Lake Avernus has been famous since ancient times for the legends that believed it was the entrance to the kingdom of the Underworld. Its fumes, the dense woods located on the shores of the lake, certainly contributed to making the landscape even more gloomy and mysterious. In reality, having formed inside a volcanic crater, the fumes of the lake were due to the fumes of hydrogen sulphide and carbonic acid that prevented birds from flying over it. Hence the name Averno, from the Greek Aornon: without birds.

It was the site of a great work created by Agrippa, Octavian's military and politician: the Portus Julius. Dating back to 37 BC, it was a navigable canal which, through the nearby lake Lucrino, connected the Avernus to the sea. The lake was therefore used as a shipbuilding and repair yard, while the Lucrino was used as a real port basin. At the time, Lake Lucrino was much wider, and the coastal strip that separated it from the sea was much more advanced than it is today, so it could accommodate a greater number of ships.

Although it played a fundamental role in the war, the port did not last long: the construction, a few years later, of the new military port of Miseno, and the slow lowering of the coast due to the phenomenon of bradyseism (from the Greek bradýs - slow and seismós - shock) caused its decline.

On the shores of the lake it is possible to find several archaeological remains connected to the imperial period. Among these: the temple of Apollo, the cave of Cocceio and the cave of the Sibyl. Also of great importance is the presence of historic vineyards, so defined because the vines still date back to the time of the ancient Romans.


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