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Castel dell'Ovo

Home > Naples > Outdoor | Free | Castles | Adventure
by Peter Lynch (subscribe)
Freelance journalist from Derry, Northern Ireland.
Published November 28th 2019
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Many of the locals in Naples know one stunning building on the edge of the sea as Castel dell'Ovo, but many others simply call it Egg Castle, and the historic site is equal in beauty as it is in Naples legend.

Situated on the former island of Megaride on the Gulf of Naples, Castel dell'Ovo is the oldest standing fortification in a city filled to the brim with rich architectural history. But this seaside castle stands out just that little bit more than its stunning counterparts, quite literally.

Hanging over the edge of the Naples waterfront, it originally stood as one of a number of important structures that formed the nucleus of the city long, long ago.

Naples, Castel dell'Ovo, Italy, Castle, Sea, Coast
The glorious promenade that leads up to the castle

And the castle itself was built by the Normans all the way back in the 12th century, with Roger the Norman proclaiming Castel dell'Ovo his own after conquering the area.

The striking structure has since served as a prison among various other roles, with the small fishing village that once lay there now playing host to several restaurants and bars.

One could be forgiven for assuming that Egg Castle may get its name from any shapes or smells arising from its formidable present, but that couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, the name derives from an iconic legend about the Roman poet Virgil, who placed a magical egg into the foundations to keep it upright.

This great sorcerer was adamant that had the egg been broken, the destruction of the castle and consequently the destruction of Naples would be the harsh reality that followed.

Naples, Castel dell'Ovo, Italy, Castle, Sea, Coast
The stunning view of Mount Vesuvius half way up

Having taken rather significant damage in different battles throughout the years, the castle received a deserved renovation in the latter decades of the 20th century.

Nowadays, however, the free entry to the castle is a serious luxury in this day and age, with incomparable views of the Gulf of Naples and several areas of the city itself. Visitors can wander through, up, down and around the ramparts of the impressive and iconic architecture, getting a real feel for the culture of southern Italy while doing so.

Moreover, be prepared to not only be blown away by the staggering scenes from the top of the castle, but also expect to see various special events, art exhibitions and the odd bride and groom posing for the perfect photograph during your visit.

Naples, Castel dell'Ovo, Italy, Castle, Sea, Coast
Overlooking the Gulf of Naples at the top
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Where: Via Eldorado, 3, 80132 Napoli NA, Italy
Cost: Free
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