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The Naples of the lakeCAMPANIA


The Naples of the lake

Article published in Motociclismo magazine in 2008.

The Neapolitans of the lake turn in a labyrinth of volcanic ditches. Holes created by fire and filled with myth. Sweet waters, with the sea a step further away. Adjacent opposites, like so much else around here. The Phlegraean Fields are the "b side" of Naples in a postcard. A panorama post-it to the photo with an eye to the Sorrento coast.

Read the story published in the magazine.

Instead the Motoclub Epomeo takes the Tangenziale towards Pozzuoli. Arco Felice or Cuma exit. Climb Monte Nuovo, a young volcano (only 470 years old) and fast (it got up in just three days ...), to have a look from above, we pop up there an environmental puzzle, sweet and salty in one jump, and a nature of a lava microclimate. A world apart. As in a greenhouse, everything is milder. We go down the narrow via Scialandrone, which opens the doors of "hell". That is, Lake Avernus, which for the ancients was its antechamber. The name derives from aornon, “without birds”, due to the exhalations of hydrogen sulphide and carbonic acid which made even the overflight impossible. For Virgil it was the entrance to Hades, where Aeneas reached the world of the dead to speak with his father Anchises at the suggestion of the Cumaean Sibyl. Which in the myth lives next door, in a cave of about 200 meters dug into the tuff, probably to connect the lake to the sea. The circumlacuale can be traveled by motorbike only halfway at walking pace, among the pines, while the citrus groves that degrade to the left perfume the air, and the lake flattens anxieties, motionless in the ripples of the surroundings. What a waste it would be to drive around locked in a car. The path of the four lakes stretches towards the small Lake Lucrino, surrounded on three sides by reeds. A vase full of fish and molluscs, sung by Pliny the Elder in the Naturalis Historia, for the symbiotic friendship between a dolphin and a child until death. Below is hell really, this is an area of ​​bradyseism, of fluid foundations. Therefore the lake that lives for the sulphurous phenomena has come to us told with the legend. The road is busy even during the week, but it can be savored: the problem is keeping your eyes on track, as the view tears them out of your helmet. You go up and down, then the smell of iodine, and a bit of road salt, show you the sea. But first there is the Fusaro, which communicates with the coast through two channels. This area as early as the third century BC it was a vast swamp known as "Acherusia Palus". That the Romans took it as a summer residence and reclaimed it. In the late ancient age the Fusaro became a marsh again and only towards the second half of the 18th century was it rediscovered and used as a royal reserve for fishing and hunting. In the center, on a tiny islet of volcanic origin connected to the mainland by a wooden bridge, emerges the Vanvitellian royal house, built by Ferdinand IV in 1782. When we get there, it is under renovation, too bad. We continue climbing the humps of this land boiled over the centuries and we pass through Torregaveta, where it is summer for 6 months a year. A couple of curves blinded by the sun and we take the seafront of Bacoli, a town that grew up on an alignment of seven volcanoes. "O’ ccafé "is an institutional stop, just in time for a boost to the Mv 350 of our Charon Vincenzo Iodice. Even the jewels are enchanted every now and then. We take the Via Panoramica. Which is not called that by chance. In a couple of places you run astride a ridge. On one side the Fusaro, on the other Miseno with Procida and Ischia on the right, Capri in front next to the shadow of Punta Campanella, and then on the left Baia, its port, and Posillipo and Vesuvius to follow the profile of the coast. A post card, otherwise. Dizzy stuff for the senses. We go down to touch Lake Miseno with our eyes, once connected to the Roman port. A double natural basin: inside the lake (also called Maremorto), in ancient times dedicated to shipyards and naval maintenance, outside the real port. Here the most important fleet of the empire was stationed, the Classis pretoria misenatis, the remains of which probably still lie in the depths of the lake. Embraced by the water is Miseno, the Roman city definitively abandoned in 840, after a long series of Saracen raids. Most of the last inhabitants took refuge in Procida. Following via Roma we enter via del Castello. Before closing this 70-kilometer-wide circle with the sea, here is the imposing and unexpected Castello Sforzesco on the right. Prominent on the marina and the coast that hides the marine park, a protected area, where the archaeological remains of the ancient Bay lie drowned. All this wonder was the living room of the Roman aristocracy, who had built sumptuous villas and spas here to dedicate themselves to otium. So the bike adjusts. And slowly it goes away, out of the labyrinth of a Naples as sweet as its lakes born in fire.

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