NEW FINDS AT SUBMERGED ROMAN CITY OF BAIA
The submerged Roman palace in the Bay of Baia (Naples, Campania) continues to produce surprises. Archaeology divers recently uncovered beautiful multi-coloured pavements hidden under the sand, which have been described as “a psychedelic-like tangle of geometric designs, made with coloured mosaic stones.”
Baia was a much favoured holiday retreat for the ancient Roman elite, due to its mild climate and healing sulphur springs. Consequently, the sea bed is scattered with the fascinating remnants of luxury residences, although the most important statues and sculptures have been removed to the nearby Castle Museum and substituted by copies.
The palace, along with other important public buildings, disappeared under the bay water towards the end of the 4th century AD when the coast slowly began to sink, due to the natural phenomenon known as bradyseism, caused by volcanic activity from Vesuvius and the nearby Campi Flegrei (the so-called Burning Fields). The luxurious villas of the wealthy Romans were abandoned and were gradually swallowed up by the sea, along with their sculptures, columns, paved roads and other treasures.
The area was declared a protected Archaeological Marine Park in 2002, with access restricted to tours with expert guides. Professional diving instructors are on hand to guide those who want to experience the unique thrill of swimming around submerged columns and statues. For landlubbers, there is also a service of glass-bottomed boats for viewing from the surface.
Info: Tel. +39. 081.868.7592 www.parcosommersobaia.beniculturali.it