Naples, one of the oldest cities in the world, has several magnificent castles. Intertwined with legends, their history offers a fascinating glance into the city’s past.
Considered the oldest castles in Naples, Castel dell'Ovo replaced a Roman-era fortification in the 12th century. The formidable fort sits on the islet of Megaride, where according to a legend lived a siren named Parthenope. There is also another myth connected to the castle: the Roman poet Virgil wrote that he had placed a jar with a magic egg beneath the fortress. As long as the egg was intact, Naples would live. The citadel was used as a prison for many centuries and today visitors can see the hall of dungeons, cannon terraces and admire stunning views over the coast and the city.
The Maschio Angioino as locals call it is another symbol of Naples. King of Naples Charles I of Anjou ordered to build the castle in 1279 when the kingdom's capital was transferred from Palermo to Naples. The royal residence was enlarged and fortified over time and saw many sieges and historic events. Masters such as Giotto, Petrarca and Boccacio visited the splendid castle in its glory days. Today Castel Nuovo is home to Naples' Civic Museum.
|View from Castel Sant'Elmo|
This 13th century fortress is overlooks Naples from the hill of Vomero. For a long time heretics and revolutionaries were locked up behind its impenetrable walls and in the 20th century it served as a military prison. After a long and thorough restoration the fortress has become home to a number governmental offices with some spaces used for contemporary art exhibitions. Although, most of the castle is closed to the public you can walk around parapets and admire the sweeping views of the city and Vesuvius.
Photos via Flickr by: Maritè Toledo, Robert Emperley, Roberto Taddeo.