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Galleria Borbonica

Naples, a city rich in history and culture, hides a unique treasure beneath its bustling streets – the Galleria Borbonica, or Bourbon Tunnel. This fascinating subterranean passage, steeped in history, offers a rare glimpse into the city’s past and present.

Originally conceived for military purposes, the Galleria has transformed over the years into a captivating attraction for both locals and tourists. In this article, we delve into the intriguing history of the Galleria Borbonica, explore the various tours available, and guide you to its entry points, ensuring a memorable journey through this hidden gem of Naples.

The Bourbon private tour. Royal Palace and Underground Gallery

Discover Naples’ hidden depths on a tour through the Bourbon Tunnel. Traverse from the Royal Palace to Piazza del Plebiscito and along the scenic Lungomare Caracciolo. Beneath the city, ride a raft along an underground canal, experiencing the subterranean history up close in a small, personalized group setting.

History of the Galleria Borbonica

The Beginning: A Military Passage

The Galleria Borbonica’s story begins in the mid-19th century, designed as part of a military escape route for the Bourbon royal family. The brainchild of Ferdinand II of Bourbon, the tunnel was intended to connect the Royal Palace with military barracks outside the city, providing a safe exit in case of rebellion or invasion. However, the project, steeped in secrecy and urgency, was never fully realized during his reign.

Wartime Shelter and Post-War Usage

The Galleria found its purpose years later, serving as a bomb shelter during World War II. It offered a haven to Neapolitans during the harrowing air raids, a silent witness to the fears and hopes of those turbulent times. Post-war, the tunnel’s role shifted again, becoming a judicial impound lot for confiscated vehicles and a dumping ground for debris, gradually fading from public memory.

Rediscovery and Restoration

Decades later, the Galleria Borbonica was rediscovered, leading to a significant restoration project. Today, it stands as a testament to Naples’ layered history, attracting visitors with its blend of historical significance and eerie beauty. The Galleria now serves as a cultural and educational site, offering a unique window into the past.

Tours of the Galleria Borbonica

The Galleria Borbonica offers a variety of tours, each providing a unique perspective of this historical labyrinth. Whether you’re a history buff, an adventure seeker, or just looking for a unique experience, there’s a tour for every interest.

Standard Tour: A Journey Through History

The Standard Tour takes visitors through the most significant sections of the tunnel, showcasing the historical and architectural marvels of the Galleria. It’s perfect for first-time visitors, offering a comprehensive overview of the tunnel’s history and its role in Naples’ past.

Via delle Memorie: A Path of Memories

The Via delle Memorie tour is a poignant journey through the sections of the tunnel used as a bomb shelter during World War II. This tour offers an emotional insight into the lives of those who sought refuge here, with remnants of their presence still visible.

Adventure Tour: For the Bold and Curious

The Adventure Tour is designed for those seeking an adrenaline rush. It takes visitors off the beaten path, exploring less accessible parts of the tunnel. This tour is not for the faint-hearted but promises an exhilarating experience.

Speleo Light Tour: A Caving Adventure

For those interested in speleology, the Speleo Light Tour offers a unique opportunity to explore the geological aspects of the Galleria. This tour requires physical agility, as it involves navigating through narrow passages and discovering the natural formations of the tunnel.

Practical Information

  • Each tour lasts about an hour, offering an immersive experience.
  • Tours are available in multiple languages, including English, making them accessible to international visitors.
  • The Galleria also offers virtual tours for those who cannot visit in person, providing a 3D experience of the tunnel from the comfort of home.

Entry Points to the Galleria Borbonica

The Galleria Borbonica can be accessed from multiple points, each offering a different perspective of this historic tunnel. Knowing where and how to enter is essential for planning your visit.

Vico del Grottone, 4 – Near Piazza del Plebiscito

The entrance at Vico del Grottone is arguably the most popular, located near the iconic Piazza del Plebiscito. This entry point is easily accessible for tourists, being close to many of Naples’ central attractions. It serves as a gateway to both the Standard and Adventure tours, offering a comprehensive experience of the Galleria’s history and structure.

Via D. Morelli, 61 – c/o Parcheggio Morelli

Situated within the Morelli Parking area, this entrance is convenient for visitors arriving by car. It is an ideal starting point for those looking to explore the Via delle Memorie tour, which emphasizes the Galleria’s role during World War II. This location blends the convenience of modern infrastructure with the historical depth of the Galleria.

Via Monte di Dio, 14 – Palazzo Serra di Cassano

The entrance at Via Monte di Dio is part of the historical Palazzo Serra di Cassano. This entry is steeped in history, providing a unique starting point for the exploration of the Galleria. It’s particularly suitable for visitors interested in combining their visit with a tour of the Palazzo, experiencing a seamless blend of above and below-ground history.

Practical Tips for Visitors

  • Each entrance has its own schedule and availability, so it’s essential to check in advance.
  • Accessibility may vary, so visitors with specific needs should inquire ahead of their visit.
  • Proximity to landmarks and public transport options makes planning your visit to the Galleria Borbonica convenient.
Via Domenico Morelli, 61 c, 80121 Napoli NA