Art and Culture

Averno Lake - Phlegraean Fields - Naples


Located in a position particularly favourable between the two mountains Monte Nuovo and Monte Grillo, the lake Averno is situated inside an extinct crater, parallel to the lake Lucrino, with which once it communicated but from which today is separated by the spur of Mount of the Brooms (Monte delle Ginestre).
From the belvedere of via Domitiana, situated in the north side, you can enjoy a particularly suggestive vision of the whole, which emphasizes the nice position of the lake in the Phlegraean area.
The sudden eruption of Monte Nuovo in 1538 affected the whole Phlegraean oreography and, as a consequence, also the borders of the lake.
The first deep modification was effected by Agrippa, who in 38-36 a.D., for military exigencies, started the construction of the "Portus Julius".
They were constructed deposits along the seashores, it was prepared a yard for the construction and the reparation of the ships but particularly they were realized the marvellous galleries of communication between Monte Grillo and Cumae and between the lakes Averno and Lucrino, this latter linked to the sea.
Agrippa's work reached, without any doubts, levels of excellent architectonic mastery, but in a way it had also discredited the lake from the ancient dreads and fears.
Considered since old times a site of Giants, it was identified as a residence of the Dods of the Underworld and of the people of the Cimmerii, inhabitants of the caves which ran away from the light of the sun.
They were the Greeks who wanted to recognize in this place the Homeric descriptions connected to the episodes of Odysseus.
It was considered also the fact that the lake had no bottom.
Strabo describes the thick woods which surrounded the lake and the exhalations which prevented the birds from flying over it, causing their death.
The same supposed derivation of the toponym "Avernum", from the Greek "Aornos" (without birds), seems confirmed by some verses of Lucretius (De Rerum Natura).
Also its waters or the fresh-ones of the neighbouring springs were considered undrinkable because connected to the infernal river Stige.
But the real peculiarity of the lake was the presence of an oracle, presided by Persephone, to whom the pilgrims went after having made blood sacrifices.
Also Hannibal, in 214 b.C., visited the oracle, but it seems that his real aim was that of attacking Puteoli.
With Virgil these places were consecrated to magic and mystery, in a time in which those sensations were already far-off.
(Paolo Caputo and Maria Rosaria Pugliese - "La via delle Terme")

How you can get there from the Hotel
From the Piazza Amedeo Station take line 2 on the subway, in the direction of Gianturco, and get off in Montesanto (fist stop); proceed by Cumana train (Naples-Torregaveta line) from terminus in Piazza Montesanto (at 100 metres from the subway Station) and get off at Lucrino stop.

DAILY EXCURSIONS - GUIDED TOURS
Excursion of Averno Lake is included in itinerary of Phlegraean Fields excursion available and organized by the Hotel.
In order to know all excursion details of Phlegraean Fields kindly click the link below

Phlegraean Fields Excursion


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