A mysterious shrine of Sibyl

Antro della Sibilla (the Sibyl’s cavern) is a remnant of a millennial tradition of the Neapolitan territory that gives evidence to the wealth and progress of the ancient civilizations that settled here in the distant past.

Antro della Sibilla is a recently discovered artificial cavern constructed in the ancient Greek era. It has been found during an archeological excavation of the antique town of Cuma, led by an archeologist Amedeo Maiuri in 1932. It is where the Cumaean Sibyl, a priestess believed to be an oracle influenced by a divine inspiration, had performed her prophecies.

The cavern is situated in the zone of Cuma, nearby Lake Avernus, which waters were considered, according to the mythology, an entrance to the underworld of the dead- the Hades. A long tunnel in the form of trapezoid conducts to a cavern, which is the main room of the structure where the sibylline prophecies were taking place.

The oracle was using particular methods: inspired by a divinity, the Sibyl was writing down in hexameters her predictions on the palm leaves, which were then mixed by the wind entering by hundred corridor holes and so the response was obtained. The prophecies were often obscure, therefore called “sibylline”.

In the ancient world there were numerous Sibyls, though the Cumaean one was surely one of the most famous for Greeks, who considered her the second most important after the celebrated oracle of Apollo at Delphi. Although her fame is mostly due to the literary elaboration of Virgil in the epic "Aeneid", in which the Cumaean Sibyl leads Aeneas to the underworld.

Nowadays, Antro della Sibilla consists of the one of the most fascinating archeological itineraries in Campania region and it is located in the phlegraean area, where it is possible to visit other archeological excavations, such as the castle and the Thermal Baths of Baia, the submerged ruins, the Solfatara volcano of Pozzuoli, Lake Avernus and Lucrinus Lacus.

An ideal destination for a spring walk of history, mythology and nature.

Tags: Archeology