The new Visit itinerary opens in the Submerged Archaeological Park of Baia with the new Polychrome Mosaic
Published on 8 July 2020
Almost twenty years after the establishment of the Submerged Park, which took place in 2002, the Archaeological Park of the Phlegraean Fields will open to the public on Friday 10 July the new tour of the Submerged Park of Baia. It will be possible to see the new polychrome mosaic. In addition, throughout the month of July it will be possible to see the Restorers of the Central Institute of Restoration underwater, working on the new mosaic. Do not miss the opportunity, book a diving or snorkeling visit.
The new dive site is located in the center between the well-known Nymphaeum of Claudio and the Villa dei Pisoni, a whole new block has been investigated in recent months: we are facing a complex of over 2500 m2, overlooking the Lacus baianus, the basin on which the entire center of Baia stretched out in Roman times. The investigations, still in progress, have identified a spa complex, probably inserted in a private residence, still largely to be investigated.
The start of the research took place in 2018 with the opening of the investigations on the first mosaic with polychrome tiles identified in Baia sommersa. It is a floor with a geometric design composed of juxtaposed octagons, decorated in the center with stylized flowers, all different from each other. Together with the Central Institute of Restoration of Rome, the first restoration activities were immediately launched to protect the remains partially compromised over the years by sea currents. The team of restorers of the MIBACT Institute, led by Barbara Davidde, then monitored the remains and started, starting from 6 July, the restoration site for the final safety of the floor.
For visitors it will be a unique opportunity: the visit to the new complex and, at the same time, the vision of the construction site active on the remains for the whole month of July. Three daily windows during the week will allow a close encounter both with the new submerged neighborhood and with the operators intent on saving the floor, dated to the third century. AD During the weekend, and then in the following months, the route will remain open at the usual times of the Underwater Park, and therefore with the possibility of visiting, accompanied by authorized diving centers, throughout the day.
It will thus be possible to observe the three apsed rooms which, with large windows, offered a view of the Lacus baianus to the visitors of the thermal spaces: here remain the remains of the marble slab floors, but also bases and columns, in the same precious material, as well as the steps that allowed the descent to one of the thermal baths. A large quay protected the walls from the wave motion inside the bay: we can read in its well-preserved remains the reinforcement that this structure underwent to limit the first effects of bradyseism, which already at the end of the Roman Empire created the first obvious problems . Both the pier and the floors were in fact raised with respect to the early construction phases of the building, to avoid flooding the rooms.
The abandonment that the whole area underwent in the following centuries due to the continuous lowering of the ground meant that some of the decorative elements remained here abandoned and buried by the sand: among these the two marble trapezoid holes, that is supports for a table, very recently found in one of the rooms of the complex, decorated with elegant animal protomes, probably of panther. Transported to the laboratories of the Archaeological Museum of the Phlegraean Fields in the Castle of Baia, these finds will soon be exhibited for the visit, but the overall project involves the execution of casts, as for the statues of the nymphaeum of Punta Epitaffio, to be repositioned in the same point of the discovery. and therefore usable during the underwater visit.
The itinerary is completed with the vision of the rooms of the residential space, with a large peristyle, of which one recognizes the long covered ambulatory and the columns that supported it, and the large rooms, also decorated with mosaics that opened onto it. Outside of these, on the side facing the Lacus, we can still see the bollards, perhaps of the owners of the complex, to which the boats could moor: a further trace of the fervent world active in Baia between the second century. BC and the fourth century. AD that the sea has kept us up to our days.
Regarding the opening of the new route and the recent discoveries, the director of the Phlegraean Fields Archaeological Park Fabio Pagano said: “It is a really important moment for the Submerged Park of Baia. After more than a decade, we are opening a new visiting sector. The goal is to make this site, one of a kind, accessible in all its extension and above all to the largest number of people. This is why the new route can also be visited by canoe and snorkeling. The research work that we have started of course does not end here. We hope to open new sectors in the next few years to fully exploit the potential of the Submerged Park which is truly extraordinary ".
For information and reservations: Centro Sub Campi Flegrei