Solfatara is a shallow active volcano in Pozzuoli, Napoli and it was a short walking distance away from the camping site Il Vulcano Solfatara where we stayed at for the past two nights.
It’s not your typical touristy accommodation as it is very Spartan. This was the bungalow that we stayed in.
You could also choose to stay in your tents, campers and trailers.
Inside, our room was literally just a bed and a small bathroom and that was it. And it was really small. Probably smaller than our living room. No towels. Not even rugs on the floor.
At first, I was a little let down. Nevertheless, it’s a cheaper alternative. Rugged people would prefer this anyway as all one’s basic accommodation needs is just a place to sleep and shower in.
And slowly, the place grew on me because of the rustic feel that it gave me. Thank goodness that I grew up with yearly camps in school so it wasn’t too much of a shock.
I’d still recommend to bring your own fans, your own mini fridge, your own towels, your own portable stove and such to make your stay more comfortable.
The camping area is an interesting place nevertheless.
I liked that they have their own swimming pool, a communal area to play chess, checkers, play ping pong, street soccer … you could even use the sauna here, everything included.
If you’re hungry, there’s a bar and a mini-market in the camp-grounds. There was also an area for internet surfing, although I didn’t manage to spot it.
There’s also a communal shower and cleaning up area which was right behind these recycling bins. I actually preferred showering here as it was larger and more comfortable.
But there must be something in the water though, because after shampooing, my hair looked especially fluffy as it dried.
We went for the Solfatara volcano tour in the evening. Led by our guide, Pepe, he showed and explained to us a lot of interesting spots and facts about the volcano.
For example, this heated mud pool below. He explained that mud pools like these are the cause that there were fewer needs for pharmacies in the area because of the medicinal properties of the mud and also the sulphur gasses.
Not sure if you could see it bubbling in the picture there, it’s supposed to be escaping gasses rather than boiling mud.
There were reports that the gasses here were really good for couples wanting to have a better sex life. It was said that a man stayed here the entire night to strengthen himself.
Pepe also explained how during the revolutionary times, the enemy Christians were thrown down the caverns – Which was why there were legends of constant sighs and moaning in the area.
Here was where the Patron Saint of Napoli, San Gennaro was said to be beheaded.
The guide also mentioned about a funny story where Coca Cola tried to ask the original owner of the volcano ground, to have a giant advertisement around the volcano. But the owner thought that it was a bastardization and so, when the Coca cola representative came over, the owner used his stick and hit his head with it.
I’m really not sure if it’s true or a legend as it seems like such a tall tale.
Here, there was also an ancient sauna, but I think it’s more of a reconstruction as Pepe mentioned that they had to fix it every 10 years as the gasses are strong enough to corrode it.
In the original sauna was built U shape where you could go from one opening and exit in the other. He called the openings, “Hell” and “Purgatory”
Honestly, I wouldn’t want to get too close to it, as the steam itself was really hot. Like boiling water hot. Plus the pungent smell of sulphur makes it twice more uncomfortable.
Nevertheless, I found the formation of the crystals and rocks really interesting. I’m pretty sure any geography enthusiasts would be thrilled to be here. Those yellow parts should be sulphur crystals while the white ones area salt (If I’m not wrong).
Pepe also gave a demonstration about the rocks, but my Italian wasn’t very fluent, so I didn’t really caught what he said.
And then, we headed to the Grand Fumarole, an opening to the volcano, which is the hottest area that we could traverse to safely.
Believe me, it was extremely hot here. The ground where I was standing on, literally smoked! I can’t imagine how it was for those who were one wearing rubber slippers. I didn’t want to stay in one spot for too long, for fear of ruining my shoes.
Here, we were given a cooking demonstration using fresh anchovies. Pepe placed them in aluminium trays, covered and tied them and then put them on top of a mouth of a volcano like the one below, and he let it cook for several minutes.
After that, each visitor had a taste. I thought that the taste was really good. I didn’t detect the sulphur as Pepe probably layered the trays tightly in numerous amounts of aluminium foil.
There was also the part where Pepe showed us that by throw a big rock on the ground and you could hear and feel a sort of seismic effect. I’ve put it up in the video at the end of the post, but it was much more impressive in person!
After a round in the volcano area … my shoes are completely ashen covered and smells like sulphur. But it was worth it, seeing the interesting sights that I saw.
To end, come and see a video montage of the tour :