The Cave of the Sibyl

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An archaeological site of great charm located on the occidental boundary of the vast area of the Phlegraean Fields, an ancient place whose origins are deeply rooted in myth.

The Phlegraean Fields, literally the land of fire, are a vast area located in the north-west of Naples which is still today affected by an impressive seismic and volcanic activity that has bewitched men for centuries with its huge alluring charm. Due to its morphology and volcanic nature, the myth has named it the land of Giants. The poet Homer considered the area around Lake Avernus to be the connection place between the world of the living and the world of the dead, and claimed that in the underground tunnels located in this area live the “Cimmeri”, strange men who lived in darkness without ever seeing sunlight. But the most fascinating character bound to these places is without doubt the Cumaean Sybil, the priestess who made almost indecipherable prophecies from inside her cave. The Sybil, along with the Mermaid Partenope, is one of the most recognizable characters in the history of Campania, and many myths concerning her have risen in time. The most famous of which tells that the young Sybil asked Apollo the gift of a life as long as many years as the number of dust specks she could hold in one hand, forgetting to ask for eternal youth as well. For this reason she grew so old that she became small enough to live in an ampoule, or that even her voice was the only thing left of her.
Legends aside, the Phlegraean Fields still hold an important archaeological heritage which tells us of its ancient Greek origins and the cults tied to them. The archaeological park of Cuma consists of the city’s Acropolis where the temples of Apollo and Jupiter can be seen, which were transformed into Christian churches during the middle ages, the Roman Crypt, a long tunnel built for military purposes, and last but not least the Cave of the Sybil with its long trapezoidal tunnel dug in tuff rock.

The archaeological park of Cuma is open every day from 9 am until an hour before sunset. The cost of the ticket is 4 euros; it is valid for 2 days and allows visiting all the sites of the Complesso Monumentale Archeologico Flegreo (The archaeological museum of the Phlegraean Fields, the Baia archaeological park, the Flavio e Serapeo amphitheatre in Pozzuoli, and the archaeological park of Cuma).