The Temple of Serapis is the only remnant of what used to be the largest food market in Pozzuoli. A second, more correct, name by which it is known is therefore Macellum. Like the rest of the area, this temple, which was never actually a temple, has suffered from Bradyism (a phenomenon in which the surface sinks or is pushed up by the emptying or filling of an underground magma chamber).
Macellum Temple of Serapis Pozzuoli
Address, Opening Hours and Admission Price
The address of the Tempio di Serapide is Piazza Serapide – Pozzuoli. Tel. +39 081 5266007. Reservations: 848800288 (from Italy) or +39 06 39967050 (from outside Italy or with a cell phone). The temple can only be viewed from above. Entrance fee: 4 Euro. EU citizens between 18 and 24 years of age: 2 Euros. Age 0-18: Free. Campania ArteCard is valid.
History and Description
This temple, which was never actually a temple, is the former macellum (a kind of food market) of the former port district of Pozzuoli. In classical antiquity it was a hot spring. During excavations in 1750, a statue of the Egyptian God Serapis was found which led people to believe it used to be a temple and the name has stuck.
The area is known for Bradyism (a phenomenon where the surface either sinks or is pushed up by the emptying or filling of an underground magma chamber) and the Temple of Serapis has also suffered from this.
The entrance to the macellum is located on the port side. On the other side is an exedra framed by four large columns. On both sides there are latrines that could also be entered from the outside. Around the central courtyard is a portico of 36 over 6 meters tall granite columns, through which one entered the stores. The columns were decorated with shells with small dolphins in them.
In the center of this courtyard is the circular tholos, with an octagonal fountain in the middle. This building was surrounded by multiple statues honoring Alessandro Severo and wife, Serapis himself, and Orestes with Electra and Dionysos with the Faun.
The Temple of Serapis dates from the 1st/2nd century, but certain portions, including the tholos, were probably not built until the 3rd century. This is evidenced by some fistulae aquariae (pipes, usually of lead, for water supply) with inscriptions referring to Settimio Severo.