Signs along the Pozzuoli roads point to a number of other Roman ruins. The Temple of Neptune overlooks the sea with its mammoth dome peeking out from the dirt, but a locked gate bars tourists. Other signs lead through a narrow tunnel and then along a road next to which the Neocropolis Romana hides behind overgrown weeds. The fence keeps visitors out, the locals walking by the 2,000 year-old bricks as though the ghosts inside were amicable neighbors.
Driving down to the port, the Temple of Serapides (2nd century AD) has been excavated out of over thirty-feet of dirt. This temple, like most ruins in this region, lies below ground level due to bradyseism. The name is also a misnomer, the ruins were actually a macellum or food market. The three erect marble columns in the middle and the algae-green water only hint at how beautiful this could have been.
Next to the Temple, the port blends the contemporary with the ancient world. The Pozzuoli port began as a 7th century B.C. Greek colony called Dicearchia. By 194 B.C. the Romans named it Puteoli (little wells) for the hot springs in this area. For centuries, the port flourished as a trade center. St. Paul landed here on his way to Rome and the city is also the birthplace of actress Sophia Loren. Like the Romans, fishermen still work their nets in boats. They bring plastic buckets to the banks with all kinds of live fish and octopus inside. The port brims with seafood restaurants along with cafes and gelaterias. Pozzuoli is also where ferries dock and leave to the islands of Ischia and Procida.