Baiae: A Roman Settlement at the Bottom of the Sea
“You’re sure I can cross?” I had to almost shout to be heard. Wooden slats dotted the ground before me. About 30m to my right, steam rose into the sky in thick grey-white clouds. And somewhere between where I stood now, and there, the earth turned from solid and cool to boiling and viscous. Wherever that exact change happened, I wanted to make sure I was none too close.
It’s very dangerous here
“Sì, sì,” said volcanologist Enzo Morra, my guide for the day. He was already climbing the hill on the other side of the wooden slats before me.
I edged one foot onto one piece of wood, then the next. The ground felt firm. As I reached the far side and climbed the hilltop, I could see the source of the steam: a bubbling pool of dull gunmetal-grey mud, ominous as the contents of a witch’s cauldron and a great deal louder. The air smelled of sulphur.
“It’s very dangerous here,” Morra welcomed me when I arrived. “More dangerous than Vesuvius.”