Borgo Marinaro Map Pp

0 C2S to Via Partenope

According to legend, this small Island of volcanic rock Is where the heartbroken siren Partenope washed ashore after falling to seduce Ulysses with her song. This Is also where the Greeks first settled the city In the 7th century BC, calling the Island Megarls. A humble fishing hub In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Borgo Marlnaro Is now a lively mix of bars, restaurants and cocktail-sipping night-owls, all In the shadow ofthe looming Castel dell'Ovo.

CASTEL DELL'OVO MAP PP284-5 SS 081 240 00 55; Borgo Marinaro; S 9am-6pm Mon-Fri,9am-1pm Sat & Sun; 0 C2S to Via Partenope

According to myth, the Castel dell'Ovo owes Its Improbable name - Castle ofthe Egg - to Virgil. The Roman poet was said to have burled an egg on the site where the castle now stands, ominously warning that when the egg breaks the castle (and Naples) will fall. Killjoys prefer to say that the name ofthe castle Is due to Its oval shape.

Built In the 12th century by the Normans, the castle Is the city's oldest. Its particular position had long been appreciated - originally by the Roman general Lucullus, who had his villa here - and It became a key fortress In the defence of Campania. It was subseguently used by the Swablans, Angevlns and Alfonso of Aragon, who modified It to suit his military needs.

Today the castle Is Invaded by tourists, taffeta-clad brides and dictatorial wedding photographers all out for the perfect sea-view shot.

The In-house Museo di Etnopreistoria (Map pp284-5;SS081 764 53 43; Sl0am-1pm Mon-Fii by appointment only) features a cool collection of prehistoric tools, fossils and ceramics.

CASTEL NUOVO (MASCHIO ANGIOINO) MAPPP280 1 Piazza Municipio SS 081 795 5877;admission €5; S 9am-7pm Mon-Sat; 0 R2 to Piazza del Municipio

Known to Neapolitans as the Maschlo Anglo-Ino (Angevin Keep) and to everyone else as the Castel Nuovo, this Imposing 13th-century castle Is one of Naples' most striking buildings.

When Charles I of Anjou took over Naples and the Swablans' Sicilian kingdom, he found hlmselfln control not only of his new southern Italian acquisitions, but also of possessions In Tuscany, northern Italy and Provence (France). It made sense to base the new dynasty In Naples, rather than Palermo In Sicily, and Charles launched an ambitious construction programme to expand the port and city walls.

His plans included converting a Franciscan convent Into the castle that still stands In Piazza del Munlclplo.

Christened the Castrum Novum (New Castle) to distinguish It from the older Castel dell'Ovo and Castel Capuano, It was erected In three years from 1279. A favourite royal residence, It was a popular hang-out for the leading Intellectuals and artists of the day. Petrarch, Boccaccio and Giotto all stayed here, the latter repaying his hosts by painting much of the Interior. However, of the original structure only the Cappella Palatlna remains; the rest Is the result of renovations by the Aragonese two centuries later, as well as a meticulous restoration effort prior to WWII. The heavy grey stone that dominates the castle was Imported from Mallorca. The two-storey Renaissance triumphal arch at the entrance, the Torre della Guardla, commemorates the triumphal entry of Alfonso I of Aragon Into Naples In 1443.

Now the venue of city council meetings, the stark stone Sala dei Baroni (Hall of the Barons) Is named after the barons who were slaughtered here In 1486 for plotting against King Ferdinand I of Aragon. Its striking ribbed vault fuses ancient Roman and Spanish late-Gothic Influences.

The walls of the Cappella Palatina were once graced by Giotto frescoes, of which only fragments remain on the splays of the Gothic windows. Above the chapel's elegant Renaissance doorway Is a beautiful Catalan-style rose window.

The cappella forms part of the museum, spread across several halls on three floors. The 14th-and 15th-centuryfrescoesand sculptures on the ground floor are of the most I nterest.

The other two floors mostly display paintings, either by Neapolitan artists, or with Naples or

Campania as subjects, covering the 17th to the early 20th centuries. Worth seeking out Is Gugllelmo Monaco's 15th-centuiy bronze door, complete with a cannonball embedded In It. The Sala Carlo V hosts temporary exhibitions of contemporary art.

In the summer months the castle's courtyard Is often used for outdoor concerts, Including productions from the nearby Teatro San Carlo.

CHIESA DELLA PIETA DEI TURCHINI MAP PP280-1 @ 081 552 04 57; Via Medina 19; £3 varies; 0 R2 to Via Medina

Originally a poorhouse, this modest 16th-century church takes Its name from the turchino (deep blue) uniforms the children used to wear. Fashion aside, It's known as a historic conservatory and birthplace of the famous Neapolitan musical group Pleta del Turchlnl (see pi 33). One of the conservatory's most famous alumni was the composer Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725).

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