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Pozzuoli, Province of Napoli, Campania

A picturesque fishing port, Pozzuoli is located in a volcanic area, the Campi Flegrei (= burning fields), which includes the Solfatara, a volcano still in activity.
Geothermal phenomena typical of this city and the whole Campi Flegrei is bradyseism, the raising and lowering of the earth's crust as a result of growing underground pressure. Much of the territory is hilly with several ancient volcanic craters including the Astroni, Monte Nuovo and the one filled by Lake Averno. From the hills the territory descends steeply southwards towards the gulf of Pozzuoli, and more gently to the west towards the Baia Domizia.

Info

  • Altitude: 26 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 81,000 inhabitants in 2018
  • Zip/postal code: 80078
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 081
  • Demonym: puteolani
  • Patron Saint: St. Procolo, celebrated on 16 November
  • Frazioni & Localities: Arco Felice, Campana Annunziata, Cuma, Licola Centro, Licola Lido, Lucrino, Montenuovo, Monterusciello, Pisciarelli, Toiano.

History

Puteoli (the Latin name referred to the bad odours of sulphur vapours) was a Roman colony established in 194 BC that became a large emporium for the Alexandrian grain ships.

The apostle Paul is traditionally said to have landed here on his way to Rome, 170 miles away. Here he stayed for seven days (Acts 28:13, 14) and with his companions began the journey to Rome by the Appian Road.

In 37 AD Puteoli was the location of a spectacular episodeinvolving Caligula, who on becoming Emperor ordered a temporary floating bridge to be built using ships as pontoons, stretching for over two miles from the town to the neigboring resort of Baiae, across which he proceeded to ride his horse, in defiance of an astrologer's prediction that he had "no more chance of becoming Emperor than of riding a horse across the Gulf of Baiae".

What to see

  • The remains of the huge Amphitheatre Neroniano - Flavio, begun under Nero and completed by Vespasianus (69-79 AD), the third largest in Italy, 149 mt long and 116 mt wide, that could accomodate up to 20,000 spectators. The well-preserved underground structures can offer an idea of the complicated mechanism required for the gladiators and caged wild beasts.
  • The Sanctuary of San Gennaro, erected on the spot where Gennaro, bishop of Benevento, suffered martyrdom; of the early basilica of the 6th century only the altar is left, which popular devotion believes was the stone on which the Saint was beheaded. The eruption ot the Solfatara volcano in 1198 destroyed the early temple and the building was restored several times after recurring earthquakes and the other terrible eruption of 1538, when it was rebuilt in the present shape on a design by architect Benvenuto Tortelli.
  • The Solfatara Volcano, with a crater of 770 m., formed 4000 years ago, the only one in the Phlegrean Fields which still exbitis a remarkable activity, such as jets of sulphurous steam, small openings erupting hot mud and jets of sand.
  • The Macellum (Temple of Serapis), actually not a temple, though it was so called since a statue of the Egyptian god Serapis was found in the excavations, but a "macellum", that is the city market annexed to the port. The complex is enclosed in a rectangular area with a porticoed court and a row of "tabernae" (shops) along each side. In the middle of the court rises a circular temple supported by 16 columns. The market was underwater until about 20 years ago, as still shown by shells encrusted in the columns.
  • The Temple of Neptune, built under emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD, a wide archeological complex including imposing thermal establishments of ancient Puteoli.

[the text above is partly derived from and based on Wikipedia and is subject to the GNU licence]

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