The ancient Roman city of Baia has recently and variously been described as “the Las Vegas of the Roman Empire” and “a wine-soaked party town” synonymous with “luxury and wickedness.” Baia was certainly popular with emperors and members of the patrician class because of its thermal springs and the district witnessed its fair share of ancient intrigues (Cleopatra is said to have escaped in a boat from Baia following the murder of Julius Caesar and the town is also where Emperor Claudius’s wife plotted his murder).
Built on the edge of the Phlegraean Fields (a super-volcano possessing around twenty-four craters), the hydrothermal activity that made the city a popular curative retreat also led to its partial destruction. During the sixteenth century, when an episode of seismic activity brought about movements of the land that let to parts of the city breaking away, what was once terra firma was engulfed by the sea and to this day, the depths of the Gulf of Naples retains some of Baia’s ancient Roman treasures.
Currently, local dive centres offer tourists the opportunity to snorkel or scuba dive around the underwater archeological park. For those who wish to stay dry however, there are glass bottomed boat tours available.
Images: Images 1 courtesy of
Image 2 courtesy of
Images 3 and 4 © Roberto Serani.
Image 5 © Dive Buddies 4 Life
Images 6 and 7 © Antonio Busiello
Posted by Samantha Hughes-Johnson.