DescriptionAn aqueduct, an escape route, an air raid shelter, and an impound lot. Naples Bourbon Tunnel descends 30 meters into the bowels of Monte Echia and travels through 500 years of Neapolitan history. Visitors emerge in Chiaia's Parcheggio Morelli, a state of the art parking structure built into the ancient Grotta del Chiatamone. Serving as an alternate entrance to the tunnel, the Bourbon Tunnel is Naples only handicap accessible underground tour.
Conceived of by Ferdinand II in 1853 as an escape route from the Royal Palace that was never completed, the tunnel is part of the Carmignano Aqueduct system. Built in the early 17th century, the aqueduct supplied water to the Monte di Dio district until 1866. During WWII, this cavernous structure served as an air raid shelter and military hospital, providing aid and protection to some 10,000 Neapolitans. After the war, the tunnel was used an impound lot until the 1970s.
The Bourbon Tunnel was opened to the public in October 2010 after five years of cleaning and restoration work by the Associazione Culturale Borbonica Sotteranea. The association offers guided tours of the tunnel Friday through Sunday. Tours run approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes and are available in English, but it is best to reserve in advance, indicating your preferred entry point. For more adventurous visitors, the association also offers a Speleology Tour for caving enthusiasts and an Adventure Tour which takes you by raft through the waters of the lowest part of the aqueduct.
All images are courtesy of the Associazione Culturale Borbonica Sotteranea
Category: Archeology & Ancient Ruins, Chiaia & Lungomare, Must See, Subterranean Naples