Pausilypon, Naples

Archaeological-Environmental Park

The Park is located in one of the most fascinating places in Naples with a fantastic view over the Bay of Naples. The amenity and beauty of the place, the mild climate, the lush nature, were some of the factors that from the first century A.C. made these place sought after by senators and rich citizens who used to build their spectacular villas here in this little paradise named Pausilypo (“Pausilypon” translated from the ancient Greek means “relieving from the pain”).

The main archeological area of the park is certainly the villa of Publius Vedius Pollio, a wealthy Roman knight to Emperor Augustus, built in the 1st Century B.C. To reach it you must pass through the so-called “Grotta di Seiano”, a Roman tunnel more than 700m long that connects the plain of Bagnoli with the Gaiola valley. This ancient passageway was dug out about two thousand years ago and was reinforced in the Bourbon period. The complex represents one of the first examples of a villa built adapting the architecture to nature. Next to the villa, you can also admire a theatre with 13 rows of seats which could contain over 2000 spectators. On the opposite side are the remains of the Odeion, the ancient roofed theatre used for recitals of rhetorical poetry and musical performances.

Other impressive archaeological finds of this site are the Temple or Sacrarium and the Nymphaeum. Towards the sea there were also the port facilities with connected buildings and the complex system of fishing which are still well preserved. On the death of Vedius Pollio the Pausilypon became part of the imperial state; the primitive nucleus was enlarged and adapted to the new functions of imperial residence.

The Park actually extends far below the surface of the sea, in fact, the Archaeological-Environmental park of Pausilypon bounds with the sunken park of Gaiola. Here you can snorkelling, diving or a tour with a glass bottom boat to enjoy the combination of archeology and a rich marine life. Really a unique experience! The Pausilypon Archaeological Park and the Gaiola Submerged Park represent a tourist-cultural area of enormous importance for the City of Naples and are well preserved thanks to the collaboration of the Gaiola Onlus and the Interdisciplinary Studies Center.

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