Intrigues and mysteries: the Tomb of Agrippina in Bacoli

Via Privata Falci 39, 80070, Bacoli

Now open







Archaeological Site

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Supports in English or French

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Suitable for children

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Pets allowed

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Parking available

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About this activity

When we talk about the archaeological treasures of the Phlegraean Fields that are impossible to visit today, the so-called Tomb of Agrippina is undoubtedly among the most prestigious ones. Many ancient “Game of Thrones-style” legends are linked to this majestic building, which is located in the Municipality of Bacoli and is visible today only from the outside.

In any case, it is an extremely remarkable archaeological site, and tradition has it linked to the sad fate of Agrippina the Younger, mother of emperor Nero. Legend has it that the spirit of the unfortunate empress still wanders around this place: it seems in fact that the ghost of the Augusta (an honorific title given to honoured women in ancient Rome) has been spotted several times on summer nights on a full moon, intent on combing its thick hair and looking at its reflection in the sea.

The historical context that surrounds the Tomb of Agrippina

The archaeological site that is today known as the Tomb of Agrippina is fatally linked to the tragic epilogue of one of the events that we all remember having studied at school: the murder of Agrippina, ordered by her own son, emperor Nero.

Julia Agrippina was born in 15 AD, and she was the daughter of an important commander that was also the brother of emperor Claudius. Agrippina’s charisma and strong personality greatly affected her uncle, who decided to marry her in 49 AD. This fact caused quite a stir, and Claudius ended up adopting the son that his wife had had from a former marriage, the young Nero. Agrippina also convinced Claudius to marry off his daughter Claudia Octavia to Nero, therefore making him the legitimate heir to the throne.

Claudius died in 54 AD, and Agrippina’s son was therefore proclaimed emperor. However, he was still too young to handle such an important position. Therefore, it was his mother who became regent of the empire, earning the name of Augusta (reserved exclusively for women who had distinguished themselves in an exceptional way) and coming as close as possible to the position of empress, never held by any woman in Roman times.

However, his mother’s interference began to oppress Nero who, once gained the imperial powers, began to rebel against her constant presence: he chose advisors of his trust (including the philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca) and repudiated Claudia Octavia in order to marry the charming Poppea Sabina. The latter played a decisive role in convincing Nero to plot the matricide.

History and legend of the Tomb of Agrippina

The Tomb of Agrippina in Bacoli owes its attribution to the information and legends that have been handed down to us about the matricide commanded by the emperor. In fact, Nero ordered his assassins to sink the ship on which Agrippina was on board after a party in Baia (an area that is part of the current municipality of Bacoli). It is said that one of the women present on the ship had asked for help claiming to be Agrippina, convinced that this would have led her to safety first; Nero’s assassins instead killed her by hitting her with their oars. The Augusta saw everything, and swam silently to the shore. Here she was rescued by some fishermen who housed her in a villa near Lucrine. However, Agrippina’s salvation was only temporary: Nero tracked her down and sent her assassins again to finish the job, this time with success. Tacitus, a great Latin historian, says that Agrippina’s remains were buried in a hurry on the road to Miseno.

Curiosities about the Tomb of Agrippina

Although this building has always been traditionally associated with the Tomb of Agrippina, it seems that this archaeological site actually hosts the ruins of an ancient nymphaeum-theatre that was part of an imposing maritime villa. It seems in fact that it was originally an Odeon, a covered theatre reserved for musical or mime shows; only later would it have been transformed into a nymphaeum, a construction dedicated to nymphs and placed near a body of water.

In March 2016, restoration works began to reopen the Tomb of Agrippina and make it visitable by tourists, after over 30 years without any maintenance. Unfortunately, to date these works have not been sufficient, and the site is still closed. However, it is possible to admire this archaeological site from the outside, hoping that one day we will be able to cross again the threshold of this extraordinary ancient building.

Things important to know

Servizi inclusi

Informations about the visit

  • The site can only be visited from the outside

Tips for the visit

Getting to

  • To reach the Point of Interest, follow the indications or push the button 'Get directions.'
  • Reach the point of interest by public transport
  • From Naples central station, take the subway towards Pozzuoli. Get off at Pozzuoli Solfatara: at this point you can take the Naples-Monte di Procida bus and get off at the stop in Via Castello. Take Via Ortenzio and continue following the road downhill to the Bacoli marina.
  • Reach the point of interest by car
  • Take Corso Novara, Via Nuova Poggioreale, Corso Malta and junction 4 - Corso Malta in the direction of A56. Take the exit towards Domitiana/Pozzuoli from junction 4 - Corso Malta. Follow A56 in the direction of Via Montenuovo Licola Patria in Pozzuoli. Take Junction 14 off A56. Continue on Via Montenuovo Licola Patria. Take Via Miliscola, Via Montegrillo, Via Lucullo, Via Castello and Via Risorgimento in the direction of Via Privata Falci in Bacoli. Before reaching the marina grande, make sure that the ztl is not active.n

Activity's Location

Via Privata Falci 39, 80070, Bacoli