Puzzuoli Italy, 10 things to do and see
(in 1, 2 or 3 days)
Pozzuoli, Italy, has been a critical center during the Greek and Romans epochs, and its history is still visible on every corner of the city.
Pozzuoli is also known for the unusual phenomenon of the bradyseism, the volcanic activity that, based on the gases underground pressure, it makes increase and decrease the height of the city in comparison to the level of the sea.
Thinking about it is frightful but the feeling to be sat on a pressure cooker is not felt at all in this city, in which nature seems to have used the most beautiful colors of its palette to draw its landscape.
It is easy to imagine groups of Centurions that, armed with swords and helmets reach the amphitheater Flavio before the beginning of the shows that they will play out inside.
To convey the feeling of déjà vu contributes the bad state of certain roads and some buildings that seem built back centuries ago, but magic fade away as soon as you'll learn that the "new ruins" are only daughters of the carelessness of the modern administrations.
But Pozzuoli is still a city rich in history, natural beauties, and unique places. Here are 10 things to see and do during a visit to Pozzuoli.
The Temple of Serapide
The Temple of Serapide is not a temple! It is true that has some Roman columns and that at the center of the area it seems to be a small altar, but trust me, it is not a temple.
In reality, it is a "macellum", the ancient market inside which, during the excavations, was found a statue of the god Serapide that induced the experts to a wrong interpretation of the use of the structure.
The Temple of Serapide is also the "measurer" of Pozzuoli's bradyseism activity. The base of the temple, in fact, is connected with the sea through natural underground tunnels.
When the bradyseism is in the passive phase, the city slightly goes down under the level of the sea, and the floor of the temple disappears under different centimeters of water making the Temple of Serapide even more beautiful.
- How Much
The amphitheater of Flavio, Pozzuoli
The emperor Vespasian wanted the amphitheater of Flavio and in its inside were played theatrical shows, musical concerts and the inevitable struggle of the gladiators.
Some sources also report about real naval battles, possible thanks to a mechanism that allowed to flood the low part of the arena.
During the Middle Ages, the amphitheater Flavio of Pozzuoli has been buried from the volcanic deposits that have preserved intact its undergrounds.
During the visit, you can see the systems of chains and pulleys used for bringing from the undergrounds to the arena the cages of the fairs against which the gladiators fought.
- How Much
every day but tuesday, from 09:00 am
€ 4 per person. with the same ticket you can also visit the Thermae and Castle Baia
5 minutes afoot from the metro stop of pozzuoli
The Solfatara of Pozzuoli
The Solfatara of Pozzuoli is one of the more unusual active volcanos of the world and its presence in the Campi Flegrei it is of vital importance for the whole zone around Naples.
The Solfatara doesn't have the classical aspect of the volcano: no pointed mountains with mouths smoking, but only an expanse of hot terrain, inside which there are open lakes of boiling mud.
During the visit bring with you some newspapers and a lighter to do an experiment. Burn the paper as it was a torch and put it in one of the so many smoking holes that you'll find during the path.
After a few seconds, you will realize that the intensity of the smoke it will increase from all the mouths of the volcano due to the produced increase of the heat.
Recent studies have underlined that the sulfur vapors produced by the Solfatara, are a panacea for the sexual activity: there is still someone who complains because the exhalations have a terrible odor?!
- How Much
every day from 08:30 am
€ 6 per person, € 5 for children. free up to 4 years old
10 minutes afoot from the metro stop of pozzuoli, or Bus P9 and M1
The lake of Averno
Virgilio indicated the lake of Averno in the Eneide as the entry of the Hades, the place in which Enea had access to the Underworld.
The identification between the lake of Pozzuoli and the door of the hell is given by its origin: the Averno, in fact, born from the mouth of a volcano that slowly extinguished during the centuries.
Because of the sulfur exhalations coming from the crater, the birds that flew over the Averno died instantly, and for this reason, the ancients called it "Aornon" (the place without birds).
It is easy to imagine as Homer before, and then Virgilio has seen in this ancient volcanic lake, the connecting door between the kingdom of the alive and the dead.
Today the Lake Of Averno has a less infernal and very more pleasant aspect: it has a beautiful waterfront with Mediterranean plants, ideal to long walks or jogging.
Near the lake, is also located the cave of Sibilla, that the legend wants to be connected to the cavern of the Sibilla, sets in the zone of Cuma.
This cave, in reality, was dug in the tuff for allowing the passage of the soldiers that arrived with their ships to Portus Julius.
Today it is guarded by an elderly and nice elder, called Caronte, which with his lame walk, seems to be the masculine version of the Sibilla Cumana.
The nickname is borrowed from his father that at the beginnings of the '900, loaded the visitors on his shoulders to help them keep the feet dry, "ferrying them" on both sides of the cave.
The Acropolis of Cuma
The Acropolis of Cuma picks up the rests of the ancient city that the Greek built on the Flegrei banks around 740 B.C.
The archaeological park perfectly exposes different centuries of history, and it is a precious testimony of the organization of the city that developed around the banks of the Averno.
The history of Cuma tells of a city of high power, that known how to unite a farming activity and the maritime commerce.
Cuma has succeeded in withstanding the continuous attacks of the near populations much longer than Pozzuoli because it is strengthened and sets higher.
Inside the acropolis of Cuma, is located the suggestive Cavern of the Sibilla, the mystical place in which Enea met the prophetess.
The Sibilla Cumana was a priestess of Apollo that wrote her prophecies on leaves dragged by the wind in the long gallery that connects the room of the Priestess with the entry.
The god Apollo offered to Sibilla the possibility to make true one of her desires in exchange for her devotion as Priestess.
Sibilla asked to live so many years how many grains of sand she could hold in her hand, but she didn't ask for the eternal youth, so its body was forced to inexorably grow old, up to be consumed entirely, all that remains in the cavern was her voice.
According to Virgilio the Sibilla Cumana foretold the future to Enea and accompanied him to the Averno and from there in the Hades in search of his father.
Caligula is perhaps one of the oddest emperors of all the Roman history. A particular guy, there is no denying it.
The testimonies tell of a non-social person, smitten with himself and ready to get everything he desired by every mean.
In Pozzuoli, Caligula has given proves of his madness building a dock. Put like that, the thing doesn't seem so absurd, the detail that underlines the folly of Caligula is in the motivation that he brought to support the construction of the dock.
The emperor pretended that the structure should connect the city of Pozzuoli with Ischia so that he could reach the island mounting his horse.
Some recent studies have tried to attribute the strangeness of the emperor to the "lead poisoning", a trouble of the personality caused by the lead.
It seems that the Romans loved preserving the wine in lead leather bags, to keep it colder. A reasonable explanation but Caligola has also been the only Roman emperor to name senator his horse!
The Montenuovo is the youngest volcano in Europe, come to light during the eruptions of 1538.
Its birth is astonishing, observatories of the epoch affirm that the mountain rose in just two days.
The chronicles tell that September 28, 1538, the sea withdrew for around 400 meters, leaving on the beach many fishes, picked up by the population as a divine benediction.
In the turn of twenty-four hours, however, the same god that had given so much abundance instigated the apocalypse. The earth was torn swallowing the medieval city of Tripergola and returning lapilli, lava, and incandescent muds.
The quantity of material that came out of the abdomen of the earth created a cloud that dissolved only after two days.
Today it is the youngest dormant volcano in Europe, and on its slopes, the thick vegetation accompanies the visitors during the tour to the oasis of Montenuovo.
every day from 09:00 am. saturday and sunday there is the possibility of guided exurstion
10 minutes from ARCO FELICE's station of the Cumana line
The waterfront of Pozzuoli
The waterfront of Pozzuoli is one of the places more attended of the city, both in the daytime and at night.
The proximity with the sea makes it the destination of the bathers that in the summer assault its rocky beaches.
The waterfront is also the place of the flegrea nightlife: there are pub, restaurants, and pizzerie.
In the summer evenings, it is practically impossible to find a parking lot, better arriving here afoot enjoying the panorama.
Sanctuary of St. Gennaro
To understand the importance of the Sanctuary of St. Gennaro you need to know the history of the killing of the Saint.
Arrested for an order of the governor Dragonzio, together with other Christians, he was brought in the amphitheater Flavio to been torn into pieces from the fairs (some tell of bears, others of wolves, others still of lions).
Instead of banqueting with the group of Christians, the beasts crouched at the feet of the Saint, irritating the governor that commuted the punishment in decapitation.
The bottles with the blood that becomes liquid, preserved in the Cathedral in Naples are famous, but few know that the Sanctuary of Pozzuoli protects the stone on which the Saint was beheaded.
Via San Gennaro – Pozzuoli
Park Avellino of Pozzuoli is a green lung in the superior part of the city. Initially, the park was the private garden of the Villa Avellino of the'500.
The park offers the sight of some rests of the antiquity. Here we can find Roman ruins, an enormous ancient cistern, and the famous "mascherone", going back to the Flavia age.
The park is the perfect place for a brief relax after a long walk, without losing the contact with the ancient world.