Posted by Fulvio/Larry June 8, 2010
Yet once again, fragmentary information on a local web site tells a long repeating tragic story from Naples’ unstable underground. Up a steep street disappearing back into the ancient, densely packed “Spanish Quarters” at #37 Colonne a Carita, an entire building has been evacuated after dangerous cracks and structural damage resulted from an underground soil washout.
The Spanish Quarter, in the ancient historic center is one of the most dilapidated, squalid and difficult areas of the city. It is a huge warren of narrow intersecting alleys and ancient buildings badly in need of repair and others that are totally abandoned. The Quarter sits atop a maze of tunneled channels, reservoirs, and cisterns that once were part of the Carmignano aqueduct. During WWII, these large cavities were used as air raid shelters where tens of thousands of residents fled during allied bombardment of Naples.
Further, the entire Quarter climbs up the hills above the city which means that there has always been perilous erosion of the loose volcanic subsoil.
It just so happens that NUg is very familiar with the area below the collapsing building which was surveyed by the Southern Speleological Society in 1984.
Again it seems clear that the City of Naples should undertake a complete emergency study of the fragile underground beneath the now condemned building.
Link below is to two photos from the NUg Cavity database of the area below the threatened building. The first photo shows one of the huge quarried cavities that has been totally filled with debris dropped from overhead access shafts over the years. The second photo shows a long access stairwell dug right into the tuff sandstone which led to an improvised air raid shelter.
Download PDF in English for extensive study of the "Subsoil of Naples".