The name of this famous castle, Castel dell'Ovo (Castle of the egg) believes to come from the Roman poet Virgil, who was supposed to have put a magical egg in the foundations of the castle. If the egg would brake the castle would fall. As we know now this castle has been a powerful and unbreakable fortress to control the land and the sea since for centuries. Situated on the peninsula of Megaride, which is also believed to have been the grave of the mermaid Parthenope, the Castel dell'Ovo had an important role in the history of the city. It is the oldest standing fortification in Naples, as the site has believed to have been fortified since the 6th century BC by the Greeks when the peninsula was an island isolated by the land. It then became a summer residence of the Roman commander Lucio Licino Lucullo. The Romans eventually abandoned the area but was taken by the Normans when they conquered the city in 1154.
In 1270, Charles I of Anjou made many changes to the castle and that continued with his successor Robert. In this castle, in 1458 king Alphonse d'Aragon died. The next years were dramatic for this fortress as it was occupied by Spanish soldiers, then almost destroyed. Parts of the alterations made by alphonse d'Aragon were destroyed by king Ferdinand the Catholic in 1503.
The Tavola Strozzi, painted at the end of the 15th century and now conserved at the Museum of San Martino, is one of the few views of the original castle. It had towers and a huge arch at the entrance. There were many changes in the 17th century and in 1733 it was bombed by the soldiers of king Charles of Bourbon, then occupied by the rebels of the Revolution.
Today the castle is open to the public. In some parts there are offices and halls for temporary exhibitions and events. From the terrace of the castle you can admire a breathtaking view of the city, that's why it is a very popular location for wedding photos.
In the past centuries like today, the surrounding area is populated by fishermen, but there is also a small marina Borgo Marinari, which is an interesting place to visit, especially in the evening, for there are many bars and restaurants.
Official website of the Castel dell' Ovo.
Via Eldorado 3 - 80132 Napoli
Tel.: +39 081 795 4593
Summer months: Mon - Sat 08.00 - 19.30. Sundays and all other holidays: 09.00 - 14.00
Winter months: Mon - Sat 09.00 - 18.30. Sundays and other holidays: 09.00 - 14.00
There is also the Ethno Prehistory Museum - Weekends only from 10.00 - 13.00. By appointment on other days. Free entry.