City underground in Italy and in the world

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Martí Micolau

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Le underground cities they fascinate us because we are hardly able to resist the charm of the mystery, of what is hidden and deliberately concealed. All this triggers in us a strange desire, an inexplicable mix of attraction and repulsion, the desire to explore combined with the fear of actually doing it. This feeling pervades us the moment we realize that under our feet a world branches out made up of ancient cities, tunnels and rooms. Italy and other nations are full of them. Let's find out some of them together the most beautiful underground cities.


  1. Underground cities in Italy
  2. Underground cities around the world
  3. User questions and comments

Underground cities in Italy

Our country hides many locations hidden underground. Some are simple crypts or short tunnels, others are real cities.

Underground Naples, Campania

The first underground excavations date back to around 5.000 years ago!
In the third century BC, the Greek they began to extract from the subsoil blocks of tuff necessary for the walls and temples of their Neapolis. They also excavated to create several burial cavities.
The most impressive work was done by i Romans, which endowed the city with road tunnels and a complex network of aqueducts fed by underground conduits. These tunnels are very narrow and allow just the human passage. They often branch out in all directions: the purpose was to feed fountains and houses located in different areas of the city. In some places you can still see traces of the hydraulic plaster used by the ancient engineers to waterproof the tunnels.
The undergrounds of Naples were later also used as anti-aircraft shelters to protect themselves from the bombing that hit the city. The cavities were therefore illuminated and arranged to accommodate many people who, at the sound of the siren, hurried to descend into the depths of the earth. We still find remains of furniture, graffiti and various objects in excellent condition: an important and tragic slice of life in Neapolitan history.
There are several paths to access the underground areas and former anti-aircraft shelters. Speleologists continue to study and inspect cavities that seem to never end ...

Underground Rome, Lazio

The eternal city hides many treasures under its most visible side. There are so many things to see. We suggest some of them.

  • An anonymous building on Largo Leopardi hides a small wonder: theAuditorium of Mecenate. It dates back to the st century. BC and most likely it was attached to a residential complex. Its pictorial decoration is stunning, with Dionysian scenes and miniature gardens.
  • Il Colombarium of Pomponius Hylas it is a sepulchral monument, characterized by walls full of niches. In them the ashes of the dead were deposited. Its name derives from this aspect of the environment similar to a dovecote.
  • L'Hypogeum of Via Livenza it is splendid! It is an important testimony for the history of art, but its function is still unclear today. It was probably a nymphaeum, given the scenes represented in the precious frescoes.
    A nymphaeum was a sacred building dedicated to a nymph, usually placed near a fountain or a source of water. Usually it presented tanks and aquatic plants where it was possible to stop, prepare banquets and spend moments of leisure.
  • I Underground of Santa Cecilia, under the basilica of the same name, are most likely the remains of the house of the saint herself, where she suffered martyrdom.
  • Among the most fascinating places of underground Rome, we find the Mussolini's bunker and that of the Savoy. The Duce had 3 anti-aircraft shelters built during the war: under Villa Torlonia, under the Palazzo degli Uffici all'Eur, under Palazzo Venezia. The Savoy bunker was built between 1940 and 1942 and is located in the heart of Villa Ada.
  • Le Catacombs of San Callisto they are the oldest and best preserved of the Via Appia. Along the tunnels open the Crypt of Santa Cecilia, on whose walls paintings from the V-VI century are preserved, and the Crypt of the Popes. The latter is called the "Little Vatican" as about ten popes were buried there.
  • The Mitreo and the early Christian church of San Clemente they are located about 20 meters below the present basilica. The Mitreo is characterized by stone counters on which initiates were welcomed and by a niche with the depiction of the god killing a bull. Here you will find the first dirty word written on a wall to the world: «Fili de le pute, traite, Gosmari, Albertel, traite. Falite dereto co the pole, Carvoncelle! " (translation: Sons of *********, pull! Gosmario, Albertello, pull! Carvoncello, push from behind with the pole ")

The undergrounds of Chiusi, Tuscany

At the foot of the Chiusi cathedral a veritable maze of tunnels and ravines opens up which takes the name of Labyrinth of Porsenna, mythical Etruscan lucumone that seems to have lived in the area. The structure, used for water supply and drainage, was built in the Etruscan era and has not yet been fully explored. Some scholars speculate that it was originally the famous tomb of Porsenna mentioned by Pliny the Elder, who describes the rare treasures and the difficulties of the route.
No less interesting are the so-called Catacombs of Santa Mustiola and Santa Caterina d'Alessandria. They consist of about two hundred meters of galleries, on the sides of which are the niches in which the first Tuscan Christians were buried. The catacombs were found by chance in the 600th and 800th centuries. They were buried during the barbarian invasions, perhaps to prevent the bodies from being desecrated.

Camerano, Marche

The name apparently derives from "camerone", which means large and dark room. In fact it extends under the Marche village a maze of caves, only partially explored as new tunnels always emerge. Walking through the streets of the city you walk over rooms, hypogea (underground constructions made entirely by man or re-adaptations of natural cavities), temples, galleries branched on several levels and communicating with each other. Environments rich in niches and vaults (domed, sail and barrel), columns and circular rooms. In addition, symbols, bas-reliefs and engravings pervade the rooms of this underground city. A real world we do not know why, when and how it was created.

One hypothesis concerns the use of hypogea with the function of warehouses and defensive environments. This theory does not seem to be valid given the presence of real underground temples. Furthermore, various heights are not at all random places. According to oral tradition, the caves "have always been there" and were also exploited during the Second World War as a refuge. It is assumed that the internal and underground structure was also an initiatory path and that it contained a Masonic temple. In short, it is certainly an absolutely fascinating place full of mysteries that, for now, history and the land do not seem to want to reveal.

Underground cities around the world

There are also several underground structures in the rest of the world. Some are very impressive and even disturbing ... let's discover the most interesting together.

Derinkuyu, Turkey

Cappadocia, a historic region of Turkey, is home to none other than 36 underground cities! Derinkuyu is the deepest, at about 85 meters. The network of underground tunnels, discovered in 1963, it is a real city with houses, stables, churches, warehouses, refectories, cellars…. It is thought to have held more than 20.000 people!
Opened to the public in 1965, however, only 10% of the city is now accessible to visitors. In fact, it runs between eight floors, but only four are accessible to tourists. Derinkuyu has a particular and unique feature: a cruciform church located between the third and fourth level and its ceiling consists of a barrel vault. The city was probably closed by large stone gates. Below the first Christians hid themselves to escape religious persecution and from the incursions of the Muslim Arabs.

Edinburgh, Uk

Under the streets of the Scottish city it hides an eighteenth-century damp and dark world. The Edinburgh Vaults, also called South Bridge Vaults, are a series of chambers created within the 19 arches of the South Bridge. They were opened in 1788, in a period of great growth and expansion in the city. In fact, they were built to house taverns, shoemakers, grinders, smelters and other artisans, as well as to store illicit goods ... It is rumored that serial killers Burke and Hare they also kept several corpses here to then sell them for medical experiments ...
Later this space became home to the poorest inhabitants of Edinburgh, thus transforming itself in slums dotted with pubs and brothels. A place so dark that it makes the red light districts of the worst cities of our days seem welcoming ...
Apparently there are several ghosts around here… Do you still want to take a peek?

Montreal - Réso, Canada

A huge labyrinth winds its way beneath the streets of Montreal, around the central downtown area. Is called Réso, from the French "réseau", meaning network. It houses a wide range of shops, restaurants, hotels, galleries, cinemas, seven subway stops, a library and even several apartments.
Work began in 1962 with the aim of clearing traffic and providing a sheltered communication route, particularly useful during the harsh Canadian winters. Now Réso understands 32 km of underground tunnels with more than 120 external access points. in conclusion a true modern underground city, useful and functional. Would you have ever imagined it?

Coober Pedy, Australia

Here the temperatures are hot (even reaching 50 °!) And the inhabitants have seen fit to build an underground city so as not to die roasted. Coober Pedy, also known as the Opal Capital of the World, is a city where more than 3000 inhabitants from 45 different countries live. On the surface there is almost nothing. The population, in fact, lives long an intricate network of tunnels that pass under the desert. There are over 1.500 homes here called dug-outs. The city uses a system of vents to regulate humidity. Unfortunately, however, there are no underground systems for purification and, for this reason, kitchens and bathrooms are always in the most superficial areas. Coober Pedy had the first underground hotel, in the 80s. Today it also offers bars, shops, museums and churches.

Mount Jamantau, Russia

You know the Russians own a huge underground complex in the Urals as large as the inner area of ​​the Washington DC ring road? The headquarters are said to be a 3000 feet deep compared to the summit of this gigantic quartz mountain. In reality, it is not known exactly what is under there and how it is done: the Russians are rather cautious in providing information about it. US intelligence claims either a nuclear base and / or a bunker.

The Russian government says it is a quarry, a repository of national treasures, a food warehouse and a bunker for leaders in the event of a nuclear war. You certainly know that major railways, a highway and thousands of workers they serve the immense plant. It appears to be large enough to accommodate 60.000 people, thanks to a special air filtration system, and that it has been designed to withstand a nuclear, chemical and biological attack. Furthermore, insiders argue that enough food and water are stored here to sustain the entire hypothetical underground population for even months. Unless you are from the Secret Service, at the moment you will certainly not know the truth ...

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