The Malediction of Gaiola Island


Situated on the secluded islands of Naples and within the Parco sommerso di Gaiola, Gaiola Island has a lot of mystery yet to be discovered. It is located offshore in the Gulf of Naples and is a part of the volcanic Campaign Archipelago of the Tymphenian Sea. It is in the heart of Gaiola Underwater Park, a protected marine reserve about 42 hectares. It is called Isola La Gaiola by Italian which means a local dialect word for cave (caviola), referring to various caves and grottoes which can be found everywhere along the coast. In other words, it is also called Gajola, meaning cave, by Neapolitan which is best to describe the buildings on the small archipelago. This island is reachable to the public as it is not far from the coastline which is estimated 30 meters away. This island is mesmerizing to the eyes as it consists of two stunning and serene islets. A small bridge connecting the two islets can be seen using naked eyes from afar. There is also a beautiful ancient private villa situated on the island to enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views. A glimpse of the clear waters of Gaiola Islands would possibly make you buy a house near the island. Nonetheless, the statement of there is more to something than meets the eye are best sentences to describe Gaiola Island, Italy. Locals are unfortunately not having intense interest in visiting, most of them refuse to go near the island as it is said that the island has been cursed as it brings so many tales of misfortunes. The island is really close to the shore that people can easily swim back and forth to the mainland. Both islands remain uninhabited for 40 years and count.

Historically, Gaiola Island is known as Euplea which means protector of save navigation. A small temple dedicated to Venus is located on this Island. Vigril, a poet, has tutored his student on Gaiola Island in the remains of the Roman harbor which now believes has sunken below the water. Another story appears that ‘The Wizard” or Il Mago which is a hermit inhabited La Gaiola in the early 1800s. He was able to survive by the help of almsgiving fishers. Locals believed that The Wizard put a curse on the island before he left. Consequently, a villa was built and carries sequence of misfortune to the owner starting from Luigi Negri, owner of huge fishing firm to a Swiss businessman to Fiat bigwig, Gianne Agnelli to billionaire John Paul Getty. All of them died from mysterious death i.e., premature death, mental illness, accidents in the families of owners, and missing in action. when trying to acquire the island. The last owner of the island is known as Gianpasquale Grappone who ended up in prison while his wife died in a car accident. The story of restless misfortune of Gaiola Island embarks again in 2009 when the opposite villa owner, Franco Ambrosio, and his wife Giovanno Sacco have been murdered. Currently, the island has been under government control since the year 1978 as a marine reserve and a property of the Campania region.

This island’s cobblestone is adorably quaint with a magnificent view and the beautiful coast of Posillipo. The famous attraction here is they are like the original Siamese Twins, which joined by a narrow stone bridge connected to one another. Gaiola Island is a wonderful heaven that is hard to put in words by snorkelers and scuba divers. This underwater park purposes to protect the ecosystem and diversity of Gaiola Island as well as ancient underwater Roman ruins. Underwater ruins can be discovered scattered in the clear blue waters. The ancient ruins have been preserved at the seafloor due to the sinking of the Earth’s crust. Divers can find unique marine creatures that they probably never seen elsewhere. Besides, if you search Gaiola Island via Google Earth, you will be amazed with the outline of ancient structures. It is a perfect post-retirement getaway as the beautiful and serene nature will melt away your stress. The island owes its uniqueness to the fusion of volcanological, biological and archaeological aspects as one of the most attractive coastal landscapes in the gulf. Numerous of ancient roman can be found underwater due to a geological phenomenon or called bradyseism. It is not rare to find relics of submerged harbors, nymphaeum, and fishery.

The submerged park of Gaiola is considered to carry biological importance as there are many marine biological communities commonly found in the Mediterranean yet there are a lot more to be discovered. This underwater park can be visited through locals guided tours with underwater viewing boats, snorkeling and kayaking. Presently, the Gaiola Onlus Interdisciplinary Studies Center manages the parks. Visitors can visit the amphitheater built on the Posillipo slope, a part of the ancient Roman Villa. The first thing to discover is the rich knight Publio Vedio Pollione who built an enchanted landscape, imperial villa Pausilypon which is now open to the public. Leaving the story of Gaiola malediction, this island has been admired by a Neapolitan singer known as Liberato. He portrays Gaiola as one of the places that are close to heaven on Earth. His song ‘Gaiola Portafortuna’ overtones the traditional hearsay into a blessed island. There are a lot of activities that can be enjoyed in Gaiola such as natural walks, water activities and guided visits. The Park is free of entry and only selected activities need to be paid for. Red algae of the genus Lithophillum are found widespread among the sciophilous species like sponges. The coral reef ecosystem in the Gaiola Island is covered with sea daisies, yellow gorgonians and leptogorgias. Ordinarily, divers can see numerous marine animals populate the tunnels, caves, and submerged ruins such as octopuses, white bream, damselfishes, and gold fishes. Surprisingly, you may notice morays that swim together freely in the water. Tourists can choose either sea or archaeological activities. But honestly, why choose either one when you can do both! You may option to visit Pausilypon park, aqua vision or any sea activities like snorkeling, scientific diving, or kayaking.

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