I lived in Torregaveta during the early 1970's while attending the University of naples. I spent many facinating days exploring Cuma. Friends told me of a hugh dome shaped cave where the Sibyl used to accept visitors. The cave I speak of is not the trapezoidal passage shown on all of the information I see. The cave was at the base of the hill. Standing at the entrance you can see it was dome shaped, very dark. The only light which entered from a hole in the ceiling shown on a circular rock seat in the center of the cave. The vision was dramatic, as was it's intention. The visitors entered the dark cave and would only see the seated and sun lite Sibyl in the center. I have not seen any photos of the cave. On a visit years later, I asked of the cave (cavern) which no one knew what I was talking about. Has anyone seen this?
Thank you for the inquiry. From your description--
"not the trapezoidal passage...The cave was at the base of the hill. Standing at the entrance you can see it was dome shaped, very dark. The only light which entered from a hole in the ceiling shown on a circular rock seat in the center of the cave..."
...you may, in fact, NOT be talking about a natural cave, but rather one of the constructed buildings in the area, one of the many temples in the area, such as the "Temple of Mercury" in Baia, among others. It is possible that a story passed down over time connecting one of these structures with the sibyl. That would not be correct but certainly not the only time that has happened. Here are some links to photos that may help jog your memory. If they ring a bell, let us know. If they don't, let us know and we'll see what else we can come up with.
Hi Jeff, I just typed a response to you but noted it did not show up on the forum. Round two.
I appreciate your response and viewed the photos you mentioned. I am very familiar with the photos. During my free time, I spent many hours exploring Baia, both the ruins on land and those submerged. I use to dive with an Italian friend on the submerged Baia ruins. He had a dive shop on the port called "Baia Subaqua". He later started a restaurant on the same port of Baia.
The dome shaped cavern at Cuma was definitly not a "tufa and mortar" structure.
The cavern was within the Cuma mount itself and not an exterior structure. The entrance was at the base of the mount. I am not sure if it was a natural cavern or one carved out of the tufa. I do know the hole in the ceiling and placement of the Sibyl's rock seat was placed for the dramatic effect. Dramatic it was, much so that I visited numerous times and brought friends to visit. There are memories of places we all have that left an impact, this one is as clear as day for me.
Sorry I don't have your name, fas51, I am a friend of Napoliunderground as well as Prof. Jeff Matthews and have done translation for NUg for a dozen years along with Jeff. I had not remembered about the Cripta Romana, an early Roman tunnel used for quick passage from Cuma to other sites in the area. The vertical shaft in the tuf sandstone, which was incorporated in the excavation of the tunnel, does indeed send down a rather dramatic shaft of light. I was stationed in Napoli in the late 50's early 60's and also spent lots of time exploring Cuma, Baia, Monte Nuovo and other wonderful sites available to anyone who wants to visit.
Please let us know if the NUg photo gallery and video links Selene just posted could be what you remember.
Thanks for visiting our site and for posting on the forum.
Thanks for the Photos Selene and comments from Larry.
The Crypta Romana photos seem to be more of a corridor and tunnel shape. The photos show a large entry. As Larry memtioned this was a passage from point to point. I'll do some research to see if the cavern is La Crypta Romana and get back to everyone interested.
Question: where is the seating rock below the ceiling opening. It was not something that can be moved easily. And if moved, why would it be. I did not see the seat in the photos. The entrance I speak of was not part of the tour, but obsecure from tourist traffic. My local friends who showed me the entrance indicted it was not open to the public. It was not the connecting tunnel to Averno. It was a circular dome shaped cavern with an opening in the ceiling and Sibyl's seat was illuminated during the daylight. I am also familiar with the dome shaped Temple of Diana in Baia, similar in concept and not in construction (my cavern was subterranean), but different places.
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