Last summer we spent one day in Naples while on our Mediterranean cruise on the Norwegian Epic.
While we made a huge mistake booking a tour through the cruise ship, our day was saved by a part of the tour that thankfully, you can book on your own!
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Our Tour in Naples
One day is obviously not enough time to see everything but it is enough to give you a taste for what you may want to come back and see.
The tour we booked through our cruise line was a walking tour called “Walking Through Naples, Pizza and Secret Tunnels.” We thought it sounded like a great way to get the highlights and then yes, have some pizza! Here’s the description from the NCL website:
“This walking tour introduces you to some of Naples’ best kept secrets, including castles dating back to the 13th century, an underground tunnel built by order of Ferdinand II of Bourbon and the most monumental square of the city. Leaving the port on foot, your first view of the city takes you back to the 13th century with the Castle Nuovo, a grim and gloomy fortress that served as the residence of the kings of Anjou, Aragon, and the Spanish Viceroys. Your walk continues to Piazza Plebiscito, a noble piazza, undoubtedly the most famous square in Naples. Enjoy some free time here for shopping or taking in the views.
You’ll walk through the Bourbon Tunnel designed by Ferdinand II of Bourbon and his architect some 150 years ago. Here in the underground, discover the aqueduct of Carmignano, a military path of the XIX Century, the bomb shelters used during the Second World War and buried vintage cars and motorbikes. As you reach street level again, continue along the seaside and you’ll see Castle of the Egg in Santa Lucia with its spectacular waterfront views. Enjoy a classic Margherita pizza, before walking back to your ship.”
Let’s start from the beginning. The above ground walking tour portion left a lot to be desired. Our tour guide picked us up from the cruise dock and walked quickly. We crossed many busy streets and with such a big group, she frequently left portions of our group behind. No one could hear her or have any idea what we were supposed to be looking at. Honestly, it was miserable. We just felt like we were being rushed from place to place. Add in the fact that it was unseasonably hot, we weren’t off to a good start.
Thankfully, we were eventually led to the entrance to the tunnels. Our guide handed us over to a tunnel expert and she was wonderful.
So, what are these tunnels? The Bourbon Gallery is a network of tunnels connecting the Royal Palace to military barracks. It was created in the 19th century by order of Ferdinand II Bourbon, the King of Naples. I don’t want to give too much of the story away here but he thought he might need to get away quickly and the tunnels were there to aid him in that. Unfortunately, the tunnels were never completed because of several revolutions and political unrest.
During WWII, the people of Naples used the tunnels during the many bombings. The stories of the people having to get down so many steep stairs so quickly were unimaginable. Since then, the tunnels became home to many old cars, motorcycles and other items.
There are a number of tours available that will take you into the tunnels. Check out our favorite resource for excursions, Viator.
Our teen loved seeing the old cars and motorcycles that were left down there. The history of the tunnels and how they’ve been used is really interesting. When you are above you have no idea all of this is going on down below.
I know many cities have underground secrets. Have you ever taken an underground tour?
Bottomline, we highly recommend touring the tunnels but at least in our experience, the tour through the ship left a lot to be desired.
Have you been to Naples? What was your favorite thing to see there?
Now, go see something! ✈️
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