Submerged Park of Baia

The submerged park of Baia is an underwater naturalistic and archaeological area. In particular, it is an ancient Roman city which was relegated to the sea floor by the phenomenon of bradyseism.

A short distance from the city of Naples, in Baia, you will find this submerged park of unprecedented historical and cultural value. Though it has been established recently, it is a “unique” of the Mediterranean area as well as a paradise, especially for lovers of underwater exploration.

The park is a significant example of underwater archaeological protection. It is often referred to as the “underwater Pompeii” because of the extraordinary richness of submerged archaeological discoveries 5-7 meters below sea level.

Submerged park of Baia

Submerged park of Baia: where it is

The park is located precisely in Bacoli, in the homonymous town of Baia. It is an underwater archaeological site, proof of the flourishing Roman colony, that tourists can access through special itineraries.

Roman Atlantis

Baia constituted a branch of Rome in Campania, whose landscape values created the conditions for a regular presence of the Roman potentate. The size of the city was modest, actually there were 400 meters of buildings, including baths and villas of Roman patricians. Its inlet was dotted with suburban seaside villas. The locality was notorious for its hot thermal waters, sought after for luxury and rest.

There are several testimonies of Latin authors like Horace, Propertius and Pliny the Elder who write of Baia as a place of well-being and health.

Peculiarities of the submerged park of Baia

The peculiarity of the area is given by bradyseism, a volcanic phenomenon that has affected the entire north coast of the Neapolitan area. Bradyseism consists of a periodic lowering or raising of the ground level. It is visually recognizable along the seashore, where it causes the sinking of buildings, coasts and territories.

Origins of the Park  

The submerged Baia came to light in the thirties of the last century, when the port was first dredged. The project to create an archeological park open to the public and of exceptional tourism importance was one of the aims of Amedeo Maiuri’s activity.

At the time the great archaeologist stated:

Thirty years ago, the small port of Baia was dredged and at that time, in addition to the sailing ships that moored there for the cargo of the pozzolana, it also served the docking of the line boats to Procida and Ischia. Work began and in place of shallows and rocks, the remains of columns, statues and pieces of pavement emerged. They had found the sumberged city of Baia…

In late ancient times a cataclysm had made it collapse together with the wonderful mosaics that covered the villas, the streets, the thermal baths, the statues. And then the bradyseism in those volcanic areas did the rest by sinking it.

The national government strongly supported the idea of bringing the baths back.

As a result, the marine protected area was officially established by interdepartmental order in 2002. Its establishment promoted the creation of a space exclusively dedicated to the protection of these remains and a series of visits.

The masterpieces of the park

Some of the most valuable and noteworthy sunken finds include:

  • Ninfeo di Punta Epitaffio
  • Ninfeo Sommerso di Claudio
  • Villa della famiglia dei Pisoni
  • Villa a Protiro
  • Portus Julius
  • Secca delle Fumose 

The extraordinary value of these sites is given by their optimal state of conservation, as well as by the archaeological historical value. The beauty of this submerged site is undeniable, in combination with the peculiar marine flora and fauna, shaped by the strength of the subsoil of the Campi Flegrei.