Il Castel dell’Ovo

March 27, 2009 / Places
casteldellovo1The magnificent Castel dell’Ovo (Egg Castle) dominates the Naples seafront. This sophisticated sandcastle – see where the spade sliced down the sides – provides superb views of the bay from its battlements and a picturesque background to many great wedding photos.

This is the cradle of Naples; Greeks from Cuma founded Palepoli on this very spot. Since then the Romans and an impressive roll call of European nobility and royalty have demolished and rebuilt the castle, responding to the defensive needs of the time. Paranoid – moi?

And what about the egg? It is said that the Latin poet Virgil, who enjoyed a reputation as a sorcerer as well as a wordsmith, placed a magical egg under the castle to keep its foundations strong. Break that egg, goes the legend, and both the castle and the city come crashing down. Right, thanks. As if a volcano next door wasn’t enough already. And yet it stands…

Penny Ewles-Bergeron

by Penny Ewles-Bergeron

Author, artist… celebrating the many good things in Naples.

8 Responses to “Il Castel dell’Ovo”

  1. I loved your description of Il castel dell’ovo
    as a sandcastle! Never thought of it that
    way but that’s what it looks like.

  2. Great note! I loved this view of the castle and the story of the egg when we lived on the Amalfi Coast and visited bella Napoli. Well told. Thanks.

  3. Penny Ewles-Bergeron
    Penny Ewles-Bergeron

    Thanks for all your comments. I love this castle and think it is the most “castle-ly” of those I’ve ever visited – all the dramatic and historical elements are there. Also, even on the calmest days, when you lean your face over the wall from the top (holding on tight) there’s always a fabulous breeze rushing up at you. Never fails to amuse visitors – and the local birds.

  4. Vidor Daylat

    NIce note. A minor precision if I may: the original Greek colony on the island was known as Megaride and would have been a toe-hold before establishing the city of Partenope on the mainland on the high ground behind the modern day hotels which line the coast on what is reclaimed land. This city would become Palepoli (old city) when the new city Neapolis was founded on what is today still the ancient heart of the new city between Piazza Bellini and Via Duomo (approximately). Castel dell’Ovo is also wrapped around a Roman Villa (still visible) thought to have belonged to Lucullus, the Roman General/Consul whose name today is a synonym of ‘splendid’, ‘lavish’ (Lucullan), had a fish named after him, and is said to have introduced the cherry and the apricot to Rome.

  5. Alison

    Great tips, thank you Penny. Lovely cool battlements, hazy views of Vesuvius and Capri, local swimmers unrolled from a fresco to daub the rocks, and a huge fresh Marlin being delivered to one of the restaurants. Ciao!


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