If you are a diver, if you love swimming through ancient ruins, you should visit the underwater Archaeology Park of Baiae, a Roman seaside resort on the Bay of Naples larger than Pompeii. If you do not snorkle or scuba-dive, you can see it with a glass-bottomed boat called Cymba. There are massive piers that protect Portus Julius; the luxurious Piso Villa; Protiro Villa with a road and a taberna; the Villa below the Aragonese castle; the Misenum Lighthouse; the Claudian Nymphaeum, a resort complex with baths, statues, pools and mosaics. Because of coastal subsidence most of it is now underwater, largely due to volcanic activity.
The same volcanos that gave the region thermo-mineral water, and made Baiae a resort even more popular than Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Capri. It hosted numerous baths filled with warm mineral water directed to pools from sulfur springs underground.
Roman engineers built a complex system of chambers that channeled heat beneath the land’s surface into bathing facilities that acted as saunas. These baths were also used to heal various illnesses. One of the bathing complexes on the hillside included the Temple of Echo, so named for the way sound echoed around the dome, which at about 21.5 m (71 ft) in diameter was the largest dome in the world until the construction of the Pantheon in Rome in 128.
Baiae was a getaway for the elite with its large swimming pools and its domed casino. Many elaborate villas were built in Baiae, including those of Julius Caesar and Nero. A large part of the town became imperial property under Augustus.
It was at his villa near Baiae that the Emperor Hadrian died in AD 138.
With its historical, archaeological, environmental and artistic value, the underwater Archaeology Park of Baiae deserves to be in the list of the best places to visit in Italy.
We want to thank.
CENTRO SUB CAMPI FLEGREI
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SOURCE & IMAGES
Nicola Di Fiore