14 May The Historical Layers of Naples
Naples is a unique city, known as the “soul of Italy”.
With its people, its ambience and atmosphere chaotic and full of spirit, yet beautiful and authentic at the same time, there is always something new to discover and explore, whether it is uncovering the underwater towns, walking through the narrow streets of the city centre or exploring the labyrinth of the city’s underground tunnels.
However and whatever you explore, it is possible to appreciate the many historical layers of the city.
With a surface of 900000sqm the underground Naples is enormous. It is considered to be the hidden heart of the city where you can discover all there is to know about Naples and its history. Exploring the underground tunnels, it is possible to find signs of the paganism, to see early Christian burial sites and even air raid shelters from World War II.
The underground tunnels of Naples also clearly shows how the city was excavated and built on top of older structures (layer over layer) using the compacted volcanic rock called “tufo”. Tufo was quarried and used as the main material to build the city.
The ancient Greeks were the first ones to build layer over layer, giving birth to the city of Neapolis (“New City” in Greek) on a promontory of tufo. Later on the Romans incorporated the ancient underground cavities into their extensive hydraulic underground system and created the so called “aqueducts”. These subterraneous spaces were then converted into crypts by Early Christians. Finally in 1880, due to the catastrophic cholera epidemic, the crypts lost their functions as crypts and were shut down. Only during the second World War the underground cavities were opened again to save the lives of thousands of refugees escaping from bombardments. At this time the cavities were transformed with stairways being built , electricity supplies being installed, along with anything else necessary for survival being added. Signs and drawings on the volcanic walls as well as the remains of beds, radios and even cars and Vespa motorbikes, give us a clearer picture of the life at that time.
If you want to take a step back into the past and discover more about the many different layers of Naples, then choose one of my proposed itineraries to begin the journey. I am ready to share with you some of the hidden sides of Naples!
Looking forward to meet you in Naples!