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Cenni storici

It was founded in 530 B. C by political exiles from Samos who gave the city the auspicious name of "Dicaearchia"which means" just government".Being on Cumaean territory, it was, at first, subject to Cumae, fell in 421 B.C un der the power of the Campanians and in 338 B. C under the Romans, who during the Punic wars, acknowledged its importance as a trading and military port. Then it changed its name into that of Puteoli (small wells) and be came one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean, so that it was called Delus minor" and "litora mundi hospita" The industries of glass, terra cotta, perfumes, textiles, colours and iron developed considerably, owing to the presence of local skilled workers educated to Phoenician, Hellenistic and Egyptian traditions. Through its port Puteoli also assimilated other civilisations and religions. It is, in fact, historically established that St. Paul landed at Puteoli in A.D. 61, found a Christian community in the city and stayed there for a week. Puteoli thrived as long as its port met the requirements of Roman trade, but suffered a great blow when the Romans built the port of Ostia owing to downward bradyseism, which submerged harbour facilities, and to the fall of Rome Puteoli became a small fishermen's centre and, in the Middle Ages, tourists came to the Phlegraean area only to take thermal treatments . After the eruption of Monte Nuovo in 1538, the social, economic and city plan situation of Pozzuoli began to improve thanks to the Spanish viceroy, don Pedro de Toledo.



The name comes from the Latin sturnis, because of the abundance of birds, or from strioni (sorcerers). It is a beautiful and undamaged crater with a luxuriant vegetation made up of ilexes, chestnut trees oaks,elms and poplars.



The Sofflatara volcano, whose elliptic crater has a major axis of 770 m. and a minor one of 580 m., was formed 4000 years ago0 and is the only one in the Phlegrean Fields which still exhibits an impressive fumarolic activity. In the crater you can observe such interesting phenomem as jets of sulphurous steam, small volcanoes spitting hot mud and bubbling jets of sand. The last eruption of the Solfatara is calculated to have taken place in 1198 A.D.


Neronian - Flavian Amphitheatre

Begun under Nero and completed by Vespasian (69-79 A.D.), this amphitheatre is the third largest in Italy. The main axis measures 149 metres and the transverse one 116 meters. It could accommodate up to 20,000 spectators. The subterranean structures are in a perfect state of preservation and nowhere else is it possible to get so clear an idea of the complicated mechanism required for the hoisting of the caged wild beasts up to the arena. In 305 A.D., unde the emperor
Diocletian, seven christian martyrs were condemned to be th rown to the wild beasts in the arena of the amphitheatre:

 Januarius, Festus and Desiderius from Beneventum. Sosius from Misenum,Proculus,Euthyches and Acutius from Pozzuoli; they were later beheaded near the Solfatara





During the excavations, which were begun in 1750, a statue of the Egyptian god Serapis was found and therefore the edifice was mistakenly held to be a temple. It is L. however nothing else but the "macellum" or the city market annexed to the port area ( I- II c. AD). The three columns of grey cipolin bear evident traces of th boles made by lithodomi (marine molluscs) and show the effects of bradyseism (slow upward and downward movement of the earth 's crust). The Macellum is enclosed in a rectangular area with a porticoed court and a row of "tabernae" (shops) down each side In the middle of the court rises a "tholos", a kind of circular temple whose entablature was supported by sixteen columns. There is a sort of apse in the end wall preceded by four massive columns, of which three are still erect and one lies on the ground. 

The magnificence of the building can be seen in the marble revetments of the central court as well as of the two larger rooms at each end of the apse, which were public lavatories. 


This quarter, rising steeply above the sea, was the oldest nucleus of the Greek city, the acropolis, the citadel, the "castrum" and the religious centre. it preserves considerable traces of the street network of 194 B. C, when a Roman colony was established in Pozzuoli. On 2 March 1970, because of the phenomenon of bradyseism, the quarter was evacuated and, after a long period of neglect and pillage, works have just begun to make it utilizable again.




Few places in the Phlegraean Fields evoke Homer; Virgil and the cult of the otherworld more than lake Avernus believed by the ancients to be the entrance to Hades (the Underworld).

It is a lake of volcanic origin, its depth at the centre reaches about 34 metres. In 37 B. C.
Agrippa linked it by a canal first with lake Lucrino and later with the sea, and transformed lake Avernus into an impressive dockyard (Portus julius).


LAKE AVERNUS - "Temple of Apollo"

 On the eastern shore of Lake Avernus you can admire the imposant thermal hall known as the "Temple of Apollo", which dates from the reign of Hadrian (2nd century A.D.). It had originally a domed roof and its diameter (about 38 m.) is a little less than that of the Pantheon in Rome.



Brought to light after the burning of the cathedral in 1964, which revealed beautiful corinthian columns, the so-called Temple of Augustus was the city's "Capitolium" during the republican age. By will of Lucius Calpurnius a rich Puteolan merchant, it was rebuilt by the architect Lucius Cocceius Auctus during the age of Augustus :it was converted into a Christian church between the 5th and the 6th, century A.D. and then into a cathedral. It was remodeled in the Baroque style during the episcopate of Martino de Len y Cardenas (1631-1650). It is now ~ under restoration.




The construction of this monument dates back to the reign of Hadrian (2nd century A. D). It is a grandiose archeological complex and may be included amongst the most imposing thermal establishments of ancient Puteoli.




Monte Nuovo (140 m. high) is the youngest mountain in Europe and was formed after a volcanic eruption on 29 September 1538. This eruption, preceded by numerous earthquakes, swallowed up the village of Tripergole on the east shore of Lake Lucrino and caused the depopulation of Pozzuoli.



In 37 B.C, during the civil war between Octavian and Sextus Pompeius M. Vipsanius Agrippa, Octavian 's strategist, ordered the construction of a navigable canal connecting Lake Avernus Lake Lucrino and the sea and created a grandiose naval base (Portus Julius) which was used as a dockyard for the fleet of Misenum. Owing to the descending phase of bradyseism Portus Julius is mostly submerged, when the sea is calm, however imposant remains of port structures and of some suburban "vici" " can still be seen between Pozzuoli and Baia.



This grandiose construction, 20 m. high and 6 m. wide, is a deep cutting through Mount Grillo made by the Romans in order to provide an easier transit from cumae to Pozzuoli on the Domitian Road




La Bacheca con articoli culturali e turistici dei Campi Flegrei.Itinerario Archeologico di Stampe dell'700 ed 800 riguardante i Campi Flegrei.Il Mito dei Campi Flegrei racchiuso in immagini fotografiche e informazioni di come visitarlo.

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