In the heart of the Naples' Bay, among history, nature and culture ...
Established by the Interministerial Decree 7/8/2002, the Marine Protected Area Gaiola Underwater Park takes its name from the two small islands that rise a few meters away from the coast of Posillipo, in the north-western sector of the Naples’ Bay. With an area of just 41.6 hectares, it extends from the charming Borgo of Marechiaro to the suggestive Bay of Trentaremi, including the large rocky platform of the Cavallara.
Situated in one of the most evocative coastal landscape of the Bay of Naples, the Gaiola Underwater Park, which is managed by the Interdisciplinary Study Center Gaiola onlus, owes its particularity to the fusion of volcanic, biological and historical-archaeological aspects. The rocky and high cliffs of Neapolitan Yellow Tuff, shaped by the erosion of the sea and wind and covered by Mediterranean vegetation, still offer glimpses of rare beauty that have always enchanted people who have stayed here.
Precisely for the amenity of the place and the beauty of the landscape in fact, starting from the 1st century BC sumptuous villas of the Roman aristocracy settled on this coast. The most important was the Villa of Pausilypon (which means "place where the pain ends"), wanted by the Roman Imperial official Publio Vedio Pollio. The Villa occupied much of the coastal stretch of the current Park and it became an Imperial Villa after the death of the first owner, Pollio (15 BC).
Remains of the maritime structures of the Villa, such as majestic tuff quarries, landings, nymphaeums and fish ponds, are today visible along the coast above and below the sea surface, due to the local volcano-tectonic phenomenon of slow lifting and lowering of the earth's crust called “bradyseism”.
Marine life then did the rest. The extreme geomorphological complexity of the seabed and the favorable marine currents have, in fact, led to the settlement in a few hectares of sea of a rich and varied biological ecosystem that today fills with life and colors what nature and human have created. So, while octopuses, bream, damsels and clouds of "guarracini" wander among gorgonians and ancient remains, a moray is lurking right among the ancient Roman Villa’s bricks worn by the time...
The Gaiola Underwater Park is today an important site for research, training, scientific dissemination and environmental education for the rediscovery and valorization of the natural and cultural heritage of the Bay of Naples.
The awareness campaigns of the Park