Cumae was an ancient city of Magna Graecia on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Founded by settlers from Euboea in the 8th century BC, Cumae was the first Greek colony on the mainland of Italy and the seat of the Cumaean Sibyl. It spread its influence throughout the area over the 7th and 6th centuries BC, gaining sway over Puteoli and Misenum and, thereafter, founding Neapolis (Naples) in 470 BC.

The Greek period at Cumae came to an end in 421 BC, when the Oscans broke down the walls and took the city, ravaging the countryside. Some survivors fled to Neapolis. Cumae came under Roman rule with Capua and in 338 was granted partial citizenship, a civitas sine suffragio. In the Second Punic War, in spite of temptations to revolt from Roman authority, Cumae withstood Hannibal's siege.

The early presence of Christianity in Cumae is shown by the 2nd-century work The Shepherd of Hermas, in which the author tells of a vision of a woman, identified with the church, who entrusts him with a text to read to the presbyters of the community in Cuma. At the end of the 4th century, the temple of Zeus at Cumae was transformed into a Christian basilica.

Under Roman rule, 'quiet Cumae' slumbered until the disasters of the Gothic Wars (535–554), when it was repeatedly attacked, as the only fortified city in Campania aside from Neapolis: Belisarius took it in 536, Totila held it, and when Narses gained possession of Cumae, he found he had won the whole treasury of the Goths. In 1207, forces from Naples, acting for the boy-King of Sicily, destroyed the city and its walls, as the stronghold of a nest of bandits.

The seaward side of the large rise on which Cumae was built was used as a bunker and gun emplacement by the Germans during World War II.



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Founded: 8th century BCE
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Italy

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User Reviews

Paul Bear (16 months ago)
Awesome place to take the family. Not stroller friendly and there are a few steep parts for the kids but overall worth doing. Definitely worth a day trip to explore the whole site. Don’t forget to stop and get some ice cream at the end. Lastly, there is plenty of parking, but I would just park wherever you can find it. The road is narrow at the parking close to the entrance so it gets really congested. Save yourself the time and just park a little further away.
Louise Black (2 years ago)
Amazing and very inexpensive ruins. There has never been a crowd. You can walk among the ruins. The signage is limited and need repairs, so bring a guide, app or guidebook. Do respect barricades / don't take the road less traveled even if there isn't a sign - we got busted using a back way.
Riyana Kousor (2 years ago)
So glad I went! What an experience This place is highly underrated. Such a pity. In its own way, this place is no less than Pompeii! If you are looking for a place that is beautiful, serene, breathtaking views, history and grace. Here is the place to be. The direction to getting there are not the best at all. Managed to find it since we were in the area. I can understand that it can be a bit hard for people coming from other areas. Parking place is perfect. Right outside the entrance. As of date 1-11-2021 We paid 4 euros per adult. Kids were free. Like all archaeological sites, this place has its charms. Upon entering you can feel that you are in a different time zone. The super high cliffs. Large arches in cave entrances. Mini alcoves. I don't want to spoil it for the people who haven't been there yet. So I will keep the details shorts. Amazing tress and the view from the top....I don't have words. Beach, countryside, Greek and Roman architectural beauty all in one. At the very top, there was a very knowledgeable security officer, who happily gave us a tour and background story of the place. Left very enlightened, informed and happy!
John Veazey (2 years ago)
Amazing ancient ruins, many signs discussing history of the site, nice hiking trail through the site
Noemi G. (2 years ago)
A site really, really, really underestimated. All visitors come to visit Pompeii or Ercolano if time is sufficient, but Cuma is, indeed, much more ancient rather than the first two. You can find remains of temples and streets up to 700 BC, 700 and 500 years before than the eruption!! For sure some points need to be addressed to enhance this site. First of all, more indications, since it was hard to follow the correct path, up to the main two temples. Secondly, the description of the momuments, very old and ruined, dated 90s. They seriously need a restoration.
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