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Napoli Sotterranea (Naples Underground)
Forty meters below the characteristic and lively streets of the Historic Center of Naples, you find a different world, unexplored, isolated by time, but deeply connected with the world above. It’s the heart of Naples, and the place from which the city was born. To visit it is to travel to the past, a world 2400 years old.Every historic epic, from the foundation of Neopolis, to the bombs of WWII, has left it’s mark on the walls of the yellow tufa stone, the soul of Naples, and the stone with which the city was built.
1) The Greek-Roman Aqueduct.
Going down 136 steps, low and comfortable, we will reach a depth of about 40 meters below ground, where we will visit few of the tuffaceous cavities excavated in the Greek era (IV centuries BC.), and exploited as cisterns for the water supply of our city for approximately 23 centuries. The environment is spacious and illuminated, except for a short segment where the tour is optional, but full of charm because each person is given a candle to light their own path. Also the walking surface is smooth and straight, and the visit has a duration of about one hour.
We will also visit the air raid shelters from the Second World War, the War Museum and the Hypogeum Gardens, a new project which the association of Naples underground offers to its visitors as well as multiple educational and scientific activities.
In the darkness of Naples underground, 35 meters deep, in fact, there is life.
The initial approach was born during the international event – Expo Milano 2015 “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” – dedicated to the power of Earth: the Hypogeum Gardens is a vegetable garden growing in the bowels of the earth, a seemingly hostile environment, yet far from acid rain, pollutants, smog, harmful microorganisms even to human life, it still protects the cultivations of traditional vegetable plants.
Naples Underground has therefore initiated an investigational botany for the underground, not only open to an audience of Italian and foreign visitors, students, young and old, but also university researchers and botanists who use the Hypogeum Gardens for the scientific research. The project, in fact, is attracting the scientific interest of both national and International organizations.
Moreover, at no extra charge, we will visit:
1) The remains of the Roman Theater.
We will walk into a typical Neapolitan house, commonly called “low”, because it is located at street level of the city. Once inside, just open a hatch underneath a bed for access to the remains of the ancient theater of Neapolis, where the emperor Nero also had his private dressing room, whenever he performed his shows in Naples.
The tour lasts about 20 minutes.
2) Summa Cavea
We have recently expanded the tour with a new discovery. Another fraction of the Roman Theater reappears in an old carpentry in which there is a permanent exhibition of “Scarabattoli” (glass kiosk exhibiting images and sacred objects sec. XVII) to preserve the nativity scenes and the popular manger. All around, opus reticulatum and latericium. We are right beneath the Roman intrados of an arch -summa auditorium of the Greek theater- located in Cinquesanti alley behind San Gaetano square, a remote agora of Neapolis. Inside the new fragment of the Roman theater just brought back to life, a new discovery was made. Underneath the floor, there were small running water channels which were completely clogged by the material generated by the circular saw. Once cleaned up, the channels revealed to be drain sewers from the Bourbon period, made out of “riggiole” (tiles) with blue color designs. Those channels were protected by grilles and are visible.