Walking the Phlegrean Fields in Pozzuoli – Italy

Phlegrean Fields, Napoli - ItalyPanorama picture taken from Belvedere Superiore: Phlegrean Field

Strike

When you are in Naples you have to visit the Vesuvius and Pompeii ofcourse. I went to the metrostation in Bagnoli, where I stayed, and I saw it was closed. I walked back to the hotel to walk on to the other side where the trainstation of Agnano was. I could get the train to Montesanto, then walk through the old centre and get to Circumvesuviana like that. Well, when I came there I saw a couple of men on the platform. They told me, well they waved at me, from which I could tell that there are no trains riding.. I saw other people, Italians, turning away from the platform and walking back from where they came from.

Phlegrean Fields, Napoli - ItalyWalking down the street to Bagnoli Metrostation

Campi Flegrei

At that point I had no other options so I went back to the hotel and told them what happened. They looked at me and said, oh yes… A strike, I did know. They do that often.. Well, I couldn’t go to Vesuvius unless I took a taxi. But my hotelmanager had another option for me, he told me about the Phlegrean Fields, or how the call it Campi Flegrei. I had never heard of it, I just knew that is was a trainstop on my way to Naples.  I looked it up on the internet. It was a large vulcano area situated on the West of Naples.  They would bring me to the site which was called Solfatara. I read it was a shallow volcanic crater at Puzzuoli and part of the Campi Flegrei volcanic area. It was formed 4000 years ago and last erupted in 1198 which probably was an aphreatic eruption. This is an explosive steam driven eruption caused when groundwater interacts with magma.
I thought that was great. A free taxi from the hotel, it couldn’t get any better. So a servant toke me there. It was an half hour tour through Naples and after a bit sightseeing we entered the village of Pozzuoli. When we entered the street where the entrance of the field was I saw busses full of tourists entering that small street.

Walking the Phlegrean Fields – Pozzuoli

Phlegrean Fields, Napoli - ItalyMap / Brochure Phlegrean Field

Phlegrean Fields

I entered and bought a ticket. It was a small office and didn’t look real proffesional. Later I heard that it was the private property of a family. The entrance fee was 7 euro per person. They gave me a brochure with information about the volcano and it showed me how to walk the area. In 2003 it is declared a national park but it’s not like in many countries national property. And so there are no official signs or rules.

 
Phlegrean Fields, Napoli - ItalyWay to viewing point Belvedere’s

First it led me down a way from where you can go up to a point from where you could get some nice pictures. The point were marked at the map as: Belvedere superiore and Belvedere inferiore.

Phlegrean Fields, Napoli - ItalyFrom up there you got the great overview over the whole field

Phlegrean Fields, Napoli - Italy

I made a couple of pictures up there ofcourse. It was a good point to get the whole field in one picture. The weather was great, the sky blue and the temperature pleasant.

The Caldera

After that I walked down and started to walk the field, along the water. This field is called a caldera, a cauldron-like volcanic feature usually formed by the collapse of land following a volcanic eruption. I read that the area of the caldera comprises 24 craters and volcanic edifices. It had rained a lot that night so the lake in the middle of the caldera was big. I saw bubbles in that lake too. So strange to see and even hear. Walking down there it was getting hot. I walked on the caldera and because it a bit below groundlevel it was almost windstill. The few breezes that were there were really welcome. Especially at the fumaroles, where the steam came out of the volcano. It was really getting hot!! It was around 11.30 hours, so almost the hottest part of the day.

Walking the Phlegrean Fields – Pozzuoli

Phlegrean Fields, Napoli - Italy

I saw a couple of triangle things… they were there to messure some vulcanic activity was explained. The area is observed 24 – 7.  In case of extra activity they can take action to protect the surroundings and the local people.

Phlegrean Fields, Napoli - Italy

Phlegrean Fields, Napoli - Italy

Phlegrean Fields, Napoli - ItalyTwo heavy wheels of marble and basalt

History

Those wheels were used for working the white material called Bianchetto, used as pigment. This was the explaining for it on a plate next to it. I also saw a well, it was called: Pozzo dell’Acqua Minerale. The well was famous since the Middle Ages and was the source for mineral water which was said to have a lot of powers for the cure of sterility und ulcers.

Phlegrean Fields – Pozzuoli

Phlegrean Fields, Napoli - ItalyPozzo Del’Acqua Minerale

Phlegrean Fields, Napoli - ItalyTemperatures up to 150 celcius or 302 Fahrenheit

Phlegrean Fields, Napoli - Italy

Within the mouth are certain salts contained in the vapor condense, among which realgar (As S), cinabro (Hg S) and arsenic trisulphide (As2 S3) which give a yellow-reddish colour to the surrounding rocks; solfridric acid (H2S) is also present, by the distinguishing “rotten egg” smell.

source: Il Volcano Solfatara

Phlegrean Fields, Napoli - Italy

Phlegrean Fields, Napoli - Italy

Phlegrean Fields, Private Property

After walking by the biggest fumarole (Bocca Grande) I saw a thing that looked like an oven. When I came closer I read the board next to it. It was The Stufe, Stufe Antiche, also known of the Purgatory and The other Hell. It was used as natural saunas and for the inhalation of sulphurous vapours which were considered beneficial for repiratory illnesses. 

Phlegrean Fields, Napoli - ItalyThe Stufe Antiche

Phlegrean Fields, Napoli - ItalyJust enjoying that great view for a while

Safety issues

There were no safety measures at all. I thought that was a bit sad. Especially because the heat is exstreem at some points and you don’t even want to think about it when a child falls, or somebody, into those fumeroles. There was a small lake, no fences placed also. And last…there was no guard to check if everybody stayed in a safe distance of the heat and also the water.

Phlegrean Fields – Safety

This is obviously because it is a private property but when you visit with children you should take notice of this. There was a camping situated on the premises, near the exit, so many visitors will stay here for a day or two, probably with children.

Exit

There I heard another tourist couple talking to eachother, they were Dutch too. I asked them where they had their hotel and how they came here. They told me that they had taken the metro, they did had some difficulties coming here but the metro was running. I walked with them back to the metro and we took one to Naples. The couple told me that they lived in Northern Italy for the summer and in the winter time they lived in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. How great is that, get the best of both the told me!!

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