Art and Culture

Cuma Archaeological Ruins - Phlegraean Fields - Naples


The city of Cuma is the most Ancient Western Greek colony, with mythical origins sung by Virgil.
It is believed to have been founded in the 8th century b.C. by colonists from the Euboean towns of Chalcis and Eretria, who had already settled on the neighbouring island of "Pithekoussai" (Ischia).
Together with the signs on the octagonal Baptistery in the Early Christian Church (6th and 7th century), there are two great temples testifying the Greek phase, transformed into Churches during the Middle Ages: the "Temple of Apollo" with a smattering of elements that survive of the first arcaic temple, retains the podium and traces of the Roman recostruction of the Augustan era, and the "Temple of Jupiter", on the highest peak of the Acropolis, which remains of the older phases are barely identifiable, Greek (5th century b.C.) and Samnitic.
Whilst the Roman phase and the Early Christian Church are better documented.
If Pozzuoli (Puteoli) was the business and commercial center, for the Roman Cuma (Cumae) became a sacred place, especially after Virgil's tales: here the "Sybil of Cuma", prophetic priestess of Apollo, revealed the future to Aeneas.
The "Cave of Sybil" (Antro della Sibilla - Crypt of Sybil), infact, since Ancient time, is the most famous and mysterious place of the Phlegraean Fields: about 5 metres tall and over 130 metres long, the cave, where the shadow is pierced by a shaft of light, is a magical place.
Totally dug in the tuff and with a rectilinear course, the cave ends in a large rectangular room that serves as a vestibule to an area with three niches, which was thought to be the home of the Sybil of Cuma.
Recent studies start the debate again about this interpretation and suggest to see in the cave a work of the ancient military engineering, a protected corridor dug at the foot of the walls which climbed towards the Acropolis and was destined to the protection of the landing-place below: on the external terrace they were located the catapults and the other war machines used for the defence of the port.
At the foot of the Acropolis, which was previously occupied by the urban settlement, is the "Forum" of the Samnite and Roman periods, and beneath are concealed the remains of the Agorà of the Greek town.
In the Forum area, there is also a great Spa complex of the Republican period, restored several times up to Late Ancient period.
This spa complex date back to the beginning of the 2nd century a.D. and had two entrances opened in the southern and in the eastern side; the East entrance took in a vestibule communicating with the "frigidarium", while the other one faced an open space of the gymnasium.
The heated rooms were lined up towards South according to the common succession of "tepidarium", "sudatio" and "calidarium".
Further, in the West side, there are still the ruins of the "praefurnium" and in the North-East of the main body there is a cistern divided into four compartments.
Rich and articulate had to be the decoration: columns in cipolin marble marked the access to the "frigidarium", marble slabs and painted plasters adorned the walls and mosaics and works in "opus sectile" made the floors precious.
The most important monument is the great Temple of Jupiter, of the Hellenistic age (3rd century b.C.), built on the site of a temple of the Arcaic age, later transformed into a "Capitolium" and restored in various stages until the Roman Imperial era, the period of the colossal marble cult statues, now on display in Naples National Archaeological Museum.
Outside the fortified city walls, there is the northern "Necropolis", which includes a Prince's tomb of tha late 8th century b.C. (tomb of Artiaco 105, whose furnishings are found in Naples National Archaeological Museum), a great underground "tholos" tomb (with a pseudo cupola vault in tuff blocks) of the 4th century b.C. and a monumental tomb of the Roman Imperial era, which thought forth human remains whose crania had been replaced by wax masks.
On the opposite side of the town, there is the Amphitheatre, built in stonework, dated late 2nd century b.C., which is one of the oldest in Campania and the Roman world.

Address
Pozzuoli, Via Monte di Cuma 3 (Naples)

Times
All days from 9.00 to one hour before sunset
1 January, 1 May and 25 December closed

Prices
EUR 4,00 Adults
EUR 2,00 for European Union members between 18 and 25 years old
(valid 2 days for 4 sities: Archaeological Museum of the Phlegraean Fields in Baia, Archaeological Park of Baia, Flavian Amphitheatre, Temple of Serapis - Serapeo - in Pozzuoli and Archaeological Ruins of Cuma)
Free Entrance for European Union members under 18 and over 65 years old
Free Entrance with Campania Artecard
Ticket office close one hour before closing time

Additional Notes
The Archaeological Ruins of Cuma are a site of CAMPANIA ARTECARD circuit

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 from terminus in Piazza Montesanto (at 100 metres from the subway Station) and get off at Fusaro stop; proceed by S.E.P.S.A Miseno-Cuma bus.

DAILY EXCURSIONS - GUIDED TOURS
Excursion of Cuma Archaeological Ruins 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

Cuma Archaeological Ruins Excursion


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