Writers, poets and artists seeking inspiration or divine intervention have been making the pilgrimage to Virgil’s Tomb for over 2000 years. Set in the picturesque Parco Vergiliano a Piedigrotta, that it is doubtful his remains actually remain here is inconsequential. His indelible footprint remains as does his spell over the city.
To commemorate his legacy, Naples has not one, but two parks dedicated to Virgil. Parco Virgiliano a Posillipo at the top of Posillipo Hill and Parco Vergiliano a Piedigrotta at the foot of it. Inaugurated in 1930 on the occasion of Virgil’s 2000th birthday, an ambling path and series of terraces rise up the side of Posillipo hill giving way to stunning views of the city, the Bay and Mount Vesuvius.
About halfway up is another monument ascribed to Virgil, the Crypta Neapolitana. A 711 meter tunnel burrowed into Posillipo Hill, Virgil is credited with its miraculous creation. Of course it was actually the work of Roman architect Lucius Cocceius, built during the Augustan period to connect Naples to Pozzuoli.
In use until the end of the 19th century, remnants of frescoes from the ancient chapel Santa Maria dell’Idria are still visible at the entrance to the tunnel and are best viewed from the portion of the Roman Aqueduct Augusta resident in the park. Near the entrance to the park and giving the park its other name, Park of the Poets, is the tomb of the 19th century Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi whose remains were transferred to the park from the ancient church of San Vitale a Fuorigrotta in 1939.