Naples Underground Tour

The Underground city, “Napoli Sotterranea”:

Before the Italians inhabited here, the Greeks forced slaves to use wooden wedges and hammers to dig out the tunnels. Wells are how the slaves would get down into the tunnels to dig out the rest. During WWII, most of the wells were cemented up due to the bombings, but being very religious, the Italians would leave a few uncovered because they believed God would protect them.

The theatre:

After finishing the underground tour, we moved onto the second part. It’s a bit confusing at first, but very interesting… We walked out onto the streets of Naples (with our tour guide) and were led to an apartment. We were all a little bewildered as to why we would be taken here. So, not too long ago an older women lived in this apartment, which had a cellar below her bed. One day extra rooms were discovered in the cellar, and it came to be known that she was living in the ancient greco-roman theatre! The theatre held up to 6,000 spectators, which was all located below typical Neapolitan homes. Could you imagine? It was the neatest thing to see the old apartments located in the theatre. Every generation and group of inhabitants builds and builds on top of everything else making it difficult to recall what was previously there. Today, a few apartments still occupy the space.

The tour ended up being roughly 90 minutes. It was quite adventurous and involved a lot of walking and wiggling through. There were extremely small tunnels at some points, which forced Patrick to take off his backpack and turn his body sideways in order to fit. Oh, and he had to duck down to keep from hitting his head! On the smaller tunnels there were no lights, so I carried a candle while Patrick held the backpack. It was a very fun and educational tour. It included a vast amount of history and I thought the tour guide did a great job at relaying it all to us. The pictures obviously don’t do it any justice since it’s difficult to grasp just how far underground you walk, but it was incredible to see and even more incredible to imagine the slaves chiseling away at the walls in the dark.

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IMG_1588.JPGOld abandoned toys from the WWII time period. Children would play here when families were evacuated during the bombings.

IMG_1589.JPGThis shows one of the wells that Greek slaves would climb down. The missiles are real, but have been demilitarized.

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IMG_1593.JPGHere is a wine cellar that Italians made during WWII. The humidity is so perfect that they even had self-sustaining plants down here. They never needed water, only heat lamps. In this case, it’s also the perfect temperature for wine!

IMG_1592.JPGPictured above is the view looking up from the lowest point we were able to walk below the streets of Naples. The furthest point we went down was 4o meters.

IMG_1594.JPGThe scene pictured above is actually a very popular Christmas decoration that was in the apartment located in the theatre. This is how Italians decorate their homes for the holidays! Each one seems to be a different scene with various people.

IMG_1596.jpgA church located across the street from the tour. Too beautiful to not snap a picture.

Underground tours are given in English or Italian by Napoli Sotterranea. For more information, http://www.napolisotterranea.org.


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