Well away from the throngs of tourists in other parts of Italy, the tiny double island of Gaiola just west of Naples is abandoned and ghostly. There are many legends about the place being cursed. In the early 1800s, the island was inhabited by a local hermit who everyone knew only as "Il Mago" (the Wizard). As most hermits, he lived a troubled, lonely life, existing on handouts of fish from local fishermen. Without warning, he mysteriously disappeared. It's not known if he cursed the island, but many unfortunate things came to pass for people who lived on the island or owned the island. There is a small villa on one of the islets that has been occupied by many different types of people: A famous author, a Swiss businessman, a German investor, a pharmaceutical magnate, a steel baron, the Head of Fiat, billionaire J. Paul Getty, and an insurance company CEO. All met with strange fates either while on the island or shortly after purchasing it. Here's just a few of the cursed events:
For for SCUBA divers and and snorkelers alike, Gaiola is a wonderful haven. They are a part of the Gaiola Underwater park, a 100 acre marine preserve meant to protect the diverse marine ecosystem here as well as ancient underwater Roman ruins. Underwater ruins are scattered around the crystal clear waters. Some of the marine creatures here are found nowhere else on Earth. Consider the excitement of snorkeling among the underwater ruins of an ancient Roman temple.
Gaiola was originally known to the Romans as Euplea, which was the protector of safe navigation, and was home to a temple erected to honor the goddess Venus. Other Roman ruins are also found here... just under the surface of the sea are the ruins of an ancient Roman harbor. If you look at Gaiola from space via Google Earth, you can easily see the outlines of ancient structures. There is also a legend that claims the poet and wizard, Virgil, taught his students on the island. Perhaps their incantations and poetry can still be felt and heard in the crashing of the waves and sounds of the winds...
To find out more about visiting or snorkeling Gaiola, click here... Gaiola Underwater Park.
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