Piscina Mirabilis, the hidden light

When the sun is high in the sky, the darkness of the Piscina Mirabilis in Bacoli, in the province of Naples, is pierced by diagonal blades of light that make the Roman cistern, built during the reign of Augustus, resemble a magnificent, secret cathedral that is invisible from the outside.

A dense rain of rays falls from fifteen meters of height, revealing vaulted ceilings and the silhouette of forty-eight pillars, defining four seventy-two-meter-long aisles.

This twelve-thousand-cubic-meters basin, dug in the tuff of the hill overlooking Miseno’s port, was where drinking water from sources in Serino, near Avellino, ended its journey after one hundred kilometers through the Aqua Augusta aqueduct, to quench the thirst of the men of the greatest fleet of the Roman Empire – the Classis Misenensis – as well as of the people living in Naples and the Phlegraean area.

A hidden pearl in the penumbra of the earth, a wonderful – mirabilis – surprise, protected by the blinding embrace of the sea.

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December 9, 2013

Piscina Mirabilis, the hidden light

Bacoli (Na)
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