Visit the submerged park of Baia


The Submerged Archaeological Park of Baia "From commercial port to protected marine area"

To retrace the main stages of the long journey that led to the establishment of the park, it is first of all necessary to explain why this area is today below sea level.
We are in the Campi Flegrei (from the Greek burning earth). In this area of volcanic origin there is the phenomenon of bradyseism, it consists in a rise (positive bradyseism) or lowering of the ground level (negative bradyseism) relatively slow on the scale of human times but very fast compared to geological times. Sometimes, as happens in the Phlegraean Fields, these movements can repeat themselves cyclically over a period of centuries.Generally this phenomenon is due to variations in the volume of a magma chamber close to the surface that empties and fills, or even to variations in heat which affect the volume of the water contained in the very porous subsoil. Due to the phenomenon of bradyseism, the ancient coastal strip has undergone a sinking with the consequent submersion of all the buildings that were built there. Sites of great importance in Roman times, where Pozzuoli was the most famous commercial city, Baia the most famous residential location and Miseno the seat of the military fleet, are now submerged. expansion of the quay of the port were brought to light sculptures, architectural elements, aquarian fistulae with imperial stamps.

In the 1940s, through aerial photos taken by the pilot Raimondo Baucher, the submerged archaeological area of Portus Julius was highlighted in the mirror in front of Lake Lucrino.
Despite the interest aroused by these discoveries, the first underwater archaeological survey campaign was launched in the waters of Baia in the 1960s. These investigations led between 1959 and 1960 to the drafting of the first archaeological map of the submerged city of Baia. A cobbled road flanked by buildings that opened onto it was found near Punta Epitaffio at about -6 meters deep. one of them will be found two decades later, the nymphaeum of the emperor Claudius, and then continuing towards the sea other remains of structures jutting out into the sea by means of cementitious castings (today we know that they are pertinent to the maritime quarter of the Pisoni villa). Finally, the identification of some concrete pylons, the Pilae, about 400 meters from the coast, which allowed the identification of the ancient coastline. Unfortunately, the program was soon interrupted due to the lack of means.

1969 marked two important stages for underwater archeology and the protection of the Baia area.
The first, causal, with the outcrop in front of Punta Epitaffio, following a storm, of two sculptures of great quality that were recognized as "Ulysses and companion with the wineskin", still in their place in the apse of a rectangular building (the Nymphaeum).
The second stage was the agreement between the superintendent of Naples Alfonso De Francis and the Director of the military orphanage, housed in the Castle of Baia, to allocate part of this complex to house the archaeological museum of the Phlegraean Fields.
Despite a lot of resonance, not even these two important stages managed to achieve an immediate following.

Only in 1980 was the first underwater excavation carried out directly by archaeologists, which led to the identification of the Nymphaeum of Emperor Claudius and its extraordinary sculptural complex.

In 1984 the Castle of Baia was finally handed over to the superintendency and a restoration project was started for functional interventions: a local archaeological office was set up, a first restoration laboratory for archaeological deposits. It was thus possible to begin the first experimental restoration interventions on the sculptures from the excavation of the Nymphaeum of Punta Epitaffio. In 1997 the room of the Nymphaeum of Punta Epitaffio was set up inside the museum where the submerged nymphaeum of the emperor Claudius is reproduced, which is close to the original, but it is not a reconstruction.
In the same period the survey of the submerged city of Baia resumed, where it had been suspended by Nino Lamboglia, by G. Di Fraia, E. Scognamiglio and N. Lombardi.
The edition of the archaeological map of submerged Bay dates back to them with the positioning of the buildings emerging from the seabed, located on the northern shore, better preserved as they are less traveled by trade routes. This is the access channel to the Baianus Lacus, the Roman-era water mirror similar to a lake; of a spa complex 40 meters east of Punta Epitaffio, of the Pisoni villa; a villa with a porch entrance and splendid floor decorations, facing a stretch of road, flanked by tabernae, the remains of fish ponds and piers.
On the southern shore, in the part in front of the shipyards and the quay of the port, due to the devastating effect of the port traffic, only a few remains of buildings are preserved, while proceeding towards the sea imposing stretches of a concrete quay pier, perpendicular to the large Roman pier, protected by some pilae, with remains of foundations in formwork with exceptionally preserved wooden sections.
To the south of the tip of Castello di Baia, which is located outside the port area, thanks also to the greater depth, there are the remains of spectacular fish ponds for the breeding of fish and molluscs.

In 1987 the archaeological constraint of the marine belt of 500 meters of the entire Flegreo area was placed with the prohibition to alter the state of the places.

Between 1994 and 1998 specific ordinances were issued by the harbor master's office to regulate the transit of commercial motor vessels.

In 1998 the superintendency took over the stretch of water on the northern shore.

In 1999 the first visit itinerary for divers was created.

In 2000, due to serious damage caused by a ferry running aground in the seabed, the commercial port activity was definitively suspended.

On 7 August 2002 the submerged archaeological park of Baia was established, equivalent to a protected marine area.
The provisional management of the submerged park was entrusted to the Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage of Naples and Caserta, subsequently the Special Superintendency of Naples and Pompeii. In 2016 the Campi Flegrei became the Special Superintendency which took the name of the Archaeological Park of the Phlegraean Fields which was entrusted with the management of the Submerged Park of Baia

Since then, giant steps have been taken in the protection and enhancement of the area. There are still many problems to be solved but the path appears to be outlined today.


The Ministry of the Environment and the protection of the territory, in concert with the Ministries for Cultural Heritage and Activities, Infrastructures and Transport, Agricultural and Forestry Policies and in agreement with the Campania Region, has established the Submerged Park of Baia ( DI 7.08.2002), equivalent to a marine protected area. The area includes the Bacoli and Pozzuoli coast between the head of the southern limit pier of the port of Baia (OMLIN pier) and the Lido Augusto pier (Pozzuoli) and is divided into three areas: integral reserve (A), general (B), partial (C). The provisional management of the submerged park has been entrusted to the Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage of Naples and Caserta.

The Submerged Park of Baia has as primary purposes
• environmental and archaeological protection and enhancement, also for employment purposes;
• the dissemination of knowledge of the biology of marine environments and submerged archaeological heritage;
• carrying out educational programs for the improvement of culture in the fields of ecology, marine biology and archeology;
• the realization of scientific programs to deepen the knowledge and study of the area;
• the promotion of a compatible socio-economic development by favoring traditional local activities already present, resident citizens and businesses based in the municipalities falling within the area.

The submerged parks of Baia in the Gulf of Pozzuoli and of Gaiola in the Gulf of Naples are established pursuant to art. 114, paragraph 10, of law no. 388 of 2000 (Finance Law 2001) by decree of the Minister of the environment, in agreement with the Ministers for cultural heritage and activities, transport and navigation and agricultural and forestry policies and in agreement with the Campania region.
They consist of a marine environment with significant historical, archaeological-environmental and cultural value.

January 31, 2007
On January 30, 2007, an agreement was signed between the Superintendency for Archaeological Heritage of the Provinces of Naples and Caserta and the Temporary Association of Assodiving Flegreum represented by the Centro Sub Campi Flegrei for the concession and relative regulation of underwater visits in the Submerged Archaeological Park of Bay. On 7 August 2007, the Assodiving Flegreum association became the Assodiving Flegreum Campanian Consortium.

For the concession and related regulation of underwater visits in the protected marine area of Baia (NA).

The year two thousand and seven (2007), the 30th day of January

- the Superintendence for the archaeological heritage of the provinces of Naples and Caserta in the person of its legal representative the superintendent Maria Luisa Nava, hereinafter referred to as the superintendency

The ATI Srl called Assodiving Flegreum (diving consortium), represented by the “Centro Sub Campi Flegrei”.


-The Soprintentenza, also as managing body of the Submerged Park of Baia, established with the Interministerial Decree of 07/08/2002, has an institutional interest in spreading the knowledge of the same;
- Diving have joined forces for the specific purpose of obtaining the authorization of the superintendency to carry out underwater tourist visits;


ART. 1
The premises form an integral part of the act.

ART. 2
The ATI undertakes to carry out dives with authorized fixed guides for a maximum number of eight people per dive.

ART. 3
The ATI undertakes to carry out a maximum of 5 dives per day in each area.

ART. 4
The ATI undertakes to arrange an anchor point (dead body or buoy) on each archaeological site at its own expense, to be identified by the underwater archaeological group of the Superintendency.

ART. 5
The cost of the ticket for each visit amounts to € 35.00.

ART. 6
The ATI undertakes to send to the Superintendency by the 5th of each month, the calendar with the indication of the dates relating to the underwater visits.

ART. 7
The ATI undertakes to pay the 10% royalties on the total gross turnover to the superintendency every three months.

ART. 8
The ATI undertakes to communicate and justify, with reports of the dives completed, the above payment within five days of the month following the payment (April-July-October-January).

ART. 9
The ATI undertakes to take out an insurance policy for any damage that may arise to visitors from the activity that is the subject of the concession. Stamp duty and any ancillary costs are charged to the Concessionaire.

ART. 10
The parties undertake to integrate this agreement whenever it is deemed necessary.

ART. 11
This agreement has an expressly renewable annual duration upon expiry.

ART. 12
This agreement will be subject to forfeiture in the event of non-payment of a quarterly installment of the royalties due if 30 days have elapsed from the deadline.

ART. 13
In the event of a dispute, the exclusive jurisdiction will be that of Naples.

ART. 14
This deed is drawn up in triple original and, after reading and confirmation, it is signed by the parties on the day, month and year indicated above.

On 7 August 2007 the Assodiving Flegreum Campanian Consortium was born. The diving regulations remain unchanged. Subsequently, in 2012, the authorizations were issued to individual diving centers.

In 2016 the Campi Flegrei became the Special Superintendency called the "Archaeological Park of the Phlegraean Fields". A new regulation is drawn up and an entry "Ticket" established for € 5.00 for each diving excursion and € 3.00 for each snorkeling excursion. The new regulation has entered into force but is still provisional. The managing body together with the companies concerned is working on the definitive regulation.
Dive sites:
Sunken Nymphaeum of Claudius
Portus Julius
The Pisonian Villa
The Villa with Prothyrum Entrance
Smoky Reef
Villa in front of the Aragonese Castle
Maritime Villa of Marina Grande
Miseno Lighthouse Tower and Nativity Scene
Terme del Lacus

From 1 July the restoration works of the new polychrome mosaic will begin by the ISCR of Rome underwater section directed by Dr. Barbara Davidde. During the month of July it will be possible to go scuba diving, admire the depths of the park and at the same time see the restorers at work, thanks to the project launched by the Managing Authority, Parco Archeologico dei Campi Flegrei, in partner with the ISCR, "Cantieri Aperti ".

From 26 October to 1 November 2020 there will be the IV edition of the Archeocamp review of Underwater Archeology conceived by the Centro Sub Campi Flegrei. An entire week dedicated to underwater archeology with exhibitions, conferences, diving, snorkeling, training courses in underwater archeology, workshops for children and much more.

If you want to take a dip in the fascinating history of our country, the instructors of the Sub Campi Flegrei Center will accompany you on a visit to the Submerged Archaeological Park of Baia in Naples. Equipped with a mask and fins, you can visit the Submerged Archaeological Park of Baia and observe what remains of the civilization that lived here in antiquity: villas and mosaics now immersed in a cloud of fish ... you don't need to be a licensed diver to swim among the Roman ruins!

This course is designed to be a safe and supervised introduction to underwater archeology. It is designed so that divers learn theoretical notions, begin practicing planning techniques and procedures, and learn about the problems and dangers of archaeological diving. The importance of using environmentally friendly techniques and the sensitivity of archaeological activity will be reiterated throughout the course.
The training must highlight fun, social and personal worth, satisfaction and emphasize safety. At the end of the course, the PADI Underwater Archeology badge and a certificate of participation will be issued.

In collaboration with REITIA - Documentations for Underwater Archeology.
Reitia, International Training Partner of the Nautical Archaeological Society (NAS - international reference point in training in underwater archeology), organizes, with the collaboration of the Sub Campi Flegrei Center at the Submerged Park of Baia - Pozzuoli (NA), the NAS Introduction to Foreshore and Underwater Archeology and NAS Part I: Certificate in Foreshore and Underwater Archeology according to internationally validated educational standards, accredited by UNESCO and recognized as university credits in many European and non-European countries.
The training courses provide for the learning of the basic principles of underwater archeology with the study of the main operational areas and 2D / 3D survey methods with simulation of different operational situations in real archaeological environments according to the NAS standards and the indications of the 'Italian Association of Underwater Scientific Operators (AIOSS) and of the European Scientific Diving relating to scuba diving conducted for scientific purposes.

In collaboration with the Centro Sub Campi Flegrei diving center

The Sub Campi Flegrei center intends to complete the work carried out in the previous fields in the submerged archaeological park of Baia. Once these works have been completed, we will move to the stretch of coast facing the Aragonese Castle of Baia, where the remains of a large maritime villa are submerged, of which the fish ponds, the pavilions and various porticoed environments have been recognized. A semi-annular structure is noteworthy, probably another fish pond, protected by pilae or opus pilarum (large blocks in cement and tuff that seem to form the pattern of opus reticolatum on the exposed faces), which are supposed to be evidence of the presence of a pier.
The following will be carried out: the classification of the biodiversity present, the reproduction of architectural details of the wall structures, the three-dimensional relief of these, the altimetric quotation and the artistic reproduction of the six statues present in the Nymphaeum of Claudio. In the other site the reconstruction and plan of the wall remains and of the opus pilarum will be carried out. Site maps will then be drawn up, disclosure forms of the species present and a relief model built.

The project started in 2006 aims to increase the usability of the park.

In collaboration with REITIA - Documentations for Underwater Archeology

The workshop scheduled for three days is aimed at students, graduates in archeology and conservation of cultural heritage and divers in possession of an ARA diving license and a medical certificate of non-competitive fitness for diving, interested in acquiring a basic preparation on digital underwater photographic techniques for scientific documentation purposes. The limited number of workshops is reserved for a maximum of 10 students and will consist of theoretical and practical sessions held by Reitia instructors and sector specialists. At the end of the course the CMAS / ACDC (Ph1) international underwater photography patent will be issued and a certificate of participation that could be useful to students following the NAS PART III: Advanced Certificate in Foreshore and Underwater Archeology.

In collaboration with REITIA - Documentations for Underwater Archeology