When the ancient town known as Neas to the Greeks, Netum to the Romans and which flourished as regional capital under the Arabs and Normans, was destroyed by the 1693 earthquake, the Spanish rulers of the time had to move the whole town some eight kilometres south. The resulting new town, with long straight avenues stretching down Mount Alveria, has one of the finest collections of Baroque churches and civic buildings in the world and is now an easily navigable World Heritage Site.

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