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Castel dell'Ovo


Nestled on the picturesque island of Megaride, just off the coast of Naples, stands the Castel dell'Ovo, a majestic fortress that has witnessed centuries of history and played a pivotal role in shaping the city's identity. Its name, meaning "Egg Castle," derives from an ancient legend tied to the Roman poet Virgil, who is said to have buried a magical egg beneath the castle to ensure Naples's enduring prosperity.

Overlooking the Gulf of Naples, the Castel dell'Ovo has been a silent observer of the city's transformation, from its humble beginnings as a Greek settlement to its rise as a powerful maritime republic and its eventual unification with Italy. This ancient fortress, with its rich history, captivating architecture, and stunning panoramic views, invites visitors to step back in time and discover the secrets it holds within its walls.


The Castel dell'Ovo holds a rich and storied past within its ancient walls. Initially, its construction was commissioned in the 6th century BCE by the Cumans, an ancient Italic people who inhabited the region. They built the structure to fortify their settlement and serve as a strategic defense against invaders.

Over time, the castle underwent various modifications and expansions by subsequent rulers. In the 12th century, the Normans, who had conquered much of southern Italy and Sicily, made significant additions to the castle, transforming it into a royal residence. During the reign of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Sicily, the castle became a center of intellectual and cultural activity, hosting a vibrant court filled with scholars, artists, and poets.


The Castel dell'Ovo is a remarkable example of medieval military architecture, showcasing a blend of Norman and Aragonese influences. Its design is characterized by its sturdy walls, which are punctuated by several towers and bastions. The entrance to the castle is through a fortified gate, which leads to a central courtyard.

The castle's interior is divided into several levels, each with its own unique features. The ground floor houses a series of vaulted chambers, which were once used as barracks and storage rooms. The upper floors feature grand halls and living quarters, which were occupied by the castle's governors and their families.

One of the most notable architectural features of the Castel dell'Ovo is the Torre Normanna, an imposing tower that dominates the castle's skyline. The tower is believed to have been built in the 12th century and served as a watchtower and a prison. Its walls are adorned with beautiful frescoes, which depict scenes from medieval life.


The Castel dell'Ovo contains a wealth of notable rooms and features, each with its unique history and significance. One of the most impressive is the Sala dei Baroni (Hall of the Barons), where some of Naples' most powerful families gathered to discuss matters of governance. The hall features a stunning frescoed ceiling, intricate tapestries, and a collection of 16th-century paintings.

Another highlight is the Museo Archeologico Navale (Naval Archaeological Museum), which houses a fascinating collection of artifacts from the castle's maritime past. Visitors can admire ancient anchors, ship models, and even a Roman naval helmet. The museum also showcases the history of Naples' role as a major naval power in the Mediterranean.

Be sure to explore the castle's many underground chambers, including the cistern and the prison. The cistern, which once supplied water to the castle, is now an atmospheric exhibition space, while the prison offers a glimpse into the harsh conditions faced by those who were incarcerated here.

Views from the Castle

The Castel dell'Ovo offers breathtaking panoramic views of Naples and its surroundings. From its elevated position, visitors can enjoy a sweeping vista that encompasses the entire cityscape, the majestic Mount Vesuvius in the distance, and the shimmering waters of the Gulf of Naples. The castle's terraces and ramparts provide ample space to soak in the scenery, making it a popular spot for photography and relaxation.

The best time to visit the Castel dell'Ovo for optimal views is during the golden hour, just before sunset. As the sun begins to dip below the horizon, the sky transforms into a canvas of vibrant colors, casting a warm glow over the city and the surrounding landscape. The lights of Naples begin to twinkle, creating a magical atmosphere that is truly unforgettable.

Legend of the Egg

The Castel dell'Ovo is associated with an ancient legend that has been passed down through generations. According to this legend, a magical egg is buried beneath the castle's foundations. The egg is said to hold the power to protect the city of Naples from harm. The legend originated in Roman times, when the poet Virgil was said to have placed an egg in a cage that was hung from the highest tower of the castle. The egg was believed to be a symbol of fertility and good fortune, and it was thought that as long as the egg remained unbroken, the city would be safe. Throughout history, the legend of the egg has taken on new meanings and interpretations. Some believe that the egg represents the soul of the city, while others see it as a symbol of Naples' resilience and ability to withstand adversity. To this day, the legend of the egg continues to fascinate visitors to the Castel dell'Ovo, adding an aura of mystery and intrigue to this historic landmark.

Visiting Information

The Castel dell'Ovo is open to the public and offers a variety of ways to explore its history and architecture. Visitors can choose to wander independently or take advantage of the guided tours led by knowledgeable guides who bring the castle's stories to life. Self-guided tours allow visitors to set their own pace and focus on the aspects of the castle that most interest them. For a more in-depth experience, guided tours provide insights into the castle's history, architecture, and legends. Reservations are recommended for guided tours, especially during peak tourist seasons.

Admission fees for the Castel dell'Ovo are reasonable and vary depending on the type of tour or ticket chosen. General admission tickets provide access to the castle's interior, while combination tickets include admission to other attractions in the area. Discounts are available for students, seniors, and families.

Audio guides are an excellent option for visitors who prefer to learn about the castle's history at their own pace. These guides offer detailed commentary on the castle's history, architecture, and highlights, and are available in multiple languages.

Events and Exhibitions

The Castel dell'Ovo often plays host to a variety of cultural events and exhibitions throughout the year, providing visitors with an opportunity to delve deeper into the history and significance of this ancient fortress. From art exhibitions showcasing the works of local and international artists to historical reenactments and musical performances, there's always something new and exciting happening within the castle walls.

To find out about upcoming events, be sure to check the castle's official website or social media pages. There, you'll find detailed information about upcoming events, including dates, times, and ticket prices. Whether you're interested in art, history, or simply soaking up the unique atmosphere of this historic site, the Castel dell'Ovo's events and exhibitions offer something for everyone.

Getting There

The Castel dell'Ovo is conveniently located in the historic center of Naples, making it easily accessible by public transportation and on foot. For those arriving by metro, the closest station is Municipio, which is just a short walk from the castle. Alternatively, numerous bus lines stop nearby, including the C15, 151, and R

If you prefer to explore the city at your own pace, consider renting a bicycle or scooter. Several rental shops are located throughout Naples, allowing you to zip through the lively streets and admire the surrounding scenery.

For those arriving by car, limited parking is available in the vicinity of the castle. However, it is essential to be mindful of the narrow streets and potential traffic congestion, especially during peak tourist season.

Nearby Restaurants

When visiting the Castel dell'Ovo, you'll have a range of dining options to choose from, catering to various tastes and budgets. Here are some recommendations for nearby restaurants:

  • Trattoria Da Nennella: A renowned eatery famed for its succulent seafood dishes, particularly the freshly caught mussels. Indulge in a delightful meal accompanied by breathtaking views of the sea.

  • La Cantinella: Experience authentic Neapolitan cuisine at this charming family-owned restaurant. Savor traditional dishes like pasta with fresh clams or the signature "frittura di mare," a medley of fried seafood.

  • Pizzeria Starita a Materdei: For pizza enthusiasts, this pizzeria is a must-visit. Relish the delectable Margherita or try the creative "Montanara" pizza, topped with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, then fried to perfection.

  • L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele: Known worldwide for its exceptional pizzas, this pizzeria has been featured in films and guidebooks. Sample the classic marinara or Margherita pizza, cooked in a wood-fired oven and served piping hot.

These recommendations offer a taste of the vibrant culinary scene in Naples, ensuring a memorable dining experience to complement your visit to the Castel dell'Ovo.

Nearby Accommodation

When choosing a place to stay near the Castel dell'Ovo, there are several options to consider. For a luxurious experience, the Grand Hotel Vesuvio overlooks the castle and offers breathtaking views from its rooftop terrace. The hotel features elegant rooms and suites, a spa, and a Michelin-star restaurant.

For a more affordable option, the Hotel Santa Lucia is located just steps from the castle and offers comfortable rooms with modern amenities. The hotel has a rooftop terrace with panoramic views and a restaurant serving traditional Neapolitan cuisine.

If you are looking for a budget-friendly option, the Hostel of the Sun is a great choice. The hostel offers dormitory-style rooms as well as private rooms, and it has a communal kitchen and a lounge area. The hostel is located in the historic center of Naples, just a short walk from the Castel dell'Ovo.

Insider Tip

For an unforgettable experience, climb to the top of the Torre Angioina, the highest tower in the Castel dell'Ovo. From its summit, you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Gulf of Naples, the Sorrento Peninsula, and Mount Vesuvius. It's a challenging climb, but the reward is worth the effort. As you stand there, surrounded by centuries of history, you'll feel like you've stepped back in time to the days when this castle guarded the entrance to the Kingdom of Naples.

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