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What were you digging for, buried treasure? Let’go to discover the Phlegraean fields…

The Phlegraean fields (from the Greek Flegraios, or “burning”) are a place of profound and ancient fascination. They cover the area that goes from Posillipo to Cuma and includes Pozzuoli, Bacoli, Monte di Procida and Quarto, and also the islands of Nisida, Procida, Vivara and Ischia. Fumaroles, thermal waters, active and extinct volcanoes and lakes inhabit this charming slice of heaven.

A mysterious air lingers in this fickle landscape. Active volcanic phenomena are visible close-up, like in the renowned Solfatara with its lake of lava, and the thermal springs of Agnano. The Solfatara is the epicentre of the cyclic phenomenon of the rising and lowering of ground level known as bradisism. See the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aC3rHwS1uHM

The volcanic nature of the area is immediately evident in the widespread presence of pumice, tuff, geyers of sulphurous steam and the craters that form natural amphitheatres. Today, the magma chamber of the Phlegraean fields is located at a depth of about 2 miles below ground level. The way in which the magma causes the ground movements is still not wholly understood. Over the years, simulations done by a research team of the Vesuvius Observatory in Naples and the University College London demonstrated that the periodical uplift causes an accumulation of stress in the rocks above the magma chamber, making it more likely that magma will find a way to the surface, increasing the probability of an eruption. Since 2005, the ground around Pozzuoli, located at the center of the Phlegraen fields caldara has risen by 1.25 feet. In this area the Flavian amphitheatre, the third biggest amphitheatre of the Roman world (after those ones of Roma and Capua) is a marvellous example of an extremely well preserved Roman building. One of the key highlights of a trip to the Flavian Amphiteatre is to explore the underbelly of this once-thriving stadium and wander through the rooms and chambers below the arena itself. It is also possible to see the quarters in which the gladiators themselves would have prepared for their contests.

The oldest part of the Phlegrean Fields is Cuma, the first of the Greek colonies on Italian land, founded in about 730 BC. It soon became a famous commercial centre, destination of important mercantile routes and a precious intersection for the exchange of goods with the inland, gaining supremacy along the entire coast. For the Romans, Cuma was a holy place: according to the Virgil tale, here the Sybil revealed to Aeneas his future as founder of Rome.

A prominent resort destination for centuries, the sunken city of Baia catered to the recreational whims of the illustrious and powerful among the Roman elite. Today, the ancient ruins of Baia can be visited in one of the world’s few underwater archaeological parks. Tourists can view the crumbled structures and preserved statuary of the city through glass-bottomed boats, snorkelling, or even scuba diving.

The Phlegrean fields are populated by a lush vegetation with the typical features of the “Mediterranean maquis”, and an agriculture that is based on the traditional and local cultivation methods of fruit and vine. The Phlegrean area is famous for its unique variety of production and for the originality of its flavours. Hectares of vineyards represent the perfect terroirwhere the experiences of ancestors, old legends and modern research perfectly combine the offer of a unique experience for anyone who wants to enjoy the charming world of wine!

In 1997, in order to keep intact the environmental equilibrium, the area was made into the Phlegraean Fields Regional Park. Nowadays, the newly elected manager, Paolo Giulierini is strongly working to promote and valorize this archeological site. Find the link below: http://parcoarcheologicocampiflegrei.beniculturali.it/

Let’s go to explore the hidden secrets of this charming place…

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