Pozzuoli on the Gulf of Naples

Monday, 28 December 2020 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
Reading Time:  7 minutes

© panoramio.com - Patrick Nouhailler's…/cc-by-sa-3.0

© panoramio.com – Patrick Nouhailler’s…/cc-by-sa-3.0

Pozzuoli is a city and comune of the Metropolitan City of Naples, in the Italian region of Campania. It is the main city of the Phlegrean Peninsula. Since 1946 the town has been the home of the Accademia Aeronautica, the Italian Air Force Academy, which was first situated on the island of Nisida, then from 1962 on a purpose-built hilltop campus overlooking the bay.

Pozzuoli began as the Greek colony of Dicaearchia. The Roman colony, established in 194 BC, took the name Puteoli whose roots are in the Latin puteus (well or cistern) and Oscan fistulus (quarry). An alternative etymology of Puteoli derives from the Latin puteo (to stink), referring to the sulfuric fumes in the area, most notably from Solfatara. Pozzuoli itself lies in the centre of the Campi Flegrei, a volcanic caldera. Puteoli was the great emporium for the Alexandrian grain ships, and other ships from all over the Roman world. It also was the main hub for goods exported from Campania, including blown glass, mosaics, wrought iron, and marble. The Roman naval base at nearby Misenum housed the largest naval fleet in the ancient world. It was also the site of the Roman Dictator Sulla‘s country villa and the place where he died in 78 BC. Pliny mentions Pozzuoli as the site of a famed cochlearium created by Fulvius Hirpinus, known for raising exquisite snails.

The local volcanic sand, pozzolana (Latin: pulvis puteolanus, “dust of Puteoli”) formed the basis for the first effective concrete, as it reacted chemically with water. Instead of just evaporating slowly off, the water would turn this sand/lime mix into a mortar strong enough to bind lumps of aggregate into a load-bearing unit. This made possible the cupola of the Pantheon, which is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome.

Port of Pozzuoli © panoramio.com - miga42GO/cc-by-sa-3.0 © panoramio.com - Patrick Nouhailler's…/cc-by-sa-3.0 © panoramio.com - Patrick Nouhailler's…/cc-by-sa-3.0 © panoramio.com - Patrick Nouhailler's…/cc-by-sa-3.0 Ancient Marcellum (market) of Pozzuoli © flickr.com - Ferdinando Marfella/cc-by-sa-2.0 © flickr.com - jimmyweee/cc-by-2.0 Flavian Amphitheater © flickr.com - Ferdinando Marfella/cc-by-sa-2.0
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Ancient Marcellum (market) of Pozzuoli © flickr.com - Ferdinando Marfella/cc-by-sa-2.0
The town’s attractions include:

  • The Macellum of Pozzuoli, also known as the Temple of Serapis or serapeum, is considered the city’s symbol. The “temple” was actually a marketplace. Its name derives from the misinterpretation of its function after a statue of the god Serapis was found in 1750 at this location. The Macellum includes three majestic columns in Cipollino marble, which show erosion from marine Lithophaga molluscs when, at an earlier time, the ground level was much lower due to Bradyseism, and sea-water could flow in.
  • Flavian Amphitheater (Amphitheatrum Flavium), the third largest Italian amphitheater after the Colosseum and the Capuan Amphitheater.
  • Solfatara (volcanic crater with active fumaroles)
  • Forum
  • Minor Amphitheater, very near to the Flavian one, its remains were absorbed by other buildings, but some arches can be seen by Via Solfatara and Via Vigna. It is crossed by metropolitan railway and the arena is still buried
  • Puteoli’s Baths, so called Temple of Neptune, the remains of a big thermal complex now in Corso Terracciano which included also “Dianae Nymphaeum”, this last one partly hidden by buildings.
  • Villa Avellino, one of the few urban parks of Pozzuoli. It also shows several Roman ruins and water tanks. There is also a still working Roman “face” water fountain.
  • Rione Terra, the first settlement of Puteoli, originally Dicearkia in Greek. It is a multi-layered city with several Roman buildings; the most important one is the Temple of Augustus (today the Pozzuoli’s Duomo)
  • Necropolis of the Via Puteolis Capuam, just under the bridge that leads outside the city near Via Solfatara
  • Necropolis of Via San Vito, near to Quarto
  • Necropolis of Via Celle, a rich complex of tombs and mausoleums, very near to an old Roman street track still used today (Via Cupa Cigliano)
  • Stadium of Antoninus Pius, a very similar stadium to the Domitian one in Rome, only partially unburied and partly collapsed (Via Campi Flegrei).
  • Sanctuary of San Gennaro (St. Januarius). With the Cathedral of Naples, it is one of the two places in which the alleged miracle of the liquefaction of the saint’s blood occurs.
  • Acropolis of ancient city of Cumae
  • Lake Avernus, in which Virgil, in the 6th book of his Aeneid, placed the entrance to Hell. The name derives from Greek, and means “Without Birds”, referring to the absence of birds due to the sulfur gas that sprung from it. Nearby are the Temple of Apollo, the Grotto of the Cumaean Sibyl and Cocceius’ Grotto, a gallery carved by the Romans to connect Lucrino to Cumae. The latter was damaged during World War II and is no longer visitable.
  • Lake Lucrino, in the frazione of the same name. The lake was considered an infernal place, due to volcanic phenomena. It was a renowned resort in Roman times and included the villa of Cicero, which later held the remains of emperor Hadrian. Pliny the Elder cites it in Naturalis historia (ix, 25) as the home of a dolphin who had made friends with a child. According to Pliny, when the child fell ill and died, the dolphin died of broken heart also. The tale is considered the first known Urban legend.
  • A unique anarchist monument is present in the small garden close to the Roman Macellum. It’s made of a marble block and has the following text written on it: “What matters most is that people, all men, lose their sheepish instincts and habits that longstanding slavery has inspired in them, and they learn to think and act freely. The anarchists.”

Read more on Pozzuoli, visitnaples.eu – >10 Things to see in Pozzuoli: Solfatara, port and more, Wikivoyage Pozzuoli and Wikipedia Pozzuoli (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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