Gothic Haunts: Ghost Stories from Naples [ARTICLE]

Castle From Naples

An example of a Neapolitan Castle. (Photo courtesy of TinyPic. Reference: )

The beautiful and charming Italian city of Naples, so rich of history, art and beauty, is also famous for its ghost stories, concerning the famous Castles of the city, Castel dell’Ovo ( we can translate it as “Egg Castle”) and the Maschio Angioino.

Called at one time “Marine Castle” or “Sea’s Castle,” Castel dell’Ovo owes its current name to the profile of its ovoid shape. But the legend says that it was the poet Virgil to give it that name, and  this came after hiding an egg (contained in a bottle or in a glass jar in turn inside a cage of iron) in a room of the castle,.  A prisoner, whose fate would depend  precisely on the fate of that egg, would be held in suspension in that room.

During  the reign of Giovanna I d’Angiò (1326 – 1382), continues the legend,  the egg broke and the castle fell down hopelessly, but it was the Queen herself to to rebuild it by substituting the broken egg with another one.

Another text instead wants the legendary city of Naples placed entirely on an egg.

Another text still speaks of the presence of two castles, both surrounded entirely by the sea, each of them placed on an egg. One day one of the two eggs was carelessly broken by a man, causing the collapse of their castle. Remained the other egg, on which the survived castle is still today.

Many people claim to have seen and heard the so-called ghost of the “Knight with the broken arm,” a prisoner who roams the basement of the building, where in fact disappeared several prisoners, who, or were able to escape, or starving, or remained victims of the sea that enters the basement of the castle, killed them and then taking away their bodies with the withdrawal of water.

The knight probably drowned with one arm chained to the wall while the water filled the cell. According to witnesses, he would run around the walls and then would enter the castle. Others would have heard his moans coming from the dungeons of the castle, and his voice repeatedly invoke the lost arm.

After that some guardians  have found in the basement shreds of human flesh, began to spread  the terrible rumor of the “monster of the castle”, probably a crocodile or some other similar animal, hidden in the basement and in whose mouth fell unsuspecting prisoners.

At night, these castles can become quite ominous.

At night, these castles can become quite ominous. (Image used courtesy of TinyPic, exact url:

Castel Nuovo, also known as “Maschio Angioino,” was wanted by Charles of Anjou in the thirteenth century to replace the older and now outdated Egg Castle, and rebuilt several times due to fires and destruction, the famous monument is inextricably linked to the history of the city of Naples, and in its grandeur inspires in those who crossed the threshold mixed feelings: admiration, awe, anxiety. Yes, because in the old rooms still echo the cries of terror of the lovers of Queen Joanna, who lived in the fifteenth century, who after a night in the arms of the young partner made ​​them disappear in the basement where they were devoured by a crocodile brought in specially from Egypt.

In the halls of the castle hovers instead the ghost of insatiable Giovanna, who has been spotted on several occasions by the custodians, and sometimes also by the visitors, as he wanders restlessly, perhaps still looking for some young lover.

In the basement of the castle there were also discovered four chests, in which were visible four dead bodies dating back to the period between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Among them also a prelate, with his hands tied, probably dead by suffocation. They’re the unfortunate protagonists of the infamous “conspiracy of the barons”, supported by Pope Innocent VIII, which broke out in Naples between 1485 and 1486 during the reign of Ferdinand I (or Ferrante) of Aragon (1431-1494).

Using as a ploy the fake marriage of one of his nephews, organized in the great hall of the Aragonese castle and at which were in fact invited the most important barons of the kingdom, the king managed to arrest the main culprits of the conspiracy, and then he killed them in prisons and embalm in some chests.

 It is believed that the spirits of the conspirators, yet without peace, roam the dungeon of the castle demanding justice.

As you can see, Naples is not only the sunny city famous for the Italian pizza, but also a place full of mistery and dark beauty.

-Mariarita Cupersito

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Author: Mariarita Cupersito

Mariarita Cupersito is an Italian gothic writer. She collects Venetian masks, reads lots of books, comics and manga. She loves music, all Tim Burton's movies, and, sometimes, she tries extreme sports.

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