Borgo Marinaro


An evocative combo of bobbing boats, seaside dining and cocktail-sipping night owls, the small, rocky Borgo Marinaro is where – according to legend – the heartbroken siren Partenope washed ashore after failing to seduce Ulysses with her song. It's also where the Greeks first settled the city in the 7th century BC, calling the island Megaris. Its most famous resident today is the hulking Castel dell'Ovo.

According to legend, the Castel dell'Ovo (Castle of the Egg) owes its improbable name to the Roman poet Virgil, who supposedly buried an egg on the site, ominously warning that when the egg breaks the castle (and Naples) will fall. Built in the 12th century by the Normans, it's the city's oldest castle. 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 subsequently used by the Swabians, Angevins and Alfonso of Aragon, who modified it to suit his military needs.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Naples attractions

1. Castel dell'Ovo

0.06 MILES

Built by the Normans in the 12th century, Naples’ oldest castle owes its name (Castle of the Egg) to Virgil. The Roman scribe reputedly buried an egg on…

2. Lungomare

0.48 MILES

When you need a break from Naples' hyperactive tendencies, take a deep breath on its pedestrianised seafront strip. Stretching 2.5km along Via Partenope…

3. Galleria Lia Rumma


Since opening her gallery in 1971, Lia Rumma has garnered a reputation for discovering the next big names in art. The gallerist and collector helped…

4. Basilica di San Francesco di Paola

0.54 MILES

The undisputed star of Piazza del Plebiscito, Naples’ largest square, is the Basilica di San Francesco di Paola, a later addition to the colonnade that…

5. Galleria Borbonica

0.57 MILES

Traverse five centuries along Naples’ Bourbon Tunnel. Conceived by Ferdinand II in 1853 to link the Palazzo Reale to the barracks and the sea, the never…

6. Piazza dei Martiri

0.59 MILES

If Chiaia is Naples' drawing room, then Piazza dei Martiri is its chaise longue. The square's centrepiece is Enrico Alvino's 19th-century monument to…

7. Piazza del Plebiscito

0.59 MILES

For Continental grandeur, it's hard to beat Piazza del Plebiscito. Whichever way you look, the view is show-stopping. To the northwest, vine-covered…

8. Palazzo Reale

0.61 MILES

Envisaged as a 16th-century monument to Spanish glory (Naples was under Spanish rule at the time), the magnificent Palazzo Reale is home to the Museo del…