Lago d'Averno

Lago d'Averno information

Location
Lucrino, Baia & Bacoli , Italy
Address
Via Lucrino Averno
Getting there
Train: Cumana to Lucrino
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In Virgil's Aeneid, it is from Lago d'Averno that Aeneas descends into the underworld. It's hard to imagine hell in such a bucolic setting, where old vineyards and citrus groves fringe the ancient crater. A popular walking track now circles the perimeter of the lake, located an easy 1km walk north of Lucrino train station.

The lake's name stems from the Greek work άορνος, meaning 'without birds': according to legend, birds who flew over the lake would fall out of the sky. A likely explanation for this phenomenon was the release of poisonous volcanic gases from the lake's fumaroles. While it may have been unlucky for feathered critters, Lago d'Averno proved useful to Roman general Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, who in 37 BC linked it to nearby Lago Lucrino and the sea, turning hell's portal into a strategic naval dockyard. The battleships may have gone, but the lakeside ruins of the Tempio di Apollo (Temple of Apollo) remain. Built during the reign of Hadrian in the 2nd century AD, this thermal complex once sported a domed roof almost the size of the Pantheon's in Rome. Alas, only four great arched windows survive.