida Governor Charlie Crist met with Chicago Cubs president Crane Kenney, chairman Tom Ricketts and other team officials about possibly moving the Cubs’ spring training and minor league facilities from Mesa, Arizona, to Naples.
Tourism is a major industry for the city. The Naples area is home to several major land preserves, including the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, and Picayune Strand State Forest. The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is known not only for its 11,000 acres (45 km2) of landscape and wildlife, but for a two-and-a-half-mile-long boardwalk winding through the sanctuary. The Naples area is also home to the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens, which dates back to 1919. Close to the historic restored Naples Pier you’ll find Palm Cottage, which is the oldest house in Naples. It was built in 1895 and you can take a guided tour during the winter.
The city is served by the Naples Municipal Airport.
Naples present day life’s focus are Naples two historical business districts – Third Street and Fifth Avenue South. You can find great shops and restaurants in both of these places. There’s something for everyone to enjoy in Naples, Florida.
Downtown Naples is home to The Naples Players, the 5th Avenue South, and 3rd Street South shopping districts, which feature a variety of antique shops. Gallery Row is a concentration among the numerous art galleries spread throughout the downtown area. The Village on Venetian Bay is an upscale open-air shopping district on the Gulf coast. Located directly off of Tamiami Trail are the Waterside Shops, an upscale open-air center. Near downtown on Naples Bay and the Gordon River is the shopping district of Tin City. This open-air shopping center specializes in antiques and handmade local novelties. Also, near downtown is Big Cypress Market Place with over 100 diverse vendors. Naples hosts . Naples is also the home of swamp buggy races, held three times each year at the Florida Sports Park.
The Naples Half Marathon is a half marathon held every year in Naples since 1989, with record participation in 2013 of 2,038 runners. The race has been called one of the best half-marathons in the United States by Runner’s World magazine.