The Bourbon Tunnel was commissioned in 1853 by King Ferdinand II as an escape tunnel from the Royal Palace of Naples in case of revolution or insurrection. Sadly, his foresight did not stop the fall of the Bourbon dynasty soon after and the tunnel was never finished. Until recently it remained forgotten, a piece of fruitless architecture decaying under the city, collecting all manner of refuse and debris.
The tunnel started out as part of the Carmignano Aqueduct system, which dates back to the 17th century. It continued to supply water to the Monte di Dio district until 1866.
During the Second World War it was used as a bomb shelter and military hospital, with people living in fear for months on end in it’s ghostly caverns. After the war the government found a new purpose for it and until 1970 it was used as an impound lot for government seized contraband, much of which remains here today.
After five years of cleaning and restoration the Bourbon Tunnel was opened to the public in 2010 and taking a guided tour provides a fascinating look into nearly 500 years of Neapolitan history.