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Published: October 20th 2013
Pozzuoli and Naples Italy 15 & 16 Oct 2013
The camp site closest to Naples was called Camping Volcano Solfatara, and yes it is next to a smoldering volcano. We hooked up to power and then went for a walk around the rim of the centre of the volcano which last erupted in AD 79. There was a strong sulphur smell and lots of steam (150-160 degrees C) coming from holes in the ground. There was also a large lake which was bubbling and had bubbling mud around its rim. Fortunately the sulphur smell didn’t come into the camp site.
There was a tin shed that they have built and that is the sauna!!! How you could sit in there for more than 30 seconds, I am not sure. I have included in one of the photos, the sexual advantages of taking in the sulphur smells, so perhaps that is why you would sit in there!!!!
We needed to get the car serviced so asked the Park owner. He simply called a mechanic in the town who came out within 30 minutes to take the motor home back to his garage. The park owner said they often do
this. Tom also needed a hair cut so the park manager told the mechanic to drop us off outside the barber on the way back to his garage – jobs done!!!! Fantastic.
Before walking 800m back to the camp site, we walked around the town. After finding the tourist information centre, we found Centro and on the way, discovered the Roman history of the area. There were many ruins on the way, including an amphitheatre. We found the port which was loaded with all different sized boats, including a fishing fleet. We stopped for a cold beer here. We were finding the climate quite humid.
After that we walked back to the camp site finding that the mechanic had already returned our camper to the spot where we had parked previously and the bill was to be paid to the camp manger the next – a great service!
That night, we went back to the volcano and took pictures of the area which was all lit up. Different!
The next morning we went into Naples by metro – easy.
Naples, a city of 5.8 million, the biggest city in Italy, “is known for its beauties,
its culture and art” (this is what my book said but I will give a summary of what we think later in the blog), but few people know the history of its underground. The 1st
excavation took place 5,000 years ago and was extended by the Greeks as they needed the Tufa stone blocks to build the walls and the temples of the towns they were building. The Romans took over and created a 400km aqueduct which was closed in 1884 because of a cholera epidemic. At the beginning of the 20th
century, digging stopped and 2 million square metres of empty space composed of tunnels and cisterns resulted. They were used during the Second World War by Neapolitans as air-raid shelters. Nowadays, parts of the caves are not reachable as people have illegally dumped rubbish in them.
We joined a tour from Napoli Sotterranea and immediately walked down 120 steps. We could feel the air getting cooler and more damp (we found Naples very humid). The tunnels we walked through ranged from extremely narrow through to a massive, big caves. The whole experience was fascinating. We had an excellent guide (an Italian lady with an American accent) who
took us dawn 3 levels as well as to the old Roman Theatre – all underground. Because people over the centuries continued to build on top of all the tunnels etc, because of the lack of space from the expanding population in a relatively small area, the archeological sites are often intertwined with people’s houses.
We only saw multi story housing in Naples. Residential buildings were about 4-5 stories high, plus the underground tunnel network (2-3 floors).
Our impression of Naples: a big, highly dense city with lots of rubbish, graffiti, an excellent public transport system, elevated highways above the housing blocks, un-kept buildings. It’s not a beautiful city but it is full of history.
We left at about 4.00pm and headed for Pompeii.
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