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Naples underground

Napoli Sotterranea, Galleria Borbonica & La Neapolis Sotterrata

Naples underground

Beneath the ancient city of Naples is an extensive system of caves, passages and catacombs. Visit Napoli Sotteranea, Galleria Borbonica or Neapolis Sotterrata.

The underground Naples

Under the lively historic center of Naples is an extensive network of streets and squares that partly was built by the Romans and Greeks and carved out of the tuff. If you want you can visit with guided tours the "underworld" in several places in Naples. 40 meters below street level and excellently preserved networks of hundreds of kilometers. You will see caves, tunnels and underground passages during your tour. The underground routes are very accessible and often well lit. Book a guide and let yourself be taken back in time. There is a lot to explore in these underground temples. Well-known areas and main tours of this underground network in Naples are Napoli Sotterranea, my personal favorite being the Galleria Borbonica and finally La Neapolis Sotterranea. It is important that in most places it is necessary that you have booked your tour in advance. Read more about the three tour options:

Option 1: Napoli Sotterranea

Napoli SotterraneaThe entry of Napoli Sotterranea
Underground NaplesAn underground city full of surprises

Info & Tickets Napoli Sotterranea

Location Piazza San Gaetano, 68, Naples (200 meters from the cathedral)
Tickets

Tip 1: It is only possible to visit the underground Naples of Napoli Sotterranea with a guided tour. Please note whether you are booking an Italian or English tour. Due to the limited capacity, it is strongly recommended to book in advance.

  • Guided tour 10 € (book your tour)
  • Students up to 24 years 8 € and 5 to 10 years 6 €
  • Tip 2: Napoli Sotterranea is also part of the popular Naples City Card

Book your guided tour

Hours
  • English tour only at 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm
  • Italian tour at 10:00 am, 1:00 pm and 6:00 pm

The Napoli Sotterranea is an official route through the underground tunnels of Naples and is the most visited of all routes. You will find a completely different world 40 meters below the streets of Naples, but with a deep connection with the upper world. The following sights can be found on the route of the Napoli Sotterranea:

  • The Greek Roman Aqueduct: After descending 136 steps you will find the Greek Roman Aqueduct. The area you visit is initially well lit, but in some parts it is too dark. So you can continue the rest of the route with a candle or a flashlight to view the underground water basins. It is a special experience to move through the very narrow corridors of the aqueduct and not recommended for people with claustrophobia.
  • The Roman Theater: Also on this tour you will visit a typical Neapolitan house, also called "layer". The reason for this is that it is located at the street level of the city. Once inside, a hatch opens to the ancient Roman theater of Neapolis, where Emperor Nero had a private dressing room.
  • Summa Cavea: Recently the Napoli Sotterranea has been expanded with a new discovery, Summa Cavea. It is another part of the Roman theater which houses a permanent exhibition of 'Scarabattoli'. Here you will see characteristic settings of beautiful handmade sculptures in glass display cases.

Optie 2: Galleria Borbonica (Bourbon Tunnel)

Galleria BorbonicaGalleria Borbonica, the underground passage of the palace
Naples UndergroundThe Bourbon Tunnel of Naples

Info & Tickets Galleria Borbonica (Bourbon Tunnel)

Location Vico del Grottone, 4, Naples (Just behind the basilica in Piazza del Plebiscito)
Tickets

Tip: It is only possible to visit the Bourbon tunnel with a guided tour. It is absolutely recommended to book these in advance:

Book your guided tour

Hours Friday to Sunday: tours at 10:00 am, 12:00 pm, 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm

In another part of the underground Naples you will find Galleria Borbonica, or the Bourbon Tunnel. A tunnel created in the 19th century by Ferdinand II Bourbon who was then King of Naples. The intention was to make a tunnel 12 meters wide and 12 meters high through the volcanic rock under the streets of Naples. It was the idea that the king, if necessary, could flee by carriage. It was a very turbulent period and Ferdinand II Bourbon was extremely suspicious of his people. That mistrust was justified, because three revolutions arose during his period as king. Due to political unrest and the fall of the Kingdom of Naples, the tunnel was never completed.

During the war period from 1939 to 1943, the tunnel of Galleria Borbonica served as an air raid shelter for the people. About 5,000 to 10,000 Neapolitans sought refuge in the tunnel. Many of these people lost their homes to the bombings of the Germans and were even forced to live in the air raid shelters after the war. Today, the tunnel is full of debris and serves as an exhibition space. You will find many antique cars and motorcycles, special objects and old hiding places.

Optie 3: La Neapolis Sotterrata (San Lorenzo Maggiore)

San Lorenzo Maggiore NaplesThe Neapolis is located under the San Lorenzo Maggiore
Naples UndergroundThe Underground Tunnels of La Neapolis Sotterrata

Info & Tickets Complex van San Lorenzo Maggiore

Location Piazza San Gaetano, 316, Naples
Tickets

With a ticket you get access to the Roman church San Lorenzo Maggiore, the museum and the archaeological complex below:

  • Tickets 10 € (book online)
  • Students and 65+ 7.50 € and up to 17 years 6.50 €

Book your tickets

Hours Open daily from 9:30 am - 5:30 pm

The ancient La Neapolis Sotterrata was originally founded by the Greek settlers in the year 470 BC. Within this ancient city, the monumental complex of San Lorenzo Maggiore occupies a special place. A place that previously housed the agora (vital space of the Greek city, later the Roman Forum). Various excavations have made it possible to identify superimposed layers. In this way, the visitor can see the different settlements that have succeeded each other over time. From Greek to Roman times, from the Middle Ages to modern times.

La Neapolis Sotterrata can be found in Piazza San Gaetano near the church San Lorenzo Maggiore. Here it is possible to discover this underground world on your own, but it is also possible to hire a guide. An extra tip is to take a look above the ground in the Basilica San Paolo Maggiore near Piazza San Gaetano. Here stood a temple dedicated to Castor and Pollux, the mythical sons of Greek god Zeus. Unfortunately, the temple has been destroyed, but you will find two columns of the temple.

Video: Impression of Naples Underground

 


Where are the underground attractions of Naples?

The map below shows the three most visited underground areas (1 = Napoli Sotteranea, 2 = Galleria Borbonica, 3 = Neapolis Sotterrata)

Naples underground
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