Naples Italy Underground

by Greg Zimmerman

Naples has been inhabited since the stone age.  The first major settlements were the Greeks around 2000 B.C., then came the Romans around 750 B.C.  Over these 4000 years the city was continually built on top of itself, slowly burying the history as time went on.

130 feet under Naples, Italy are 2,400 year old labyrinth of tunnels, Greek-Roman aqueducts, and buried parts of the ancient city known as the “Naples Underground.”  During our 3 hour tour we only saw 1% of it.  The ancient Greeks used slave labor to dig the tunnels by hand and craftsman carved blocks of stone which were hauled up to the surface to make buildings.  Other caverns were used as water sources for nearly 100 wells scattered about Naples.

One of the original Roman gates to Naples

On the sides of this archway are the remains of the iron hinges for the ancient city gates.

 

We held electric candles to navigate the narrow aqueducts

The Naples Underground chambers were used during World War II as bomb shelters.  In this particular room, citizens had a fire to keep warm and allied bomber planes must have seen light from the well.  As bad luck would have it, a 500 pound bomb made a direct hit down the well shaft and blew up in the shelter. 

 

Back on the surface was another surprise.  An apartment in the 1980’s was undergoing renovations when the owners noticed some odd bricks in the cellar. It turned out that their apartment part of an ancient Roman theater. In Italy, if significant historical items are found, the historic association can take your apartment and that’s exactly what happened to this homeowner. The third photo above shows the “modern” apartment that is now part of the museum.

 

It was a great trip and we wrapped it up by having dinner at the Pizzeria di Mateo, known as the “President Clinton Pizza place”.  The story goes that Pizza Fritta (Fried Pizza) was invented here when President Clinton visited back in 1994.  The pizzolo knew President Clinton loved fried foods so he decided to fry a pizza and the rest is history.  It was fantastic Neapolitan pizza. We recently saw a Food Network show highlighting Naples pizza, and this place was on the show!

7 comments

Rick February 17, 2021 - 8:14 am

Interesting pictures and travel that you’re doing – getting the most out of your tour in Italy. Your sons will remember these places for life.

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Jill Lee February 17, 2021 - 8:36 am

Thank you for a great tour!

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Sean February 17, 2021 - 9:03 am

Thank you for sharing your travel experience, fascinating! I didn’t know the cave system existed.

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Diane M. Davis February 17, 2021 - 9:26 am

So great to see your family’s adventures in Italy! Amazing Greek history that will be remembered for life.. We miss you but I know you are putting family first and enjoying what Italy has to offer. YAY! Thanks for sharing.

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Harriet February 17, 2021 - 10:03 am

Beautiful photos and amazing stories. Hope the lockdown gets lifted so you can enjoy more of Italy.

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Frank Yake February 17, 2021 - 10:10 am

Thanks for sharing both your trip as narrative, and as photos of places and family along the way. For those of us basically isolating at home due to the Covid, this has been an upbeat, welcome diversion and a reason to smile.

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Fonda Maready February 17, 2021 - 6:20 pm

Great pics and story Greg! Feel like some pizza now! Thank you for sharing and you and your family enjoy and be safe!

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