Phlegreian Lakes Naples
Lake Averna is a 10 minute walk from the railway station of Lucrino. A beautiful walking path circles the lake.
History and description
The area of land around the Gulf of Pozzuoli is known as the Campi Flegrei, which can be loosely translated as “Burning Fields”. The Phlegreian Fields owe the name to the volcanic activity that has characterized it through the ages. Some of the old craters have become lakes, which are known as Phlegreian Lakes. The main ones are Lake Lucrino and Lake Averna.
The most famous one of these lakes is Lake Averno, which in ancient times the locals thought to be the entrance to hell. In Virgil’s “Aeneid”, it is from this lake that Aeneas descends into the underworld.
The name Averno derives from the Greek a-ornon, which means “without birds”. The reason for this absence was because of the poisonous vapors emitted by the crater.
In 37 BC, the Porto Giulio was constructed by the Roman general Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa. This was a system of channels connecting the lakes to the sea. Ships used to arrive at the coastal lake of Lucrino and then move on to Lake Averna. Lake Averna was connected to ancient Cumae by a tunnel through the Monte Grillo.
Agrippa is mostly famous for being the architect of the first Pantheon.
When the port silted up, it was moved to Miseno, a suburb of Bacoli.
In 1538, Lake Lucrino was greatly diminished in size. A volcanic caused the creation of the Monte Nuovo.
What to see
Temple of Apollo
The walk along the perimeter of Lake Averno leads past the ruins of the Temple of Apollo. Now, only four arched windows survive, but the structure used to have a some almost as big as the one of the Pantheon. It was constructed in the 2nd century AD.