Castel dell'Ovo - Naples (Italy)

Campania     See list of castles in Italia

On the islet of Megaride Naples, in a beautiful scenic location, right in the place where once was to be built the famous villa of Lucullus, William the Bad started in the second half of the twelfth century the construction of Salvatoris Castrum ad mare. The Norman king, however, he could not see the end of the work, and its mighty fortifications had to be completed by William the Good, eventually incorporating the previous period of ducal architectures, along with the early medieval church of the Savior. Later, in the early years of the Swabian kingdom, the fortress was further reinforced, entering therefore became part of the imperial property of Frederick II. This proved the strategic importance of the castle (and Naples), even and especially in key anti-papal, that the Hohenstaufen avoided to grant a fief to some noble of his entourage. Thus, by Statutum de reparatione castrorum imperialium (next to 1241) we learn that the fortress was at that moment commanded by a miles and defended by thirty servientes, like the most important of castrates laboris Terra et comitatus Molisii. With the Angevin domination, Castrum Salvatoris to the sea was still retouched. And in the fourteenth century he began calling Castel dell'Ovo. The reason is still shrouded in mystery: some say that the name resume the trend slightly ovoid of the architectural complex. Others will instead would see the echo of a medieval myth about the legendary magician Virgil, who in the castle guarding an egg with supernatural powers. In any case, for the grandeur and reached safety after many alterations, Ovo was considered suitable to guard the royal treasury. Its size, also invigorated by the Aragonese, however, avoided the no serious destruction, especially during a siege in 1503, which involved the renovation of the structures in forms suitable to support the impact force of the new firearms. Other renovations were still change Castel dell'Ovo in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, much to finally give it its present appearance. One aspect which, however, has lost none of his old, scenic beauty.

The structure of the castle.

With its swarm of towers and turrets, with the arch connecting the two parts of the islet of Megaride and the many windows that peep out from its walls, Castel dell'Ovo really looks like a fairy citadel grew Nell'azzurritĂ  sea and sky of the Gulf of Naples. A long history, made additions and has amended its original architectural forms of a fortified complex that since the seventies underwent radical restoration. In any case, Ovo now appears as a series of barracks, blockhouses and batteries lined up around an internal road, which crosses the entire length of fortification, bordered by high walls fence. In the mixing of the medieval buildings they are still recognizable five different towers and seventeenth century, along with some arcades of Angevin and Aragonese period. Among the interiors, also converted for military use which has been made until a few decades ago, it stands out the hall of columns, into aisles punctuated by drums of ancient columns, and the church of the Savior, who gave his first name to castle. Currently, Ovo is among the properties of the Ministry of National Heritage and Culture, and in addition to being visited every day is equipped to accommodate periodic exhibitions and conferences of national and international character.

Images of the castle


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Useful infos

Latitude: 40.8283157
Longitude: 14.2476044
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Map of Castel dell'Ovo - Naples