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“Beautiful place, horrible owners”

Piscina Mirabilis - Miseno
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Piscina Mirabilis Tour from Naples
Ranked #1 of 34 things to do in Bacoli
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 13 November 2013

Let me start by saying this place is breathtakingly beautiful! Italian is not my first language, nor am I fluent, but I do speak a lot of Italian and knew to call ahead. I called the day before my visit & originally asked to see it at 2:30, she said that was too late, so we agreed on 2:00. My friend & I arrived AT THE GATE at 2:05 exactly, only because my GPS got us lost & then we had to climb a mountain of stairs to get to the street it's on. So I called the number I had called the day before & no answer. There was another number listed on the sign at the front gate. So I tried calling that...no answer. I called & called these 2 numbers 3 more times each. I even asked the neighbors across the street if they could help us or knew who else to contact & all they could really do was make sure we tried both numbers & shrug their shoulders. Just as we were walking away my phone rang. It was the women I spoke with the day before & she said she was sending her father to open the gate. The time is now 2:25 & this very grumpy older man shows up & proceeds to point out that they are closed from 2:30-3:30 or lunch as posted on the gate. I explained as best I could that we had been there since 2:00 & called, but no one responded. We walked down into this beautiful place, but we couldn't even enjoy it because the grumpy man was literally following us around and staring at us. We felt so uncomfortable. I was taking pictures & he told me I couldn't take photos, that he would get a fine! What a load of crap! There are HUNDREDS of photos AND video online, so clearly the rules only apply to who he thinks are "Stupid American tourists!" We are not tourists, we live in Italy and wanted to see this gorgeous, mysterious place! Every time we would walk to a different area or pass a pillar, he was right there on the other side of it, arms crossed, staring us down. We spent less than 10 minutes in there and I didn't get all the photos I wanted of this beautiful place, which truly pained me! So don't do these people any favors by giving patronage to their site. See photo for proof of what we dealt with the entire time we were there.

8  Thank Amanda S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 9 November 2013

Who would have thought this place exists under housing and up a narrow suburban street. The custodian arrives, jingling her keys and in you go. Straight away my 13 year old son was playing hide and seek behind the massive columns and do you think I could find him?
The whole place reminds me of something out of Indiana Jones - shafts of light falling in from the roof, mossy foliage hanging down, pools of rainwater here and there, enormous archways and total eerie silence.
The site is technically free, but tip the lady with the keys as a courtesy. I gave her 5 euro. We spent about 15 minutes in here and had it all to ourselves. Surprisingly, it has disabled access although the motorised seat looked a little rusty but it may still work.
We came here on a day trip with a private car and driver so I don't know how you would find it otherwise as it is in suburbia and Bacoli is off the tourist path but it's well worth your time.
Augustus built some amazing things but this is surely one of the greatest - and to think it's still standing after 2000 years.

3  Thank KathyW201
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 October 2013

The opening times vary by month so do call ahead to make sure you can visit (and someone will be available to open the gate). The numbers are +393336853278 and +393335730225. The gatekeeper takes lunch from 13:30 to 14:30 (i.e. you can't visit between these times). Also, the site is closed on Monday.

Although interesting, there's not much info so you can see it relatively quickly.

2  Thank cozzawk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 September 2013

I am sure this would have been a great place to visit but the custodian refused to come out and open the site when our Italian friend called. Strongly recommend you call before hand.

2  Thank turnerevil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 May 2012

The Piscina Mirabilis cistern is the largest known in the Roman world. It was built to allow the Roman navy to stay outside the bay area. The Romans did have grand projects, considering that the water came all the way from the Vesuvius (approx. 45 km / 30 miles…) If you walk towards Miseno, you will see the creeks that lie beneath the cistern. There, one can well imagine the Roman vessels maneuvering… The Piscina Mirabilis was closed to the public when we went there (Feb. 2012) because they were fixing its roof. But the lovely thing with Italians is that they didn’t forget to be human ; and so the mason let us in for a quick peek. The cistern is indeed huge ; the style of the (more or less underground) building is sober. (No Istanbul Basilica cistern and no "mise en scène" of any sort). Normally you go and see the lady who holds the keys to let you in. No charge ; just a tip.
We got to the cistern in the afternoon (beware it’s quite a journey). This allowed us to walk to Miseno (20 mn walk), just in time to have a beer on the beach, looking at the sun go down. (There are worse things to do in February) Note that there are at least two cisterns in the same little town ; one that isn’t mentioned in the Lonely Planet but which is beautiful. Sadly it has been closed to the public because of an accident. You can however see part of it from the gate or if you have connections.
I probably took twice as much pleasure out of this venture after having read Robert Harris’ “Pompeii” (novel).

Note that the Piscina Mirabilis and area (Phlegraean Fields) call for at least a two day visit. We missed more than half of the “attractions” – of which the local museum – although we spent a full day in the area... Best is probably to spend a night or two in the area (Lucrino ?) ; also because catching the right buses and trains isn't exactly always obvious.

3  Thank JRNParis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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