Castel dell’Ovo, the imposing fortified castle on the island of Megaride in the Bay of Naples, is one of Naples’ most famous monuments. Connected to the mainland by a causeway, the castle—home to the Museum of Ethno-Prehistory—offers sweeping views over the city and Mount Vesuvius in the distance.
The site on which Naples’ (Napoli’s) iconic castle now stands has a long history, beginning as a settlement for Greek colonists before hosting a monastery and then a 12th-century Norman fortress. The current castle was built during the Aragonese dynasty in the 15th century, and today, the 19th-century fishing village of Borgo Marinari, known for its excellent seafood restaurants and marina, sits at the base of the castle.
Castel dell'Ovo, one of the city’s most important sights, is included on most Naples walking, bike, and Segway tours along with other landmarks like Piazza del Plebiscito and Castel Nuovo, also known as the Maschio Angioino, the city’s inland fortress. As the largest city on the coast of Campania, Naples is a transportation hub and a popular day trip from nearby destinations like the Amalfi Coast and Capri.
Things to Know Before You Go
Castel dell’Ovo is a must-see for history and architecture buffs.
Admission to the castle and the museum is free.
The inner halls of the castle are open to the public only during special events and exhibitions; the ramparts and towers are always open.
There is an elevator from the ground floor to the ramparts, making the castle mostly accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
How to Get There
Castel dell’Ovo is located in the Bay of Naples (also called the Gulf of Naples) just off the lungomare (coastal road) between the San Ferdinando and Chiaia neighborhoods. Bus 151 from the train station and 140 from the port stop at Castel dell’Ovo.
When to Get There
The castle is open Monday through Saturday from 8:30am to 7pm, and Sundays and holidays from 8:30am to 1:30pm. The Prehistoric Museum is open only on weekends from 10am to 1pm. As Naples is one of Italy’s most visited cities, its sights can be very crowded in the high-season summer months. Visit in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds and to take advantage of the best light for snapping photos from the castle’s towers.
The Egg Castle
The origins of the castle’s name comes from a legend about the Roman poet Virgil, who is said to have placed a magical egg in the foundations beneath where the castle now stands. As long as the egg stays intact, Castel dell’Ovo will remain standing.