Myths and Legends of Naples: the 3 most famous

The myth and legend have always cloaked Naples and the history of the city is full of secrets, stories of ghosts, benevolent spirits or evil ghosts that are still part of the beliefs of the citizens. The story itself of the founding of the city has its roots in one of the most famous legends, that of the Neapolitan mermaid, so that one of the adjectives to identify the citizens is still parthenopean.

Between Munaciello, Bella ‘ Mbriana, the Magic egg of Castel Dell’ovo, the ghosts in palaces and fortresses and witches, there are many tales that have passed down from many generations and that make Naples a city full of mystery.

Partenope’s legends

There are two famous legends about Partenope, considered the founder of Naples. The first derives from Homer’s Odyssey, which tells that Ulysses was the only one who did not suffer the effects of the melodious singing of the three sirens, causing them to commit suicide. The body of one of the three, Partenope, was dragged to the islet of Megaride, where today stands the Castel Dell’ovo, then dissolving, and according to the myth was transformed into the current landscape of the city.
The second version narrates that Partenope was a Greek maiden in love with Cimone whose love was opposed by her father. The two decided to flee, arriving on the Neapolitan coasts, and here the woman began to be hailed by the citizens because on her journey the earth became more and more fertile.

The Legend of the Castle Dell’Ovo

The Castel Dell’ovo on the seafront of Naples owes its name to an ancient legend that involves Virgil. The Latin poet, also considered a magician in the Middle Ages, would have hidden a magical egg in the dungeon of the castle to ensure that it never collapsed. In fact, its eventual rupture would cause the destruction of the fortress and the whole city. The egg was never found, but it is said that it is in a container of water in an iron cage hanging from an oak girder in a room of the dungeons. In the sixteenth century a collapse of the arch made panic spread among the inhabitants and Queen Joan I was forced to swear to have replaced the egg.

Crocodile at the Castle Nuovo

A legend, narrated both from the cross and from Dumas, tells of the presence of a ravenic crocodile in one of the graves of Maschio Angioino. Used to lock down the prisoners to be punished more rigidly, it became a mysterious place because they disappeared for no apparent reason until the presence of the animal was discovered. It is said that he came to Naples from Egypt with Queen Joan II who exploited him to feed the lovers he wanted to eliminate. Since then, there has been recourse to make the people more uncomfortable to the kingdom, but it was Ferrante of Aragon to have him killed by suffocating him with a leg of horse.

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