You can hardly turn over a spade of soil in any Italian city without uncovering centuries of history, and Naples is no exception. Beneath the teeming modern center, Naples Underground (Napoli Sotterranea) takes you through the remains of the ancient city’s infrastructure covering almost two millennia.
Descend more than 130 feet (40 meters) below the lively streets of Naples to explore the city’s history, from the aqueducts dug by the ancient Greeks who lived in this area 2,400 years ago and later used by the Romans to the caverns excavated from the soft tufo stone and used as air raid shelters during World War II. A Naples Underground tour also includes visits to a fourth-century water cistern and the ruins of a Roman theater where Emperor Nero once performed.
Naples Underground is open to the public only as part of a guided tour, so booking in advance is imperative, especially during the busy summer months. You can also visit this underground city on a general Neapolitan walking tour or in combination with the nearby archaeological ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum with an expert tour guide.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The walking path through the underground city isn’t challenging, but comfortable shoes and a light jacket are recommended even in summer, as it can be cool underground.
- Photography is allowed, so be sure to bring your camera.
- The route is well lit, though there is a short stretch during which visitors walk by candlelight. For this reason, children under 3 years old are not allowed.
- There are more than 100 steps down to access the tour route, so the tour is not accessible to wheelchairs or strollers.
How to Get There
The street-level entrance to Naples Underground is at Piazza San Gaetano 68, along Via dei Tribunali in the historic center of the city. From the train station, you can take the metro line 1 to the Dante stop, or bus R2. Otherwise, opt for a tour that includes transportation to the piazza.
When to Get There
Naples Underground tours operate year-round. It is one of the most popular sights in Naples, so be sure to book well ahead of time if visiting in summer. The best time to visit is during the afternoon heat, as the cool underground caverns and tunnels offer a welcome respite.
The Summa Cavea
Naples Underground also includes the recently discovered Summa Cavea, the highest section of spectator seating from an ancient Greco-Roman theater under Vico Cinquesanti just behind Piazza San Gaetano.