The great caldera

There is no other place in the world where history, myth and legends take root and flourish in a magical combination with the nature of the place itself.

The Phlegraean Fields are an enchanting place and the first person to 'sing' the charm and magic of the Phlegraean Fields was Virgil. An enviable local climate, a coastline of remarkable beauty, typical Phlegraean products, archaeological sites rich in history, thermal resources and natural springs to be exploited frame what mainly characterises the place: the volcanic phenomenon.

The name Campi Flegrei, from the Greek literally 'burning fields', denotes the volcanic nature of the area and the presence of fumaroles and thermal waters well known and exploited in antiquity. Located in the Gulf of Pozzuoli, west of the city of Naples, the vast area has some forty volcanoes, among which is the Solfatara of Pozzuoli, currently in a state of quiescence, meaning that there is no eruptive activity but there is background volcanic, seismic and deformative activity.

The particular phenomenon that characterises this area is called bradyseism: a slow movement of the ground that is currently experiencing uplift activity with an average rate of about 13 mm/month. Since December 2012 the Phlegraean Fields have risen in alert level from green (basic) to yellow (attention) and preventive evacuation is identified as the only measure to safeguard the population.

In the Phlegraean Fields caldera there is no simple central volcano with its characteristic cone shape that dominates the landscape and gives you a certain awareness of the risk and a greater degree of 'conscious acceptance' of the area in which you live. Its conformation is very peculiar; the volcano is there but cannot be seen. And it is precisely on the belly of this giant that urbanisation is very intense; it is practically within the volcanic area itself.

My research aims to investigate the uniqueness of this land and reflect on how the people of this place inhabit it.