POZZUOLI

the Solfatara

In ancient times  the Solfatara was known as the  square of Hephaestus, where  even then the volcanism of the Phlegrean Fields was observable.

The only monumental rest of District Terra is the temple of Augustus,  fully saved, as  transformed into the church  of St.Procolo in the XI century. The church underwent some changes  between 1500-1600 during the construction of the side chapels.

The restoration  works, following a fire,  brought to light one of the best examples of the Augustan architecture.  It was built by the architect Lucio Aucto who realized the crypts of Cuma and Naples.

Outside  the  District  Terra there are numerous ruins now incorporated into modern houses.

Monuments such as the Temple of Diana and Neptune are difficult to be reached, but their size reflects the importance of the city in the late Republican and Imperial age.

Flavian Amphitheatre

Located between the solfatara and Mount Guaro, just there, where crossed the most important streets:  Domitiana, Campana  and Antiniana.

The Flavian Amphitheatre was built by Vespasian following the increase of the population of Pozzuoli, at that time a  flavian-augustan colony.

This is evidenced by the discovery of registration Colonia Flavia Augusta Puteolana pecunie sua.

The amphitheater had three architectural orders crowned by an attic. An elliptical porch surrounded the building, through this it was possible to reach four main and twelve secondary entrances, to facilitate the exit of the spectators.

From the outside porch departed twenty flights of stairs allowing  to reach higher areas. Other   meeting points  were obtained in the arches under the auditorium.

In the first arch there was a podium for statues with marble floor with inscriptions dedicated to Caio Trofimiano.

The auditorium was divided into three ranges, above these there was a porch with columns and statues , which in the Middle Ages were used for the production of lime.

Ambulatories and underground kept well preserved as  they were covered by the ashes of solfatara.  the basement  could be reached  by  two steep stairs.

Observing the underground we can understand the operation of  lifting structures, essential for Venationes,  or shows with wild beasts.   There were stored the  necessary  tools for the shows too.

The basement consisted of two corridors crossed in   the center (assuming a form of H). The four  rooms were communicating with each other.

The corridor was fitted with  stone openings,  with wooden hatches from which animals were raised.

Even this one, as other amphitheaters, is related to the Christian martyrology.  St.Gennaro  was taken here to suffer his torment, but the sentence was suspended because of the absence of the governor of Campania, so the penalty was  commuted to his  beheading.

Only in the fifth century his relics were transported to  Naples,  becoming a destination of worship such as those of S.Procolo in Pozzuoli.

Today of this amphitheater you can only see  about  ten arches, and the auditorium from Via Solfatara, other arches are observable from Via Vigne.

The building is to be dated about in  the second century.

the Macellum

known as the Temple of Serapis for the discovery of the statue of the god in 1750, the Macellum is actually a public market, with a round building in the center (one of  the same type is located in Pompei, but  smaller)  as large as was necessary  to serve the center of a big commercial city.

The building has a square courtyard surrounded by thirty-six Corinthian columns, decorated with shells containing dolphins.  The court and the porch were paved with marble slabs.

At the center there is a circular building called Tholos, with walls covered in marble.  Access to the court was provided by four stairs, with four  railings  dolphin shaped and  with friezes of seas animals.  Sixteen Corinthian columns supported the lintel, and on it  rested a perhaps conical coverage.

Around the porch there were the shops, six on  the  entrance side  and eleven on the other two sides.

The need to increase the usable space pushed  to develop a second floor decorated with a second order of columns and accessible  through  two flights of stairs.

In the corners were the bathrooms, decorated with marble niches, and lit by a large window.

Perforated marble benches communicated with a discharge channel which, thanks to a proper slope,  let waters flow away  and guaranteed hygiene.

The most important point of the Macellum was represented by the  front hall  embellished by honorary statues.  Important was the flooring with  red, yellow, purple and green marble.

Three niches contained  statues of the  market protectors:  Serapis – Genius -Macelli – characters of the imperial family.

From the Temple of Serapis it is possible to observe the phenomenon of bradyseism on the three central columns,  where the holes left by the sea dates, demonstrate the level reached by the sea.

In the Middle Ages the floor was five meters below the water level. In 1700 the temple was re-emerging, but in 1800 the slow sinking made it unhealthy.

Macellum - Tempio di Serapide

The Macellum – Temple of Serapis

The harbour

The  harbour is the economic center of the city.

From the second century b.C. it was an important trade center of the Mediterranean,  by Pozzuoli passed anything was to reach Rome, from the slaves to the corn.

Of the old pier, following the construction of the new one, nothing remains.  Except for some eighteenth-nineteenth century depiction,  we would have never known  what was the appearance of the old port, considered one of the greatest engineering works of the time.

The old harbor was formed by 15 pillars supporting 15 arches on which rested a platform, at whose end there was a triumphal arch with statues of Neptune and the Dioscuri and probably a lighthouse.

This structure of the Augustan age was damaged by a storm and restored only in the time of Antoninus Pius.

Via Campana

Campana  Street is the main  outside-town street   of Pozzuoli, it was edged with monumental tombs  today giving us an idea about the costumes and about Roman funerary architecture.

Among the various tombs prevails a tomb  with columbus patterns, or rooms with perforated walls to house the urns. Two or more storey graves were often dug  towerlike.

It was frequently found,  to be family  or associations tombs which  ensured a decent funeral at little cost. Cremation was the most common practice, the deceased was  burnt on a stake  and the ashes kept in a funerary urn and subsequently  placed in the niche.

Once  the urn was placed into the tomb,  only the name and age of the deceased was indicated.

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