Like fire from a dragon’s mouth, fumaroles exhale their scorching, sulfuric, rancid steam in wisps of smoke that blanket the air with the sickly smell of rotten eggs. Rocks glow in shades of copper and gold and mud pits bubble and gurgle as they expel their gasses. This is the Solfatara, the mythical home of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and it’s unlike any place you’ve ever seen before, or ever will again.
A bit of mars here on earth, those with a sense of adventure, sense of humor or underdeveloped sense of smell may want to avail themselves of the campground inside this Regional Park of Campi Flegrei. Otherwise, an hour or two is plenty of time to explore this natural wonder. Solfatara is one of the venues for the Pozzuoli Jazz Festival; the park’s evening guided visits are otherworldly. This tour of the park in the dark includes a sampling of one of Campania’s native white wines, a Campi Flegrei Falanghina and a nibble of some local fish, geo-thermally cooked by the 160 degree centigrade steam of a fumarole.