Prim colonial-era buildings crowd the narrow streets of Newport’s Historic Hill district, occasionally giving way to a sunny square of grass surrounded by grander public edifices. Their origins trace back to 1639, when English settlers arrived, seeking a place to exercise their religion and their businesses freely. They set up a proudly secular democracy, and other groups, notably Jews and Quakers, were drawn here to join the community. Remnants of these cultures linger at the lovely 1763 Touro Synagogue, the 1726 Trinity Church, and the fastidious, clapboard Quaker houses still standing in Easton’s Point. Wander the streets and squares to take in the extraordinary architectural beauty and gain insight into Newport’s past.