Life in underground Naples

It’s easy to imagine underground Naples being dense with mystery – as a catacomb of hidden legends, a maze of superstitions, a hypogeum of ancient traditions and myths. But it also is a great book of memories.

For the longest time, a silent life carried on in the depths of Campania’s capital city, parallel to the events that happened above surface – a life that some say may have started even five or six millennia BC, probably stemming from the cultural tradition of burying the dead and venerating them.

In the 3rd century BC, Greek settlers started delving underground to extract the tufa they needed to build their aboveground metropolis, ‘Neapolis’ (meaning “new city”). Later, the Romans descended into these urban crypts to build the aqueducts that would provide water to their cistern, ‘Piscina mirabilis’ – a testimony to their advanced engineering skills.

Underground life never dwindled in Naples. Some even sought refuge below the surface: to no avail during the 1656 plague – as the terrible disease soon spread in every hiding place – and fortunately with more success during the Second World War, when the underground chambers served as anti-raid shelters.

Most of this invisible world – which some estimate extends over two million square meters – remains unexplored.

But the small part that is accessible is definitely worth a visit.


Photos via:

Life in underground Naples

+39 081 29 69 44 +39 340 46 06 045 +39 333 31 80 477


Most Read

The Great War Museum: history at high altitude

Author: Barbara PalladinoTranslation by Michelle NebioloOn the top of the Marmolada, at 3,000 meters of altitude, you’ll find the Marmolada Great War...

Palazzo Giordano Apostoli: neo-gothic inspiration

Palazzo Giordano Apostoli is located in Sassari’s central Piazza d’Italia. It was built by will of Giuseppe Giordano Apostoli in 1877, in...

Move To The Top takes you to the roof of the Dolomites

Author: Barbara PalladinoTranslation by Michelle Nebiolo On 4 July 2020, the cableway to Malga Ciapèla will re-open. Its short,...

Tenute La Montina, the realm of Franciacorta

Author: Barbara PalladinoTranslation by Michelle NebioloTenute La Montina is located in Monticelli Brusati (BS), in the north-east of Franciacorta, next to an ample...