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

Amber (17 months ago)
One of my favorite places to visit in Naples. Bring a picnic and don't miss the baptismal faunt
Stefano Fristachi (18 months ago)
Beautiful site, open space, under the sky. Ancient Temple with famous Sibilla Antrous Very interesting . Only 4€ . You can buy a global ticket to visit whit other flegrei sites. I suggest to visit with Baia Castel, Anfiteatro Flavio and Baia Therms .
Jason Tiearney (19 months ago)
This site is a hidden gem and has so many great connections to the Greek history of this part of Italy. Especially notable are the long, eerie Temple of the Sibyl and the ruins of two Greek temples, one to Apollo and one to Zeus. To top it off the views of the sea are beautiful. A must visit if you have an interest in the ancient Greek history of southern Italy.
Vicente Gracia (2 years ago)
It takes the worth the visit if you are nearby. The first Sunday of the month is free. Nice views from the temple and Sybila's cave has something mystic and special (go of you want to know) that makes it an almost for stars. Roman crypt was closed and another higher pay off the ruins too.
Christian Schenk (2 years ago)
A very interesting historic site - it is really a pity that it is not more known. Really, a fascinating place, wonderfully located, with a marvelous view towards the islands, and in a nice, park-like atmosphere. Don't miss it, it is only a few minutes from Baiae with the car.
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