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The Providential Resource of the City of the Five Thou Caves



The Providential Resource of the Metropolis of the Five Thousand Caves

This morning I received an E-mail telling about finding an historical document about the Neapolitan underground and that it would be of great interest to our research.

Attached to the mail was a file with a scan of a page from the Corriere della Sera newspaper dated June 21, 1943 with an article by Dino Buzzati, titled, "Security of the Second Naples", with the subheadline, "The providential resource of the metropolis of the five thousand caves, already partially transformed into shelters". The article was immediately extremely interesting also because it was not just an article published about the South featuring the air raid shelters in Naples and the good fortune of this city, but the article also detailed a survey of the city's convenient underground maze of cavities, tunnels and reservoirs that would be transformed into air raid shelters for the protection of the city's population during the allied bombing of the city.

The article begins with a description, somewhat romanticized, of what residents experienced during an air raid alarm providing a glimpse, but very realistic, at the what took place. It shed light upon the humanity and suffering of the people who dashed for the safety of the air raid shelters.

In the second part of the article, the writer, who certainly must have had the opportunity to have visited the caverns below Naples, presents a brief synopsis of the story of the Naples underground, citing the work of engineer, Guglielmo Melisurgo, who in his, "Napoli Sotterranea - Rete dei canali d'acqua profonda" provided the first map, albeit just descriptive, of the channels, the cisterns and the antique aqueducts. Also in the newspaper story the name of engineer La Fianza who, with the rank of "Counsel of the Antiaircraft Militia", for eight years undertook the rediscovery of ancient cisterns beneath the city for conversion into air raid shelters; antique cisterns long forgotten by the city's residents.

The article, interestingly, reported on what happened back then in WWII, and also on what is happening again today. The Neapolitans have once more forgotten the locations where for centuries residents drew their water, and later during WWII, the caverns that saved their lives and today, pitifully, are used as enormous deep trash cans where people dump every kind of imaginable kind of vile refuse.

Our sincerest thanks to Andrea Thum, of S.C.A.M. and the National Federation of Artificial Cavities who, from far away, has exhibited more concern and interest for the story of our Naples underground than most Neapolitans.

The articlefrom the "Corriere Della Sera from 1943

The Database of the 428 Public Neapolitan Antiaircraft Shelters

Our Video of the Public Neapolitan Antiaircraft Shelters - Michael Pulley

For more news and fascinating information, visit Napoliunderground.org

Translation - Larry Ray


New member

The picture of the Greco-Roman aqueduct riminded me of the 'coffin levels' that we see in old lead mines here in the UK. They are of a similar size, a little lower and tapered to the head and feet giving a 'coffin' shaped section.
In those tunnels you can also see the pic-marks formed in sweeping arcs from the top forward to the bottom of the passage, the spacing of each arc is usually 2 inches as this was the optimum ammount of rock to remove. I believe that the excavation was done by placing a pick against the rock and then striking an anvil at the back of the pick with a hammer.



Beautiful photography.
Much equal one to the underground of Naples.
It watches this film.