Pozzuoli (Italian pronunciation: [potˈtswɔːli]; Neapolitan: Pezzulo [pətˈtsuːlə]; Latin: Puteoli) is a city and comune of the Metropolitan City of Naples, in the Italian region of Campania. It is the main city of the Phlegrean Peninsula.
Location of Pozzuoli in Campania
|Metropolitan city||Naples (NA)|
|Frazioni||Arco Felice, Campana Annunziata, Cuma, Licola Centro, Licola Lido, Lucrino, Montenuovo, Monterusciello, Pisciarelli, Toiano|
|• Mayor||Vincenzo Figliolia (PD)|
|• Total||43.44 km2 (16.77 sq mi)|
|Elevation||28 m (92 ft)|
(31 August 2017)
|• Density||1,900/km2 (4,800/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
80078, 80014, 80125
|Patron saint||St. Proculus|
|Saint day||16 November|
The Samnites occupied Dicaearchia in 421 BC after conquering Cumae and may have changed its name to Fistelia. It enjoyed considerable political and commercial autonomy favoured by the excellent position of its port with the Campanian hinterland.
The Roman occupation of Campania after the end of the 1st Samnite War from 341 BC marked the start of the Romanisation of the Greek-Samnite city.
During the Second Punic War (218-201 BC), Rome experienced the strategic importance of the port of Puteoli and reinforced the defences and introduced a garrison to protect the town from Hannibal, who failed to capture it in 215. They made it a Roman colony from 195 BC.
The Roman conquest of the east and the need for a port to trade made it the Mediterranean port of Rome, even though it was 150 miles away. It took the name Puteoli whose roots are in the Latin puteus (well or cistern). An alternative etymology of Puteoli derives from the Latin puteo (to stink), referring to the sulfuric fumes in the area, most notably from Solfatara.
Puteoli became the great emporium for the Alexandrian grain ships and other ships from all over the Roman world. It also was the main hub for goods exported from Campania, including blown glass, mosaics, wrought iron, and marble. Lucilius wrote in about 125 BC that it was second only to Delos in importance, then the greatest harbour of the ancient world. Many inscriptions show that a polyglot population established companies (stationes) for trade and transport and formed professional guilds for arts, crafts and religious associations for foreign cults; they included Greeks from the islands and the coast of Asia, Jews and later Christians. Under the Roman Empire, it was the greatest emporium of foreign trade in all of Italy. Trade with Tyre was so important that the Tyrians established a factory there in 174 (C.I. no. 5853).
The Roman naval base at nearby Misenum housed the largest naval fleet in the ancient world. It was also the site of the Roman Dictator Sulla's country villa and the place where he died in 78 BC. Cicero had a house in Puteoli and a villa nearby on the shore of the Lucrine Lake. Pliny mentions Puteoli as the site of a famed cochlearium created by Fulvius Hirpinus, known for raising exquisite snails.
The local volcanic sand, pozzolana (Latin: pulvis puteolanus, "dust of Puteoli") formed the basis for the first effective concrete, as it reacted chemically with water. Instead of just evaporating slowly off, the water would turn this sand/lime mix into a mortar strong enough to bind lumps of aggregate into a load-bearing unit. This made possible to construct the cupola of the Pantheon, which is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome.
The apostle Paul landed here on his way to Rome, from which it was 170 miles (274 kilometres) distant. Here he stayed for seven days (Acts 28:13, 14) and then began with his companions his journey by the Appian Way to Rome.
Puteoli is considered the best candidate for the unnamed city where the 1st-century Roman novel Satyricon takes place.
In 37 AD Puteoli was the location for a political stunt by Emperor Gaius Caligula, who, on becoming Emperor, ordered a temporary floating bridge to be built using trading vessels, stretching for over two miles (3.2 km) from the town to the famous neighboring resort of Baiae, across which he proceeded to ride his horse, in defiance of an astrologer's prediction that he had "no more chance of becoming Emperor than of riding a horse across the Gulf of Baiae".
With the development of the port of Ostia begun by Claudius in 42 AD, completed by Nero in 54 and enlarged by Trajan between 100 and 106, the fortunes of Puteoli began to decline although Antoninus Pius repaired the pier's storm damage in 139. Nero's abortive attempt to build the Fossa Neronis canal from Puteoli to Rome may have prolonged its life.
As a reward for their support in the fight against Vitellius, Vespasian (r. 69-79 AD) installed more veterans there, assigned the city a part of the Capuan territory and gave it the title Colonia Flavia which it retained.
Two aqueducts eventually served Puteoli; the Campanian aqueduct dating from the 1st c. BC at latest, and also the Aqua Augusta. Several cisterns still exist, including the very large Piscina di Cardito.
Saint Proculus (San Procolo) was martyred here with his companions in the fourth century and is the city's patron saint. The seven eagle heads on the coat-of-arms for the town of Pozzuoli are said to represent seven of these martyrs. November 16 was the official feast day for Saint Proculus. St. Proculus was affectionately nicknamed 'u pisciasotto ("the pants-pisser") because November 16 was often a day of rain. The townspeople also celebrated his feast day on the second Sunday in May.
Charles Lyell visited Pozzuoli in 1828 and studied the Macellum columns.
Since 1946 the town has been the home of the Accademia Aeronautica, the Italian Air Force Academy, which was first situated on the island of Nisida, then from 1962 on a purpose-built hilltop campus overlooking the bay.
From August 1982 to December 1984, the city experienced hundreds of tremors and bradyseismic activity, which peaked on 4 October 1983, damaging 8,000 buildings in the city centre and displacing 36,000 people, many permanently. The events raised the sea bottom by almost 2 m, and rendered the Bay of Pozzuoli too shallow for large craft.
The town's attractions include:
Media related to Pozzuoli at Wikimedia Commons