This morning we met our local guide, Nadia, to hear about the history of Naples and the surrounding towns. We started with a driving tour of the area to get a feel for the layout of the city. Nadia took us around the Naples National Archaeological Museum, which houses beautiful Greek and Roman statues. To me, the museum’s most impressive collections were the artifacts and art from Pompeii and Herculaneum, which featured everything from glass vases and medical supplies to ornate mosaics.
After the museum, we went to what’s considered Old Naples and I grabbed the most amazing Neapolitan pizza for lunch.
Then we met up with another local guide to start exploring the Naples Underground. We walked down an unassuming side street and into a private apartment that has since been opened up to the public. Below modern-day Naples there are layers of preserved Roman ruins that have been buried, built over and forgotten about. The apartment we entered was actually built into the side of a former Roman theater, and the ancient walls were found during renovations in the 1940s.
After a bit of exploring, our guide led us back out onto the main streets and down into another subterranean entrance—this time down into the more than 2000-year-old labyrinth of caverns and passageways that formed the aqueduct system of the ancient Greeks. Over the centuries, the aqueducts have been used for various purposes, including bunkers during WWII, and have also spurred their share of myths and ghost stories.
The most dramatic passageway we explored called for us to squeeze through a very narrow tunnel, lit by our own candlelight, which eventually opened out into a serene reservoir set off from the main aqueducts.
One of the themes for the day was that nearly every Neapolitan sight we saw had a wealth of Greek and Roman history beneath it—often literally—and the city has so much more to discover. I can’t wait to see what’s next!
Katie is making her way around the Amalfi Coast on foot. Follow along as she blogs about her tour!