Castel dell'Ovo, Naples
Naples is rich in art, culture, historic buildings the beautiful location an absolute must is the thirteenth century Castel Nuovo. This castle is located in the old city of Naples, Santa Lucia. Naples magnificent main symbol of the city since it began in 1279 with the construction have been various modifications and alterations occurred
Several kings and other greats as Charles II, King Robert and King Ladislaus have inhabited this castle as a residence, today the castle is a museum with lots of old art, sacred objects and frescoes.
The Spanish-Gothic vault, in the shape of a star, is very impressive, the west wing of the building houses the Museo Civico where the paintings, sculptures and works of art can be admire in Castel Nuovo
Castel dell'Ovo (Egg Castle) is a seaside castle located on the former island of Megaride, now a peninsula, on the gulf of Naples. The castle's name comes from a legend about the Roman poet Virgil, who had a reputation in medieval times as a great sorcerer. In the legend, Virgil put a magical egg into the foundations to support the fortifications.
The Castel dell'Ovo is the oldest standing fortification in Naples.
Built on Megaris, a small island off the shore of Naples, Castel dell'Ovo is thought to be the site of the first Ancient Greek settlement of Parthenope. It is thus the oldest part of Naples, inhabited perhaps as early as the 8th century BC, before Parthenope spread northwards, and before Neapolis, the "new city", was founded. During Roman times, the private villa of Lucius Licinius Lucullus occupied the island, but by the 5th century AD a monastery had replaced the villa. In the 9th century, the island was turned into a fortified castle, Napoli's oldest, which successive rulers continued to alter and reinforce until we were left with what we see today. Somewhere along its history, it became known as the "Egg Castle" (ovo = egg) in reference to a mediaeval legend that Virgil had placed a magical egg in the foundation of the castle. Castel dell'Ovo is nowadays open to visitors as a cultural centre and a museum showing the successive constructions of the castle and the excavations of the Roman villa and the Christian monastery.... but no magical egg was found underneath.
The castle of the egg is a small castle advancing into the bay of Naples, built by the Normans, the first kings of Naples and Sicily. Subsequently it was used by all dynasties that owned Naples at one time.
It houses some exhibitions and a small museum, but the main reason to come there is to enjoy the great views over Vesuvius and Naples.
The legend says that the egg was buried by Virgil, the roman poet, who warned that when the egg breaks, the castle will fall. But in roman times, the site was rather occupied by the villa of Lucullus, a roman general.
Castel dell'Ovo (Italian: "Egg Castle") is a castle in the Italian city of Naples. The edifice is located on a small island, the Megarides, where colonists from Cumae founded the original nucleus of the city in the 6th century BCE. In the 1st century CE the Roman patrician Lucius Licinius Lucullus built a magnificent villa on the site. Fortified by Valentinian III in the early 5th century, it was the place where the last western Roman emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was exiled in by Odoacer in 476. Eugippius founded a monastery on the site after 492.
The castle is connected by a small causeway that is a popular place for newlyweds to have their wedding photos taken. The causeway is over 100 metres long. The castle is rectangular in shape (approximately 200 by 45 metres at its widest) and has a high angular bastion that overlooks the causeway. Inside the walls are several buildings that are often used for exhibitions and other special events. Behind the castle is a long promontory which was probably used as a docking area. A large round tower sits outside the castle walls to the southeast.
The castle's name stems from a medieval legend which holds that the poet Virgil, who developed a medieval reputation as a great sorceror, had a magical egg put in the foundations to support them.
The edifice is located on a small island, the Megarides, where colonists from Cumae founded the original nucleus of the city in the 6th century BCE. In the 1st century CE the Roman patrician Lucius Licinius Lucullus built a magnificent villa on the site. Fortified by Valentinian III in the early 5th century, it was the place where the last western Roman emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was exiled in by Odoacer in 476. Eugippius founded a monastery on the site after 492.
The remains of the Roman-era structures and later fortifications were demolished by local residents in the 9th century to prevent their use by Saracen raiders. The first castle on the site was built by the Normans in the 12th century. The importance of the Castel dell'Ovo began to decline when king Charles I of Anjou built a new castle, Castel Nuovo, and moved his court there. Castel dell'Ovo became the seat of the Royal Chamber and of the State Treasury. The current appearance dates from the Aragonese domination (15th century).
Castel D'ovo is situated right in the south of the city; it faces the open sea. If you want to explore the grounds and go to it's top to get great views of the city and the sea, and Mount Vesuvius - it's free!
The attached pictures are of the internal castel paths. To see views out of the castle's roof area, go to my next tips:
Views from Castel D'ovo Parts 1 - 3!
Castel D'ovo is not only a tourist spot to explore the castle's grounds but the locals also enjoy their sea activities here too!.. If you're there on visit, you can see people tanning on the boulders and swimming in the shallow waters near the entrance of the castle. And on the side of the castle that faces the open sea there are secluded pockets where some make their way their to fish and swim/snorkel.
If you walk in front of the sea you see the castle from every place. Inside there are lot of brides (the picture in the castle is a "must" of the photo album of the wedding day). The entrance is free and you can go around the stairs and the rooms of the castle. The sight is amazing. A young boy told me the story of that place: somewere in the castle there is an egg (ovo, as the name of the castle) and if this egg will be broken, Naples will fall down and disappear. Around the castle there are lot of restaurants and bar and in the evening the young neapolitans use to come here.
First settled by the ancient Greeks who went on to found the city of Partenope, the tiny island of Megaride is home to the city's oldest castle. Many believe the name, Castel dell'Ovo, is due to its unusual shape (‘ovo' meaning ‘egg'); however, others maintain that the name is linked to medieval legend. Apparently the poet Virgil hid an egg in an iron cage and left it to hang from a rafter in a secret place within the castle; if the egg is broken, both the castle and the city are doomed to destruction.
The Egg's Castle (yes, that's the real name!) was built in a small island called Megaride, and it acts as a splitting point between the two bays of Napoli: the one with the port and the one with all the cafes in Mergellina (Chiaia).
The island was the first settlement in the Naples area, used already by the Greeks several centuries before Christ.
On the island have been built a great variety of buildings: a villa, a prison, a friary, a fortress and a royal palace, serving the Norman king in the 12th century AD.
Not strangely, the palace has been enlarged, retouched, restored and modified several times by whoever was reigning over the Capital of the then Reign of the Two Sicilies. It was also besieged and bombed a few times around the turn of the 16th century, which prompted the Spanish administration to rebuild it anew, and thus came the castle you see today.
The castle continued being the object of the rage of whoever wanted to conquer Naples, and by the time the Italian Army stopped using it as a base in 1963 it was in pretty bad shape. Extensive restorations carried out in the 1970s brought back to life one of the best examples of Spanish military architecture in Italy.
Oh, yes, the name. A legend tells us that Virgil (the latin poet) put an egg in a cage and then stored the cage in the cellars of the castle. Virgil said that the fate and fortune of the city would have depended on that of the egg, thus prompting efforts to protect the egg and the castle. Fascinating, eh?
This fountain situated next to Castel dell'Ovo is something special for me and it could be the same for several people of my age or older than me.
It was the symbol of one of the most popular TV transmission in the 70ies: Carosello.
Carosello defined when children had to go to bed after dinner and it had a very nice music that I can still remember....
A large fortress from the 12th century that is a dominant presence on the Naples seafront. It was a royal residence for many centuries, and played an important strategic role.
This fortress is now used for exibitions and expositions. When we were here there was an interesting exibition about coffee (yuhmmm...what a perfume!!!)
This was once a remarkable view on the landscape, but now we get to see Naples panorama from one of it's terraces.
We saw a few weddings there and came to a conclusion that it is acustomed to have proffesional photos taken there on that special day.
Probably the greatest view you can get is from a fortress north of the city center. Ask someone to help you find a way, since it's not too easy. Take the furnicular (1 EUR), walk a bit to the south, enter the fort & enjoy the view! Note: you have to pay a fee to enter!