Phlegraean fields: visit the neapolitan supervolcano

Phlegraean fields: visit the neapolitan supervolcano

The Campi Flegrei (from the Greek Flegrà "burning", therefore the meaning of "Campi Ardenti") is a place rich in paradisiacal beauty, unfairly unknown by many Italians. This area is located a few kilometers from the historic center of Naples and, starting from the Neapolitan districts of Agnano and Bagnoli, incorporates various municipalities such as Pozzuoli, Bacoli and its hamlet Baia, until to arrive at Monte di Procida and its islet of San Martino.

In this area there is so much to see that you won't have to worry about the weather conditions: whether it's sunny or rainy, the benefit of your own vehicles and guide is a greater flexibility so unpredictable weather won’t interfere with your enjoyment of the city.

Phlegraean fields: the history

In this area there are about 40 mostly inactive volcanoes with a very ancient geological history.

Here is a phenomenon called "bradyseism" which literally means slow shock. It is a phenomenon linked to volcanism which consists of periodic lowering or raising of the soil (called positive or negative bradyseism, respectively) in the order of 1cm per year. This phenomenon cannot be perceived by humans, but is visually recognized along the seashore, as it shows the emergence or submersion of buildings, coasts and territories. Because of this phenomenon, the ancient city of Baia is completely submerged, but today it is possible to visit it because it is part of one of the best preserved marine archaeological parks in the world.

Destination of the "Grand Tour" like Sorrento, the Amalfi coast and Naples, the Phlegraean Fields have always amazed those who have visited them in time. About Phlegran Fields also wrote the Marquis de Sade, saying, "The outskirts of Naples are the most wonderful in the world. The destruction and the chaos of the volcanoes incline the soul to imitate the criminal hand of nature ... "We - I said to my friends - look like these volcanoes and the virtuous people in the monotonous and desolate Piedmontese plain."

Moreover, as for the Vesuvius, there are also some unique rocks and minerals, not present in any other part of the world, like Dimorfite, Marialite, Voltaite, Misenite (found only in Miseno and in some areas of Chile). In the last three millennia, they have not suffered natural catastrophic events, except once in 1538 with the eruption of Monte Nuovo. This has allowed over time to have fertile and welcoming territories, which have housed civilizations such as Greeks and Romans up to the last kings of Naples, the Bourbons, who have from time to time enriched this place with monuments and architectures that will amaze you.

Phlegraean fields: visit the neapolitan supervolcano

You should to stay in the area for a few days to be able to visit it well; however, if you stay only one day, you can’t miss:

  • Cuma, an ancient city steeped in myth, inhabited until 1200, which today is located between Pozzuoli and Bacoli, which has a beautiful Acropolis, where is the temple of the Oracle of the famous Cumana Sibyl, the prophetess who revealed to Aeneas in the Aeneid his destiny as founder of Rome.

  • Baia, the ancient submerged city a few kilometers from the coast. Called "the little Rome" according to ancient legends reported by Strabo, it takes its name from Baios, Ulysses' knuckleman who is buried here.
    Baia is home to Giulio Cesare and Nerone's summer villas and was one of the richest and most famous cities of the Imperial Rome era, especially for its thermal baths, until one day there was a violent bradyseism phenomenon and the sea completely covered the plain where most of the city rose, saving only the small hilly area that today is part of the municipality of Bacoli. That’s why Baia has become since 2007 an extraordinary Marine Archaeological Park, which can be visited if you are an expert with underwater excursions or snorkeling or even renting a boat with a transparent bottom to see the underwater city while remaining perfectly dry. In Baia you can also visit the Aragonese Castle, an ancient star-shaped fortress, whose terrace overlooking the sea is one of the best observation points of the Phlegraean Fields with a breathtaking view. In the Aragonese Castle there is also the Archaeological Museum of the Phlegraean Fields, where there are some of the magnificent finds found in the Gulf of Pozzuoli.

  • Pozzuoli is the largest municipality of the Phlegraean Fields, where Sofia Loren was born. The city has an enchanting 17th century historic center and magnificent Roman monuments, such as the Flavian Amphitheater, the fourth largest in Europe, the Temple of Serapis and the Lake of Averno, indicated by the poet Virgil as the hell’s gate. Because of brasisism, in 1970 the ancient Terra district was evacuated, but you can visit it today. At about three kilometers from the city center of Pozzuoli, it is also absolutely worth visiting the Sulfatara of Pozzuoli, an ancient volcanic crater still active but in a quiescent state, whose activity is manifested by the phenomena of secondary volcanism called fumaroles (that is steam emanation and volcanic gases present near craters or flanks of active volcanoes) in hydrothermal areas where the volcanic centers are no longer active (as in Ischia).

  • The Solfatara of Pozzuoli is therefore today a vent valve of the magma present under the Phlegraean Fields, and maintains a constant pressure of underground gases. It has an elliptical shape with diameters of seven hundred and seventy and five hundred and eighty meters, while the perimeter is two kilometers and three hundred meters; the highest part of the crater belt is the so-called Mount Olibano, 199 meters high, while the crater floor is 92 meters above sea level.

That's why you can't miss such a wonder. Contact us: we will be happy to organize your Phlegraean fields tour.

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