The ancient core of the town can be related to he Greek-Roman city (Rettifilo – Street Foria – Street Tribunali). Roads following the ancient main road of the city, (composed of vertical axes “Decumani” and horizontal axes “stenopoi” characterizing the Greek town-planning of the fifth century.) The area where Neapolis arose was fortified by tuff walls.
Later there was the need to reinforce the walls and partly rebuild some new ones. (IV century).
Due to the adjustment of the wall circle, the city managed to withstand the attack by Hannibal. Remains of these fortifications are still present in Piazza Bellini.
During Roman age the walls restoration led to cover them with plaster, and in 440 they were extended to the west for the defense of the port from the Goths.
Some remains are still visible in Piazza Bellini, they are composed of tuff blocks in double curtain with double system of spurs. Due to its tufa quality and the construction technique and especially considering the quarry signs, we can date these findings in the fourth century and it is possible that this line of walls belonged to a defensive tower.
Under the hospital of the Incurable there is another stretch of wall dating back to the fifth century. Built in grainy tuff blocks, 10.50 meters high. The wall is firmly built in the hill, thanks to series of spurs beds at about 3 meters from each other.
Rare are the signs of the quarry, which are ofte seen on the blocks of the fourth century.
The Dioscuri Temple.
Father Gods of the city were Apollo, Demeter and the Dioscuri. The worship of the god Apollo, is due to the Apollo founder of the motherland Cuma. Demeter was worshiped as Altaea in Naples and in her honor was celebrated the feast of lamps. Of Castor and Pollux, we preserve the remains in the church of San Paolo Maggiore. The church of San Paolo Maggiore was built between the eighth and ninth centuries exactly above the pre-existing temple dedicated to the Dioscuri.
The old structure was preserved until 1538 when it was partially demolished by fathers Teatini to build the present church with the facade and appearance that we see today. Of the ancient look, only the Renaissance drawings by Palladio still remain.
Thanks to these drawings it was possible to reconstruct the architecture and style of the temple, which stood on a podium with hexastyle front, with two Corinthian columns on the lapels. The few remains are from the Roman period and almost certainly have been modified by a restoration which took place around the first century.
The ancient Theatre.
We have only a few remains about the ancient theater. The few findings are of Roman age.
The inability to make excavations, makes the hypothesis of the presence of the ancient greek theater, just under the ruins of the known theatre , unverifiable.
The literary evidence telling us about the theater are exclusively of Roman age, related to the passion of some emperors for the theater. Claudius Nero considered the Neapolitan play, the only one to be considered worthy of being seen by an emperor of his importance. Nero was responsible for the invention of “Claque” or a group of persons appointed to loudly express their appreciation for the play in progress.
Well preserved is the building of the scene. The external fasade was divided into three orders, each of 23 arches, on pillars which stood against semicolumns.
The seat capacity was for about 8000 people. The absence of excavations makes difficult the dating of the remains, which appear to be of the first century.
We know with certainty it was damaged by several earthquakes and the eruption of Vesuvius in 79, but it remains unknown, although plausible, the possibility that the remains we see today have undergone some restoration work.
Next to the theater there was the Odeion. We have some proofs about it from the Neapolitan poet Statius, who lived in the time of Domitian.
Today of this building there are very few remains embedded in modern buildings. About other nearby buildings ,as the thermal bath and caesareum (art gallery) only some literary memory remains.
Statue of the Nile
Nile Square is named after the statue of a river god.
The statue is an old man lying, resting with his left side on a rock from which water flows. He is anteriorly covered by a mantle and posteriorly naked. Under his feet there is a crocodile, and the presence of the sphinx alludes to Egypt. It was found in 1500 and only in 1734 it was placed on the current stand.
Following several and important renovations, very little remains of its original appearance.
Tomb of Virgil
Near the church of Piedigrotta you can see the tomb of the poet Virgil. It is a funerary monument standing on a cubic base, the wall structure is made of concrete.
Inside the base there is the burial chamber, a square plan with a barrel vault lighted by three slots.
In front of the new Spa, some ruins were found allowing us to determine with certainty the existence of a much older spa complex.
The main building was built on a terrace supported by wall buttressed by pillars, another wall with 9 exedras stretched to the west.
Due to the long use during the Middle Age, the plant got altered in its original structure. Among the findings, great importance has the statue of the Sea Venus, now preserved in the new spa.
Submerged in the sea, because of bradyseism, there are some inaccessible ruins of the villas which from the first century stood at the foot of the Posillipo hill.
Near Gaiola remains have been found of an Odeion.
The monuments found in the area confirm that the hill was considered a magnificence, especially thanks to the extraordinary view it allows to admire the gulf.
The most famous villa is the one by Vedio Pollio, a complex called pausilypon.
Also we can watch and still cross the cave of Sejanus, a 800m long pass, crossing the hill and reaching the area of Coroglio.