Lago d’Averno – the Gates of Hell

Ducks on Lago d'Averno

Ducks on Lago d’Averno – supping at the threshold of the underworld

Some names stick, along with all the muck that goes with them; other names, that make the bones shiver, don’t budge and it makes no sense at all.

The ‘gates of hell’ near today’s Cuma is an ancient mythical name given to a lake that today is about as rattlesnake as Homer Simpson.

It was the dog that took us there first.  Someone had said Lago d’Averno would be perfect …

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Capo Miseno, Bacoli, not far from Naples

The light at Capo Miseno, Bácoli. The lighthouse was bombed in WWII and rebuilt in 1954

The light at Capo Miseno, Bacoli. The lighthouse was bombed in WWII and rebuilt in 1954

A couple of weeks ago, like moths to a flame, we set off by car to find the lighthouse at Capo Miseno, on the north-westerly tip of the Bay of Naples.  The dog in the back was beyond excitement.

Within a few miles he could smell the sea to our left and the fresh trees and orchards around the lakes, and down the hillsides to our right.

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Cuma: the Greeks, the Romans, the Sibyl and the view

The blue of the view from Cuma

The blue of the view from Cuma

There is an overgrown, everyday hill north of Naples known today as Cuma. It’s legendary in every sense.

We went in search of it on an early morning in late February my mind as empty as a brand new bucket.

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