In addition to excellent food, pleasant climate, and famous songs, Naples has lots of architectures that have made it known as the city of the seven castles: Capuano Castle, New Castle (Castel Nuovo, also known as MaschioAngioino), Castel dell’ Ovo, Sant’Elmo Castle, Nisida Castle, Carmine Castle, and Vigliena fort.
The 7 castles of Napoli
If you come to Naples by sea you immediately enjoy the medieval castle Maschio Angioino, one of the most famous castles of Italy, overlooking the spectacular Piazza Municipio. Built-in the thirteenth century by order of Charles of Anjou and later renovated by the Aragonese, it was a royal residence and fortress and became a cultural center where artists and writers like Giotto, Petrarca, and Boccaccio stayed. According to an ancient legend in the prisons lived a crocodile that ate the prisoners being thrown therein through a secret trap door. When it was killed its body was embalmed and placed at the entrance of the fortress.
From the castle looking up the hill, you can see the Sant’Elmo castle keeping guard of Naples. Built-in tuff in the fourteenth century by Robert of Anjou, the castle allows you to look at the various parts of the city. It was first used as a prison for political prisoners and later for the military ones until 1952 and now is a multi-purpose center for cultural activities and initiatives.
The second oldest castle in Naples Castle Capuano was founded as a royal residence in the twelfth century by William I and was later altered by various rulers. Under the Aragonese kingdom, it was transformed into a courthouse, a function that still keeps today.
But the image of Naples is definitely linked to that of the fortified castle Castel dell’ Ovo that reigns in all the postcards of the city. It’s the oldest and most imposing castle perched in Naples and the Bay of Naples. It is located on the small island of Megaride and it is connected to the mainland by a causeway. Legend has it that on this island the siren Parthenope landed.
The castle stands on an area once colonized by the Greeks and the Romans that built a magnificent villa, called Castrum Lucullanum. Later there was a monastery and in the 12th century, the castle was built. Its name comes from the medieval myth.
According to the myth, Virgil would have hidden in a secret place of the castle an egg. This egg is capable of protecting the city from disasters and hazards.
Today the castle is home to major museum exhibitions and is one of the most representative places of the city, with a unique and breath-taking view that spans the gulf.
At the foot of the castle, there is the picturesque fishing village Borgo Marinari that grew up in the 19th century. Here the Neapolitans always come to eat the seafood specialties of the Neapolitan cuisine in the many restaurants overlooking the sea.
Castel del Carmine
Near via Nuova Marina, there is what remains of the Castel del Carmine Castle. The structure, whose origins date back to 1382, was demolished in 1906. Anyway, its tower, Torre Spinella, and part of the Aragonese walls are still standing.
Nisida and Vigliena
Farther from the city center is the Castle of Nisida, on the island of Nisida, and the Fort of Vigliena, whose remains are in San Giovanni a Teduccio. Both had a significant role in the defensive system of the city at the time of Pedro de Toledo.