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Pozzuoli is a city and comune of the province of Naples, in the Italianmarker region of Campania. It is the main city of the Phlegrean peninsulamarker.

History

Pozzuoli began as the Greek colony of Dicaearchia. The Roman colony was established in 194 BC, and took the Latin name Puteoli 'little wells', referring to the many hot springs in the area, most notably Solfataramarker. This is because Pozzuoli lies in the center of the Campi Flegreimarker, a caldera.

Puteoli was the great emporium for the Alexandrianmarker 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 Misenummarker 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 78BC.

The local volcanic sand, pozzolana 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, the first real dome.
The Serapium of Pozzuoli.


The apostle Paul landed here on his way to Romemarker, from which it was 170 miles distant. Here he stayed for seven days (Acts 28:13, 14) and then began with his companions his journey by the Appian Way to Rome.

Puteoli was the location for a spectacular stunt (in 37 AD) by the eccentric 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 famous neighboring resort of Baiaemarker, 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."

Saint Proculus was martyred here with his companions in the fourth century, and is the city's patron saint. The seven eagle heads on the coat-of-arms for the town of Pozzuoli are said to represent seven of these martyrs. November 16 was the official feast day for Saint Proculus. St. Proculus was affectionately nicknamed u pisciasotto ("the pants-pisser") because November 16 was often a day of rain. The townspeople also celebrated his feast day on the second Sunday in May.[79363]

From August 1982 to December 1984 the city experienced hundreds of tremors and bradyseismic activity which reached a peak on October 4, 1983 damaging 8,000 buildings in the city center and dislocating 36,000 people, many permanently. The events raised the sea bottom by almost 2 m, and rendered the Bay of Pozzuoli too shallow for large craft.
Flavian Amphitheater (Amphitheatrum Flavium) arena floor and seating.
Flavian Amphitheater (Amphitheatrum Flavium), from below.
Fumarole in the Solfatara.


Main sights

The town has a number of tourist attractions. These include:

  • The Macellum or Temple of Serapis, 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 cipolin marble, which show erosion from molluscs when, at an earlier time, the ground level was much lower due to bradyseism, and sea-water could flow in.




  • Solfataramarker (volcanic crater with active fumaroles)


  • Forum


  • 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.


  • Lake Avernusmarker, 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 Cocceiu's 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 Lucrinomarker, 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.


Famous people



Transportation

It is easily reached by train from Naplesmarker, on the metro 'Linea 2'.

Twinnings



Neighbouring communes



Bibliography

  • Paolo Amalfitano and others, I Campi Flegrei, Venice 1990
  • Piero Alfredo Gianfrotta, Fabio Maniscalco (eds.), Forma Maris. Forum Internazionale di Archeologia Subacquea, Puteoli 1998
  • Puteoli. Studi di Storia Romana


External links



References


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