To visit Castle of the Egg (in italian:Castel dell’Ovo) is probably one of the most fascinating and exciting experiences in Naples. It’s indescribable the excitement of being in a piece of history and at the same time admire a beautiful landscape. To visit Castle of the Egg in Naples means to be inside one of the most famous postcards in the world. You will see blue sea, blue sky, bright sun, the Gulf of Naples and the spectacular backdrop of one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world: yhe Vesuvius.
If it’s not enough to convince you of the spectacular of a such perfect combination of architecture and nature, I’ll say you that Castle of the Egg is really near the cruise ships dock, the historic center, Plebiscito Square. In short, if you visit Naples you have to visit the Castle of the Egg. But if it’s not enough, we remember that the visit is free.
The legend of the Castle of the Egg
Why is it called Castle of the Egg? In summary, the name comes from an ancient legend.
This is probably one of the most imaginative Neapolitan legends, according to which Virgilio would have hidden inside a cage, in the basement of the castle, an egg. From that egg’s fate depended the fate of the castle, of Naples and of the Neapolitans.
A little bit of history of the Castle of the Egg
Now that attention is maximum, we give a bit of history.
The history of Castle of the Egg is very long, so I will try to summarize it briefly.
The castle rises on a very little island: Megaride. This is the place where it was founded in the eighth century BC Parthenope, by Cuman people. Already in the first century BC Lucius Licinius Lucullus built a splendid villa, Villa Licinius Lucullus, later, in the middle of the fifth century, the villa was fortified.
Later, the site became a monastery that was destroyed at the beginning of the tenth century by the Dukes of Naples.
Ruggiero the Norman, conquered Naples in 1140, and Castle of the Egg became an headquarters. The Normans began a systematic program of fortification of the site.
With the passage of the kingdom to the Swabians, Castle of the Egg was further fortified.
After an earthquake in 1370 had brought down the natural arch that was the isthmus towards the small island of Megaride, Queen Giovanna rebuilt it in brick.
During the reign of the Spanish and then of the Bourbons, the castle was fortified even more with batteries and two drawbridges. The structure completely lost the royal residence function and was used to provision and military outpost and a jail.
After the unification of Italy, Castel of the Egg, became a state property and was abandoned until the beginning of the restoration in 1975.
For more information visit the official website.