Just outside of Naples, nestled in a cove of the Napoli Gulf, is the small city of Pozzuoli. A small fishing port-town, it is overlooked by most foreign tourists. Most of its visitors are Italian tourists or children on school trips. Few foreigners seem to make the trip to Pozzuoli, so it has managed to remain a hidden treasure. It hides several ruins from the Roman world and curiosities of the natural world.
One of these hidden treasures is the Volcano Solfaterra, part of the Campi Flegrei volcanic area. It is dormant, but the crater of the volcano emits sulphur rich jets of steam. Some of these jets are underneath mud that has become mineral rich and bubbles from the steam being released from underground. The result is a large plateau bordered by boiling pits and clouds of steam. It looks like an 80s music video threw up on an old dusty field. It’s awesome.
The mud pits are called the Fangaia and have historically been used for healing. Across the field there is a manmade sweat box which was used to harness the steam for a sauna before it was closed off. I have to say that I was very surprised that there were no Roman ruins within the crater. The Romans built bath houses above hot springs all over Europe, but for some reason did not build anything here. The sweat box and a well were built in the Middle Ages and they are the only structures in the crater.
Pozzuoli has a high rate of both birth and marriage that never decreases. This has been attributed (by actual scientists) to the hydrogen sulphide rich fumaroles of the volcanic crater. This same enzyme is produced in men and is responsible for erections and vasolidation. Basically, inhaling the steam is the same as ingesting a natural Viagra.
I will post more about things to see and do in Naples, but until then, follow me on Instagram @alostgirlsworld to see what I’m up to!