Non affoga colui che cade in acqua — ma affoga chi male incappa.
(Who falls in water doesn’t drown — but who falls badly will.)

Capo Miseno or Misenum (in Latin)  is a crater dating back to between 35,000 and 10,500 years. A tough place to find in spite of all the road signs, if you want to try some adventurous exploring then drive up the narrow and steep road even after the signs disappear. Eventually, you’ll arrive at the peak of the mountain where a one-lane tunnel spills out into a beautiful vista point overlooking the Gulf of Pozzuoli. Mount Vesuvius and the city of Naples glimmer through the haze.

The largest Roman naval base was first established here in 27 B.C. during Emperor Augustus’ rule. When Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D., Pliny the Elder was in charge of the naval fleet and went by ship from here toward the destruction to help rescue people, but he ended up reaching Stabia where he died. His nephew, Pliny the Younger, was a resident of Misenum at the time and much later wrote an account of the eruption as he watched from this very mountain.

The Roman Caesars used Misenum as a remote place to exile their enemies, including Agrippina the Younger.

The name Misenum comes from Misenus, a character in Virgil’s Aeneid who drowned off the coast nearby after a trumpet competition with the sea-god Triton.

Getting There: Near impossible to find, getting to the vista point of Miseno takes patience and the will to be an explorer through windy narrow streets. I didn’t get an address or even street names, rather I drove from Bacoli up, up, up a hill where signs appeared and then vanished. That’s the only recommendation.

Is there an easier way? If you’ve found Capo Miseno, let me know how it went. Write us!