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Naples: The Cumaean Sibyl

Nature, history and mysticism in the area of Phlegraean Fields

We are in Campi Flegrei (i.e. Phlegraean Fields) near Naples. It was defined by Dante Alighieri the entrance of the hell. Everything here is part of a volcano. The lake is a crater full of water and even Monte Nuovo was created by the volcano.

Today this volcano is extinct and there is a Sybil that keeps him quite. Sybil is probably the name of the woman that gave responses for intercession of god Apollo. The Sybil’s lair is very ancient. The gallery is extremely technologic and probably it had a technic purpose. Then it became a holy place, the Sybil’s lair.

Cuma Cave of the Sibyl

Cuma Cave of the Sibyl (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

With the contribution of: Regione Campania, Unione Europea – POC Campania 2014-2020 & Fondazione Film Commission Regione Campania

Full text video: The Cumaean Sibyl

Lake Avernus, the entrance to Avernus.
The Inferno according to Virgil and the Aeneid.
But it is naturally also a natural phenomenon.
Of course, this is a volcanic crater.
A volcano which in this case is extinct and is now filled with water to form this lake.
But the volcano here is everywhere:
It’s under the water, in the sea, and all around us.
And when the volcano awakens it even creates mountains.
Just like in the case of Monte Nuovo that in the 16th century suddenly appeared overnight
And it is the way it is. Here we are in the Phlegrean Fields, an area of Naples that is a volcano!
It is kept in check by a witch, a fairy, a sorceress… a sibyl!
The Cumaean Sibyl.
All I need to do now is to go and pay her a visit.
Perhaps Sibyl was a proper name, the name of the woman who gave responses by God’s intercession, usually Apollo.
The cave of the Sibyl…
Where might she be? Here?
I too am here for a response.
This place is a lot bigger than I ever imagined and than it appears in photos.
In terms of the structure, it resembles the Treasury of Atreaus or St. Catherine’s Well in Sardinia.
This tunnel is extraordinarily technological, a stone entirely carved and dug through tuff.
It undoubtedly had a purpose of a technical type.
Then it also became the location of the Sibyl, a sacred place where to come and ask for responses.
But I wonder what it was originally.
I wonder how old it is.
Sibyl, I want a response! Mine is a simple question and has to do with my future.
Here we are, the Sibyl prophesied and she will do so again for me, in a trance, using leaves.
Zoe – you’ll go – your daughter – you – travelling.
“Your daughter, travelling?”
“You will go with Zoe”, its Sibylline!
After all, she is a Sibyl!
You’ll go travelling with your daughter Zoe.
This is the response! I will go in search of the divine feminine in the Campania region, with my daughter Zoe.

Guido is a real expert on the Cave of the Sibyl, where he organises entertainment and meetings.
Events with which to regenerate these places: the cave, the archaeological area and the forest of Cumae.
The forest is a vast area that is under the tutelage of the Campania region.
Tens of kilometres of dune and Mediterranean scrub
that reproduce the emotions that the Greeks must have felt when they came to colonise the west and took possession of this place.
They weren’t daft!
Look Syusy, how lovely!
It’s really beautiful! All green!
Together we have formed a committee that helps in the management of the forest.
We are talking and we have done a number of things that concern the connection between the forest and area of the cave.
The protection of these places is entrusted to the administration, but it is supported by the citizens.
It’s a rediscovery of the origins of this place, in which every stone recalls its history.
Maze, the labyrinth, the cymbals, the Sibyl.
An extraordinary and ancient place, and a lot older than people say.


Visit Naples: helpful hints

Italian name: Napoli


Naples has its own international airportconnected to the city centre by a bus (it takes 15 minutes and it costs 5€). For transcontinental flights you have to stop in other airports, Rome is the closest one.


In Naples you find both buses, subways and funicular. The ticket is the same for all the transports and it costs 1,5€. For more information check the ANM website. If you prefer to visit the city on foot, here you can find an idea for you tour.

What to do

Naples is the capital city of Campania region, in Southern Italy. Naples is on a beautiful Gulf, extended from the Sorrento Peninsula to the volcaninc area called Phlegrean Fields, on the background the huge Vesuvius, one of the two active volcanoes in Italy. In the Gulf, three famous islands – Capri, Ischia and Procida. The historical centre of Naples is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995,  the most important monuments are the Dome, Palazzo Reale and the Maschio Angioino.

Speaking of food, Naples is the city where Pizza is born! 

Where to sleep

The best place to sleep in Naples is of course the city centre. Other very good alternatives are Posilippo and Vomero area, the harbor and the University area, the boardwalk and the more expensive Chiaia area.

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