The ancient Greek city of Cumae is the oldest colony throughout the West. It was settled after the occupation of Ischia island. Closely linked to the myth of the Sibilla Cumana, it was a rich and prestigious center in the ancient world: Greek culture spread throughout the Italian peninsula from here carrying calciter alphabet which therefore was taken in by Etruscans and Latins.
Cumae (Kýmē in Greek) is the oldest and most distant Greek colony from the motherland. It is estimated that the date of its foundation is 740 BC. at the hands of settlers from Chalcis. In a short time the center expanded into neighboring territories, imposing its dominance on almost the entire Campania coast and also culturally influencing neighboring peoples.
Cumae's fortune, however, did not last long: in 421 BC. it was conquered by the Campans until the arrival of Rome, of which Cumae was always faithful ally. It became a Roman municipality in 215 BC. and it was one of Octavian's strongholds during the civil war. He managed to survive the barbarian invasions and then fell under the power of the Byzantines in 558 AD. The raids of the Saracens gave her the coup de grace and the center was gradually abandoned.
Tha archaeological park of Cumae
Walking through achaeological park of Cumae it's as if you're in a mystical and surrealistic place. Inside acropolis you'll be amazed by walls, temple of Jupiter, the Roman crypt, thermal baths building and amphitheater as well.
Many graves from Greek and Roman time can be found next to “Arco Felice”, an overpass built by Domitianus over the street running from Pozzuoli to Rome. On the lower deck of the temple of Jupiter there's also Apollo's which was built according to the legend of Dedalus who is said to have landed right here after the flight from Crete.
The Cave of the Sybyl
The famous cave of the Sybil is accessibile from a little yard on the left. According to the legend god Apollo was in love with Sybil, a young woman. He offered her whatever she wanted if she had accepted to became one of his priestess and she asked for immortality. But she didn't think about asking for eternal youth so the more she grew older the more her body continued to shrink. At last, she was put in a tiny cage in the temple of Apollo until she desappeared and all that's left is just her voice. According to legend Enea himself came to check out the oracol of Sybil of Cumae and that's the reason why it's a spot on the tourism trail.
Gallery is about 5 mt high and 130 mt long. There are many tunnels all along the path. Some of them are blind just for airing and lightining, others end on the deck over the harbor and others are still used in Roman time and then as Christian burial.
Imagine Copyright: wikipedia.org
Archaeological park is open 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to one hour before sunset.
Closing: 1 January; 1 May; 25 December.
Ticket price: Full € 4,00 - Reduced: € 2,00 (young people and students between 18-25 years old, the first sunday of every month, teachers and chaperones).
Free under 18.
Cave of the Sibyl is included in the price of your ticket.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE CARD:
FOUNDATION: 730 BC
CIVILIZATION: Greeks, Samnites, Romans, Ostrogoths, Byzantines, Saracens
ADMINISTRATION: Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage of Naples
REDISCOVERY: XVII century
How to get to Cumae
Naples station is the closest of national railway line. Take subway L2 from here and get off at Montesanto. From Montesanto take Cumana line and get off at Torregaveta. Take the line “circumflegrea” get off at Cuma then walk from here to the archaeological park.
Take bus line Piazza Garibaldi – Monte di Procida, bus stop LUCRINO – PIAZZETTA. Check out EAVBUS website for detailed timetables.
From Naples: following A56 motorway towards Pozzuoli then take gate 13. From “via Montenuovo” following to SP Cuma Licola.