Discover the Magnificent Fortresses of Naples
Naples, a city steeped in history, boasts a unique distinction – it is the only city in the world with seven splendid castles. These fortifications, constructed across different epochs, were strategically positioned to safeguard the city from both sea and land-based threats. While some castles stand proudly today, others bear witness to the passage of time in various states of decay.
Castel Sant’Elmo: A Fortress Through the Ages
Built from 1336 to 1343 at the command of Roberto d’Angiò, known as the Wise, Castel Sant’Elmo has weathered numerous sieges and played pivotal roles in historical uprisings. Originally a prison until the 1970s, the castle was beautifully restored and transformed into a museum in 1988. Explore its expansive grounds to witness splendid towers, bastions, and a Civic Museum, offering a captivating glimpse into Naples’ military architecture.
Castel Dell’Ovo: Legends and Panoramic Views
Situated on the ancient Isolotto of Megaride, Castel dell’Ovo is one of Naples’ oldest castles, boasting a Norman origin. Legend has it that the castle’s name is tied to the egg of the mermaid Parthenope, hidden by Virgil for the city’s protection. Enjoy a leisurely stroll to reach this fortress and be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Gulf of Naples from its terraces.
Castel Capuano: A Legal Citadel
Following Castel dell’Ovo, Castel Capuano is Naples’ second oldest castle. Serving as the seat of the civil and criminal sections of the court, this Norman castle’s interior is adorned with magnificent frescoes, including the Hall of the Court of Appeal and the Hall of Busts. The Library houses a treasure trove of around 80,000 volumes from the 16th to 18th centuries, collectively known as the Ancient Fund.
Maschio Angioino: Guardian of Naples’ Heritage
Strategically positioned in the Port area, Maschio Angioino’s five large cylindrical towers have defended the city for centuries. Today, this imposing fortress hosts cultural events and showcases the Civic Museum and the library of the Neapolitan Society of Homeland History. With its rich history and seafront location, Maschio Angioino encapsulates the spirit of Naples.
Carmine Castle: A Military Relic
Constructed in 1382 under Charles III of Durazzo’s command, Carmine Castle held exclusively military functions. Partially destroyed in 1906 for traffic reasons, only the Spinella Tower and a section of the Aragonese walls remain visible today in the Mercato district.
Nisida Castle: Witness to Epidemics and Incarceration
Located on the small island of Nisida in the Phlegrean archipelago, Nisida Castle served as a hospital during the plague epidemic of 1626 and later became a prison. Today, it houses a juvenile penitentiary, preserving the castle’s multifaceted history.Vigliena Fortress: A Forgotten Gem
Built in 1702 by the Marquis of Villena, Vigliena Fortress, the southernmost fortress of Naples, was primarily used for cadet training. Despite its designation as a national monument in 1891, the fortress now stands abandoned and degraded, holding the potential for resurrection as an archaeological park.
Naples tour immerses you in the timeless charm of seven remarkable castles, each echoing the city’s storied past. From the historic halls of Castel Capuano to the panoramic vistas of Castel dell’Ovo, the tour unveils Naples’ diverse architectural treasures. Embark on this captivating exploration for a glimpse into the heart of Naples’ captivating history.