The Archeological Park of Pausilypon
In order to fully enjoy Naples it is essential to discover the most hidden sites. One of them is certainly the Park of Pausilypon.
The Seiano Grotto. The park is located in the bay of Trentaremi, on the Posillipo hill, and the access is through a tunnel known as Grotta di Seiano, which entrance is placed on discesa Coroglio that connects Posillipo with the city of Bagnoli, and so Neapolis with the phlegraean area. The tunnel was engraved by slaves in Roman era in order to enable a transport of goods in both directions. Today the gallery is narrower and lower from the original due to the accumulation of soils and other materials. Its contemporary appearance is a result of renovation by Bourbons in the 18th century.
Pausilypon. At the end of the grotto, beyond a necropolis, extends a vast area of the Trentaremi bay that once contained a massive villa of Pollio, a rich Roman who decided to live in this splendid place with the view of the sea. The roman citizen named Publius Vedius Pollio, died in 15 AC, was known to be a cruel and disagreeable person. He made his fortune selling wheat in North Africa and was considered, in the gold age of the Roman Empire, an equivalent of today’s multimillionaire. On one occasion, in order to entertain the emperor Augustus, he was about to make a slave who had broken a crystal glass thrown into a pool of lampreys that would eat him alive. Appalled, Augustus intervened having all of Pollio’s precious glasses smashed.
“I never saw a more worthless man”- wrote Cicero once, referring to Pollio. But his villa was and still is, even if almost completely ruined, a magnificent place.
While coming back one can notice a modern villa owned by the family Ambrosio. Franco Ambrosio was a grain merchant himself, as was Pollio once. In 1990 he was investigated for a tax evasion and imprisoned for a short period. Then, seventy-six-year-old Ambrosio and his wife were found dead in their house, probably murdered. Three Romanian immigrants, a gardener of the family included, were accused of homicide.
A singular coincidence millennia after.
There is not much left from the roman villa, except for ruins, though one may descry two theaters: a covered one named Odeion, where musical shows took place, and an amphitheatre designed for tragedies and comedies that once had a capacity of two thousand spectators. An afternoon light changes into warm shades of sunset that embrace the scenery, bringing out the marble ruins and reddish colonnade of the villa. Unique atmosphere emerges, epic and nostalgic. Beyond, the green of the Posillipo hill and the blue of the sea fulfill a visual impact that distinguishes the site.
We truly recommend this walk to our readers, especially during early-summer days.
INFO AND BOOKING:
L’Area Marina Protetta “Parco Sommerso di Gaiola”
Discesa Gaiola (Scogliera Cala S.Basilio), 80123 - Napoli
Phone/fax: 0812403235 - 0815754465