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NAPLES SUBSOIL

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An unexplored and unknown world hides under the characteristic and noisy streets of the historical centre of Naples, made up of tunnels, tanks and cavities dug into the tuff. It extends for thousands of miles and for centuries this underground city has lived a parallel life. In fact the ancient Greeks mined there tuff to fortify the city walls, the Romans gave birth to the first aqueduct of the city and the Angioini in 13th century used to dug the tuff to build new parts for the expanding city. Naples was so much enlarging that 3 hundred years later the aqueduct was not sufficient anymore and a new was built where men called “pozzari” worked.

These men wore a dark mantle which made them resemble a monk, a “monaciello”. They reached the soil through wells, sometimes in the yards of the houses. In this way the legend of the “monaciello”, one of the most popular ones was born. It seems they could steal food but also leave money, maybe for the “kindness” of the woman living there, when her husband was away for work. People began to attribute magical powers to these men who appeared and disappeared completely unexpected. During the second world war this site was used as a safe and valuable underground air-raid shelter, as evidenced by the graffiti and the various objects found in it. It hosted up to 4000 people who lived there waiting for the war to be over.

Naples subsoil fascinates for the grandeur of the cavities and the labyrinth of tunnels that cross several kilometers below the streets and buildings. Visiting these places you will be able to better understand the past and the history of this beautiful city. There are two entrances: one in S. Gaeatano square, near Duomo street and the second one in Trieste e Trento square, near the Royal Palace.

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