Galleria Borbonica (Bourbon Tunnel)

Historic Site in Naples

Galleria Borbonica
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Associazione Culturale Borbonica Sotterranea

The Bourbon Tunnel, or Galleria Borbonica in Italian, is a historic underground passage in Naples, Italy, originally designed for military purposes. It was intended to connect the Royal Palace of Naples with the military barracks via Morelli, running beneath the Pizzofalcone hill and extending to the San Ferdinando quarter. The tunnel was part of a broader network that included connections to other tunnels and the old Carmignano aqueduct, constructed between 1627 and 1629.

The decision to build this passage was driven by the monarchy’s fears of the revolution-prone Neapolitan populace during the reign of King Ferdinand II of Bourbon. The memory of the Viceroy of Naples narrowly escaping the Revolt of Masaniello in 1647 by fleeing the urban Royal Palace likely influenced the design to include an escape route for the royal family.

The architect Errico Alvino was tasked with the tunnel’s design, envisioning a dual-lane tunnel flanked by sidewalks. It was to have two main exits: one to the west on Via della Pace (present-day Via Morelli, which Alvino also opened in 1853) opposite the Caserma della Vittoria barracks, and another to the east near Piazza Carolina, behind the basilica of San Francesco di Paola. The tunnel, initially named Galleria Reale, would have its lanes named Strada Regia leading to Chiaia and Strada Regina in the opposite direction.

However, the fall of the Bourbon dynasty just two years after construction began brought the project to an abrupt halt. During World War II, the tunnel found a new purpose as a bomb shelter. Today, it is open to the public for tours, offering a unique glimpse into Naples’ underground history and its architectural decay. The tunnel houses various historical debris, including vintage cars and a discarded fascist monument originally intended for Aurelio Padovani, adding to its allure as a testament to the city’s complex past.

There are three entrances:

  • Vico del Grottone, 4 – Piazza del Plebiscito area
  • Via D. Morelli, 61 – c/o Morelli Parking
  • Via Monte di Dio, 14 – Palazzo Serra di Cassano – Int. A14

The Galleria Borbonica (Bourbon Tunnel) appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Naples!

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Visiting Galleria Borbonica (Bourbon Tunnel)


Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holidays:

Tour Start times: 10:00 am, 12:00 pm, 3pm, 5pm



Address: Galleria Borbonica - Ingresso Via Morelli, Via Domenico Morelli, Naples, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy
Duration: 20 minutes
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