• Anne Dicks posted an update in the group Group logo of Travel – Staff Private TravelTravel – Staff Private Travel 5 years, 2 months ago

    I don’t know how to upload a photo of me on the glass bottomed boat CYMBA as proof that – (despite the hotel rep telling us that Naples was far too dangerous for anybody to visit on their own) – we DID find our way from Sorrento to Naples, across Naples using the metro, through some dodgy back streets to find the Cumana station to Fusaro (following instructions from a market stall holder), then (following instructions from a man in a bar), we walked over a hill and discovered the port of Baia. The glass-bottomed boat CYMBA was there, and they were expecting us because I had phoned to book our seats from home.

    BUT underwater visibility was zero so the boat didn’t sail so we couldn’t look at the underwater Roman villas and mosaics. Instead we went to a spectacular museum in the Castello and then walked on the volcanic crater at the Solfatara so it wasn’t a wasted day …..

    • Exciting! The remains at Baiai look quite something from the few photos I’ve seen (no doubt carefully taken). What are they like and what access do you get? What’s in the museum at Castello? Sounds good fun, Anne!

      • There is so much to see at Baia and I spent hours on the internet working out how to get there and how to book the glass bottomed boat. Since that only runs at the weekend, (although it is bookable for parties on weekdays) it meant that I was stuck with the Sunday service on the Cumana railway line from Naples and the local buses which all seemed to stop for a siesta and meant we were stranded at bus stops for far too long! We joined forces with a Classics teacher from Germany who had spent hours trying to get to Cumae on the supposedly available Circumflegrea railway line but which actually only ran during the morning. This line and the Cumana line both start from Naples and terminate at Torregaveta but its route is further inland. If anyone does want to book the glass bottomed boat, please be aware that they don’t reply to emails so you have to phone them! Places have to be booked 48 hours before sailing.

        So I would recommend going on a weekday to get decent public transport and forget about CYMBA. Another alternative if you want to see the underwater sites and you like swimming is to book a scuba diving course!

        As we walked down the steps from Fusaro into Baia we passed the entrance to the Terme museum. That is part of a huge complex which we didn’t have chance to look at at all. The whole hillside is terraced with wonderful stuff so I will be back there to look at it as soon as I can. The attendant told us that our priority should be the museum in the Castello which overlooks the bay, since that was due to close in an hour, and she told us where to catch the bus.

        This castle was built on the site of a Roman villa. It houses the museum of the Campi Flegrei and you can see all the stuff from Cumae and the naval base at Miseno – as well as a wonderful view of the hill there: great to see the real thing after using so many powerpoint photos to illustrate Book 6 of the Aeneid for so many years! We spent ages in the two long galleries which house these artefacts and it is the best way to get an overview of everything there is in the area.

        Then we waited for over an hour for the bus.
        If it had not been a blisteringly hot day it would have been possible to walk back down to the harbour, but this was just not an option for us! When it eventually came, we had changed our minds about our itinerary but we had to change our minds again because the bus didn’t call where we expected it to, so we decided to take it as far as the Cumana railway stop at Fusaro. Since we were starving we thought that Pozzuoli would be our best bet for food and transport to anywhere else and people in the bus station there were really helpful even though the buses were few and far between, so the Solfatara crater was our eventual decision. I am sure it is far less dangerous now than it was when I was last there in 1972, but the Health and Safety provisions there were still rather laughable. I’m sure that it was not just our imagination that other passengers on the Cumana and Circumvesuviana trains on the way back to Sorrento were edging as far away from us as they could, and we did head for the shower as soon as we got back to the hotel!

        So – after all that – I can’t really answer your question. Yes, the remains are wonderful and there are loads of them. I will be back – on a weekday, but I don’t intend to go diving.

        • It looks as if the new BBC4 three-part series on Roman Art will show the underwater finds at Baiae THIS COMING MONDAY at 9pm.