Terme di Agnano
A natural lake until 1870, when it was drained. The Normans called this large reptile-infested crater at the gates of Naples, Anguino (from the Latin anguis, "snake"). The oldest eruptive crater of the Phlegrean Fields, dating back to the Pleistocene Ice Age, a geological era from 1.8 million to 10,000 years before present covering the world's recent period of repeated glaciations. The hypothesis that Agnano was infested with snakes is further confirmed by the works of Pietro da Eboli – a XII-century monk, poet and doctor – who described the spring of Balnearum Sudatorium and illustrated his text with a miniature showing the lake brimming with frogs and snakes. Today Agnano is a land of well-being, ideal for horse and archery lovers, a place where you can admire a peculiar phenomenon. In certain areas sulphurous emissions puff out the fumaroles they have created in the soil surface, encrusting the guard-rails along the side of the road with sulphur. As time goes by, the encrustations have become so thick and heavy to fall into the sides of the road. The phenomenon is closely related to the nearby Solfatara di Pozzuoli. The lake of Agnano, which developed between the IX and XI century AD because of the stagnation of thermal and rain water, was drained in 1870. The operation allowed the area's considerable hydro-geological resources to be reclaimed: as many as 72 mineral water springs, with a flow of about 7 million litres of water per day, with a temperature range between 20 and 80 degrees C and chemical characteristics described by Pliny in his Naturalis Historia for their significant curative properties. The feather in the cap of this complex are the Stufe of St Germano: series of communicating caverns dug out the tuff, with high-temperature volcanic gases coming from the ground. The spa complex known as Terme di Agnano, which had been loved by the Ancient Romans under the Trajan Empire, was finally opened in 1912 for want of the Hungarian doctor Joseph Schneer, who first had the idea of using the 72 mineral water springs for curative purposes. Part of the Spa complex, which is surrounded by extensive parkland, nowadays offers beauty treatments where body and spirit revive at a stone's throw from the centre of Naples.
When you arrive at Terme di Agnano from Fuorigrotta, you cannot help noticing the Roman ruins that distinguish the entrance to the Spa. Famous throughout the world for the natural dry-heat saunas, called Stufe of St Germano (unique in Europe, fuelled by high-temperature volcanic gases from 40 to 70 degrees C), were founded by the Roman Emperor Trajan and created at his behest. The Spa is equipped to carry out paediatric and aesthetic treatments, offering days of total relaxation.
If you love walking among nature, do not miss a visit to the WWF oasis of Astroni. The Astroni's wood is the last evidence of an ancient woody covering. Although it has undergone changes throughout the centuries, it represents a location of high naturalistic importance. The emission of hydrogen sulphide from the Stufe of St Germano, the carbon dioxide present in the thermal waters, and certain unique physical phenomena such as the emission of carbonic acid gas in the nearby Grotta del Cane (Cave of the Dog) still remind us the volcanic origins of the basin. Anyway Agnano is most of all Naples... with racecourses for horse-racing lovers, close to the district of Fuorigrotta, which is the heart of Parthenopean sport activities and tourist attractions.
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Address in Naples:
Via Agnano Astroni, 24.