Beyond the borders of Naples, there is the town of Pozzuoli, rich in history, culture, and nature.
Nature gave Pozzuoli extraordinary landscapes. You can admire here very particular natural phenomena like solfatara and bradyseism. Even time has been generous preserving until now a submerged town, a subterranean town whose passages intertwine in a labyrinth of streets and alleys giving the opportunity to go over the everyday life of the past.
And here, among ancient ruins, among the alleys of rione Terra, in a town where each stone has its story and a past to tell, the challenge of technological innovation presents itself as a thin thread between past and future.
(the following links lead to Italian texts)
Naples, a city of art, opens as an amphitheater on the sea and is
delimited by Vesuvius, by the coastal mountains, and by the islands of
Capri, Ischia, and Procida and by Capo Miseno.
Situated in the middle of the Mediterranean, administrative center of Regione Campania and "Capital" of the South of Italy, Naples covers today an area of 117.27 sq.km with a population of about 1,020,120 inhabitants.
Its history is well known by now; the first colonization of the territory dates back to the 9th century BC, almost 3,000 years ago when "Anatolian and Achaean merchants and travellers reached the gulf to head for the mining markets of the upper Tyrrheanian Sea" and founded Partenope in the area including the holm of Megaride (the present Castel dell'Ovo) and the Promontory of Mt. Echia (the present Monte di Dio and Pizzofalcone).
(the following links lead to Italian texts)
At the Solfatara, near Pozzuoli, it is possible to see a crater of boiling
lava from close up, with its vapors and steaming muds. This active
volcano can be visited and represents one of the main attractions of
Campi Flegrei. It is surrounded by a disturbing atmosphere: the earth
tormented by fire creates a surreal scenery with unimaginable colors.
Born almost 4,000 years ago in the middle of Campi Flegrei, the Solfatara (from late Latin Sulpha Terra, that is "sulfur land") is characterized by lively fumaroles, sources of gas and mineral water, spouts of hot mud, and earthquakes.
The largest fumarole is Bocca Grande, a natural source of steam under pressure, gushing out at 160°C and consisting of various gases giving the air the characteristic smell of "rotten eggs".
D'Averno Lake is surrounded by hills covered with woodlands.
The sober landscape and still waters led ancient people to consider it the gates of the underworld (Aeneid, Odyssey). The name Avernus derives from the Greek "aornon", meaning "with no birds", which, frightened by the gates of the underworld, escaped.
In the 1st century AD, Emperor Augustus decided to create here a naval base, the so-called Portus Julius, linking the two lakes to the sea through some channels. However, the new port silted up in a short time and, while the fleet moved to Miseno, the shores of the lakes filled up with villas and spas.
The imposing building (58x75m) known as "temple of Serapis" (for the
finding of a statue of an Egyptian god which is preserved today in the
National Archaeological Museum of Naples) is one of the most important
examples of "macellum" we have. The "macellum" was the foodstuffs
market built between the end of the 1st and the beginning of the 2nd
century AD and restored at the time of the Severi dynasty (3rd century
AD). It is known since 1750, when the excavations undertaken thanks to
King Charles Bourbon began. They lasted, with ups and downs, until
The building has a square plan and a central yard surrounded by porticos paved with marble and bordered with 30 columns made with the granite of Troade, around which the shops were placed according to the canonical scheme of the Roman markets. There was probably also an upper floor, as demonstrated by the presence of a staircase in the southern corner and by the finding not only of granite columns, but also of smaller columns made with the cipolin coming from the Greek island of Eubea.
The Archaeological Museum of Campi Flegrei is situated since 1993 in
the Aragonese Castle of Baia, built by Francesco di Giorgio Martini on
behalf of King Alfonso (1490-1493), which was then largely restructured
in the viceroyal age.
Going beyond the entrance, you will find the "Gessi di Baia" displayed in an environment opening at the base of the walls of the complex. The "Gessi" are an extraordinary group of plaster casts fragments dating back to Roman times, directly coming from the most famous Greek sculptures of the classic age, mainly in bronze, which have been irremediably lost.
The casts were used as models by a workshop of local sculptors specialized in creating marble copies of the Greek original sculptures the Roman nobles used to place as status symbols in their villas at Campi Flegrei.
The so-called "Piscina Mirabilis" is another wonderful monument we can
find in Misene. Misene was the name of one of Ulysses' partners and the
location was named after him; according to another version by Virgil,
Miseno was Aeneas' bugler, who dared to challenge Triton and was
therefore thrown in this stretch of sea.
The decision to place here the Roman port after Portus Julius had silted up was taken for the features of the site, which had a double basin with an outer harbor mush deeper than that of Averno port and with no silting up problems. After cutting the isthmus between the two basins, the dock and quays were placed around the Dead Sea, while on the promontory the colony of Misenum was built. The latter soon became the seat of the famous classis praetoria misenatis, the most imposing Roman military fleet.