Baiae and Portus Julius, Italy
Baiae was an ancient Roman town overlooking the Bay of Naples. It’s been called the “Las Vegas of the Roman Empire”; a place where rich Romans and emperors whiled away their time in luxurious villas with heated spas and decadent pools.
The great city was on the west coast of Italy, some 30 kilometers from Naples. It was a place for the rich and the powerful; a summer getaway that treated Cicero, Virgil, Pliny, and some of the greatest Roman emperors alike.
It was where Claudius built his Nymphaeum, his monument to the nymphs, and was where his wife, Agrippina, plotted his death.
But the Roman land of decadence and excess wasn’t meant to last. In time, great volcanic and seismic activity would pull the whole city, with all of its luxuries and pleasure palaces, under the sea.
With it went the Roman Empire’s biggest naval base, Portus Julius; the place that once housed the arsenal of the great Roman fleet. Like the pleasure palaces of Baiae, it was pulled under the sea and lost to time.
But although nature may have hidden them from our eyes, Claudius’ Nymphaeum still remains. Today, anyone with scuba gear and a sense of adventure can still the marble statues, cobbled streets, and thermal baths built for an emperor, now buried under the sea