Jutting into the blue espanse of the Bay of Naples, the Campi Flegrei (or Phlegrean Fields) represent the area's focal point of classical civilization, and offer a welcome respite from the crowds at other more highly-visited archaeological sites, such as Pompeii. Covering a wide swath of coastal land, the area is made up of a smattering of ancient towns, underground tunnels, classical temples and theatres and steaming volcanoes. As the first Greek settlement on the Italian mainland, this area's historically rich atmosphere, aided by its stunning natural beauty, speak multitudes about the intricacies of the dramatic natural landscape and the legends, myths and cults it spawned. In the company of one of our docents, either a classicist or archaeologist, we will explore a handful of the region's sites, many of which are protected as national parks, which best exemplify the dramatic history of the Fields.
We begin our half day excursion with a drive along the western coast of the Bay of Naples, relishing the city landscape to the right, the bay to the left and Mt. Vesuvius looming behind us. Having arrived in the Campi Flegrei, depending on your interests and the scholarly background of the docent, we will delve into any number of ancient sites, all intrinsically important to the general history and culture of the area; Cumae, the epicentre of the Greek colonization of the 8th century BC, which now houses the remains of an ancient city and an acropolis; the so-called “Cave of the Sibyl”, where the Greek prophetess revealed the fates of men; Baia, the home of the idyllic pleasure palaces of Roman emperors such as Julius Caeser, Nero and Septimius Severus: and, if timing allows it, the Rione Terra, an underground city whose bakeries, temples, taverns and shrines recreate the daily life of its ancient inhabitants.
The area benefits from being virtually untocuhed by mass tourism and this intimacy with the sites offers a raw and immediate exposure to the ancient Greek roots of the area.
|Duration: 5 hours|
|Venues: Campi Flegrei Archaeological Museum, Archaeological Site of Baia, Archaeological Site of Cumae, Flavian Amphitheater of Pozzuoli, Rione Terra|
|Incidentals: Entry Tickets- $7|
Maria Laura Chiacchio
Marialaura holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Naples and a Master's in Museology from the Ecole du Louvre in Paris. She is a native of Naples and is fluent in four languages; Italian, English, French and German. She is a specialist in 17th and 18th century art, and is also an expert in the 19th century excavations of Pompeii and the archaeological museum of Naples. She divides her time between Paris and Naples.
Fiorella Squillante holds a degree in modern languages and is a specialist in art history and Neapolitan culture and art.
She works with the main museums of Naples as a member of the educational section. She also works closely with Friends of Museums from abroad.
Fiorella is the president of the cultural association "Fine Arts", which organizes private viewings and themed routes in Naples and Campania, cocktails and visits to stately homes and private collections. She writes about Naples and Campania for a popular guide book and is the author of a guide to Neapolitan art and architecture called "Naples in 3 days".
Iris Mueller is a native of Germany. She has lived extensively in the U.S., where she received her Ph.D. in history from Yale University. She returned to Europe in 2002 to study Latin at the Pontificial Gregorian University in Rome. In 2003, she moved to the Naples/Salerno area. Besides leading itineraries for our visitors, she is working on Medieval manuscripts at the Naples National Library.