Villa a Protiro’s path
This visit provides a clear picture not only of a fragment of the ancient topography but also of the
building density of this stretch of coast through an ancient district of Baia: a long road overlooked
by thermal baths, tabernas and villas.
From the main road you enter the common rooms and the collection tanks of water, using the
same ancient entrances, in a large public bath where the heated rooms are still recognizable, with
the typical cavities of the floors for the passage of hot air.
Continuing on the main road you will recognize a series of small rooms all the same, the tabernas,
where the ancient traders exhibited the goods and offered their services to passers-by. A little
further on, the shops give way to a sumptuous entrance: two columns flanked by seats (the porch
hence the name of the complex) mark the entrance to a private villa. Upon entering you can see
small rooms that are distributed around a central atrium (one of these still preserves a splendid
Behind it, other rooms, characterized by a rich wall decoration, extend to the limit of the ancient
Villa dei Pisoni’s path
A large garden surrounded by arcades, spas and residential rooms is the heart of what is known
about the Villa dei Pisoni until today. The underwater path crosses these spaces along the
corridor with semi-circular niches up to the thermal rooms where the hydraulic floors of the hot
water tubs and the complex hot air supply system are still preserved.
You then skirt the large garden through a corridor with rectangular and semicircular niches and the
semi-columned portico with suggestive scenographic effects, to enter the residential area of the
villa. We meet another small spa with remains of a mosaic floor and a series of rooms with floors
in marble slabs that are gently lost in the sand that has kept them until today.
More secluded, numerous service areas lead to the strictly maritime area, consisting of two small
landings and a fishpond for fish farming; a series of 25 piloe (i.e. concrete pillars) built in the sea
protected this side of the villa from storm surges.
The attribution of these structures to the villa of the Pisoni gens was possible thanks to the
discovery of a fistula aquaria (a water pipe) bearing the name of the person who commissioned
the work: Lucio Calpurnio Pisone. The discovery of the fisula is particularly important: it is the only
case in which an inscription has been found that allows the remains of a Bahian villa to be
attributed to an owner.
From the ancient texts we also know another member of this family, who lived around the middle
of the 1st century AD, Gaius Calpurino Pisone (known for having conspired against the emperor
Nero, right in his villa in Baia). Following the discovery of the plot, the villa was expropriated and
became part of the imperial possessions. The imposing remains that today lie on the seabed are
part of a substantial restructuring that took place in the 1st century AD. during the reign of
Leaving zone A of the park and entering zone C, starting from the Villa dei Pisoni one follows a
long sandy isthmus (reinforced towards the sea by an artificial cliff) on which, according to ancient
literary sources, ran the Via Herculanea and which was the ancient limit of the Lucrino lake.
The bradyseism and the eruption of Monte Nuovo in 1538 completely upset this stretch of coast,
transforming this part of the lake into the open sea. The ancient isthmus, about a kilometer and a
half long, is interrupted only in the central section at the "Secca Fumosa": this area, which takes
its name from the presence of massive submarine emissions of gas and hot waters, preserves a
series of 28 massive pylons that rise from the bottom to a height of 6-7 meters, built to protect a
large area behind, probably a dock.
After the interruption, the isthmus resumes to connect 440 meters further on to the entrance
channel of the Portus lulius. The complex was born as a military port in 37 BC. at the behest of
Agrippa, son-in-law of Augustus, in anticipation of the war against Sesto Pompeo (Zone B of the
Park). Great engineering works were carried out for its construction: a 400-meter-long canal to
connect the sea with Lake Lucrino and another to connect it with Lake Averno.
Having abandoned the military role transferred to the new port of Miseno, the Portus lulius,
expanded with infrastructures and warehouses, assumed an important commercial function,
enhancing the receptivity of that of Puteoli. The knowledge of the port, which now lies at a low
depth, is largely due (albeit in general lines) to aerial photography and geographical surveys
thanks to which the ancient extension, the access channel, the docks and the warehouses have