Miseno Lake WAVE Living Lab 2021

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Area Miseno Lake
Place Bacoli
Country Italy
Topics regeneration of river and coastal areas, landscape regeneration and soil study, especially phenomena related to vulcanism
Author(s) Colarullo Martina, D'Alessandro Orsola, Danese Sabrina and D'Errico Alessia
Lake miseno.JPG


  • The Miseno area is an important case study because it is a territory rich in resources.
  • One can describe the potential of the area through three keywords: the first, from the Latin "acquarium", means "water tank"; water has been a resource for the territory since ancient times, in fact many of the archaeological sites of the area are aqueducts such as the "Piscina Mirabilis", "Grotta della Dragonara" and "Sacello degli Augustali".
  • The second is "vacum", also from Latin, means "empty" that refers to the etymology of the term Bacoli that emphasizes the strong agricultural vocation of the area. In addition, Lake Miseno, an ecosystem of great environmental interest, is also conceived as a "void that fills up"; the lake was formed through the waters of the sea, which flowed into a volcanic crater.
  • Finally, through the Latin term "otium", which underlines the tourist vocation of the area, since ancient times used by the Romans as a place for holidays.
  • The area is shaped by history, it has numerous archaeological sites such as the "Toma di Agrippina", the "Roman Necropolis of Cappella" and others, but the maintenance of them and the bad connection with the center of Bacoli, makes it unattractive. The waters, especially lake Miseno, are polluted and a clean-up should be taken. An intervention for the change of territory concerns the redevelopment of the area, which surrounds the lake, where there are abandoned spaces, but also to increase and exploit the connection between the lake and the port.

Location and scope

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Water as a natural system

Geomorphology, typologies and dynamics of water areas

  • The Miseno Lake is located in the city of Bacoli, in the southern part of Hydrographic Bacin of Phlegrean Fields. It is separated from the sea by a sandy reef about 200 meters wide but is connected to it through two mouths: the first located near the town of Miliscola and the second located near the bay of Miseno.

Existing water bodies in the area:

1. Miseno Lake, which has an area of 40 hectares and a perimeter of 2800 meters. The average depth is 2.25 meters and the maximum depth is 4.

2. Fusaro Lake,The lake was formed with the closure of the stretch of sea between the hamlets of Torregaveta and Cuma. Its perimeter measures about 4.10 km and has an area of 0.97 km²

The Miseno lake is a salty lagoon, has his origins from the sea waters flowed into the crater of an ancient volcano and because of this phenomenon, it is called “Dead Sea”. The backdrop mainly hard consisting of volcanic rock debris, is now covered by layers of muddy sediment anoxic and rich in nutrients that reach thicknesses of more than a metre along the north banksWest, North and East, in the current areas of slurry spillage and discharge.

  • The Lake has two estuaries: the first, 250 meters long, is located near the town of Miniscola. In the past this estuary has been subject to frequent burials due to erosion and coastal transport and is, at present closed, at the disposal of the local health authorities in order to prevent contamination of the bathing water facing the beach of Miliscola. The second estuary is 100 m long, section 5 m2, communicates with the sea in the bay of Miseno and presents problems of reduced outflow to the sea where at the beginning the depth is reduced to about 30 cm.

There aren't natural sweet tributaries and the water exchanges are limited to the sea, however small, so the natural water exchange of the lake is extremely poor: about 4,5 years.

  • The territory of Bacoli represent an environmental system and landscape of exceptional value, consisting of an inseparable intertwining between natural structure, historical training and agricultural use. This three factors have determined over time an ecosystem still in continuous evolution but whose fragility appears even more exposed today after the incessant transformations occurred between the 60’s and 90’s.

In addition, the high urbanisation of areas exposed to such phenomena, contributes to increasing the levels of risk associated with them. The coastal zone of the Phlegrean Fields volcanic district is prone to a wide spectrum of natural hazards, including earthquakes, tsunamis, flash floods, ground deformation, landslides and coastal erosion. The area of Bacoli is affected by the phenomenon of bradyseism, a slow vertical movement of the soil in a large area. is a cyclical phenomenon that can be associated with seismic phenomena of discrete intensity.

  • In 2017 there was a violent storm, fell over 100-120 mm on a large area including Bacoli. (1/8 of what normally falls in a whole year). The rains provoked a series of critical situations on the territory, with vast flooding in the flat parts and abundant flows on the sloping areas, locally comparable to the processes of flash flooding.

Water as a living space

  • The good climatic conditions and the presence of a fair percentage of humidity, due to the presence of the lakes, combined with the exceptional fertility of the soil, favored, at the end of the volcanic activity, the settlement of Apennine and Mediterranean plant species, which they are distributed according to the environmental conditions: this is why in the Phlegraean territory, in a small space, multiple plant associations coexist, which greatly raise the level of plant biodiversity in the area and, consequently, its ecological value.The Misenum is an ecosystem of great environmental interest, but it has long suffered from serious pollution problems caused by illegal discharges and often times the almost complete obstruction of the mouths.The environment of flora and fauna along the sea water have characteristics that partly also depend on the volcanic nature of the place.
  • The lake is a brackish lagoon, it is connected to the sea by two mouths,one of Miseno and the other one of Miliscola, which after the recent adaptation they works allow the flow, controlled by locks, of sea water into the lake. There are no natural sweet tributaries, water exchanges are limited only with the sea.
  • The historic center of the city of Bacoli has developed on the eastern shore of the lake; the south side is used for agricultural crops, there is a separation from the sea that forms a coastal strip, where the beach of Milliscola is located. The lake is surrounded by a cycle path, recently built, it represents an environmentally friendly tourist route. In addition to the important presence of the municipal villa that overlooks the lake and represents a large part of the public green area for Bacoli, there are abandoned land and structures.
  • Are the rivers permeable for fish or blocked by artificial elements?(approx 200 signs)

Blue and Green Infrastructure

  • The major potential elements of green infrastructure network are the areas of greenery aided around Lake Miseno, including the municipal villa, and the green paths that lead to the Lighthouse of Miseno; also there is a cycle path that extends from Baia, around the lake, to Capo Miseno, where a pedestrian path has connects the lake with the lighthouse. The areas around the lake are mostly abandoned or occupied by parking lots, the poor state of maintenance and pollution of the lake also devalues these cycle-pedestrian paths. These areas need redevelopment interventions, to enhance the territory and create a line of green infrastructures that can make the connection between Lake Miseno and Capo Miseno more attractive. While, for blue infrastructure, the major potential elements are Lake Miseno, the port of Miseno and the coastline: the coastline is occupied by tourist equipment, but here too there are some abandoned areas; while the waters are polluted due to waste.

Water as a cultural space

Land use and water

  • In image 1. a cartography is illustrated which highlights the various uses of the land; with a majority of agricultural and residential areas. The infrastructures are few but essential and almost all coexist in the city center.
  • In image 2. illustrates how the human settlement system has expanded over time.
  • In Roman times Miseno and the neighboring villages was a holiday resort. The remains of Cento Camerelle, part of the Piscina Mirabilis and the so-called Agrippina Tomb are still preserved today from the ancient Bauli. During the Augustan era, Bacoli became the elective capital of politics, culture and worldliness. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the city of Bacoli also declined due to some geological phenomena (bradyseism and erosions). In the 17th century the city was reborn and became one of the favorite destinations of Europeans. In addition to Bacoli today, the current municipality also includes the remains of the ancient Bauli, Miseno and its subsidiary Miliscola, former seat of the Roman Emperor's fleet.The land use of the study area can change and is undergoing change, in fact the representatives of some associations, in defense of the Bacoli area, have shown us (during the Living Labs) intervention projects proposed for this change.

Cultural and spatial typologies of water areas

  • The urban morphology of our area has been strongly influenced by the presence of water: in particular, Lake Miseno, which constitutes a water square, can be considered a spatial model that has evolved in relation to the sea, from which it collects the waters.The port of Miseno assumes great importance, which in the past had a military value. Lake Miseno and the Tyrrhenian Sea are divided by a strip of coast, which today has cultivated and urbanized but also abandoned areas. Around the lake there are various areas of uncultivated green including in particular, the former military area of Cinque Lenze. Along the coast various bathing activities have developed over time that attract tourists especially in the summer, with the presence of numerous hotels and B & Bs. There are no industrial areas, on the contrary, there is a strong presence of restricted greenery such as the municipal villa but in particular, mostly behind the Cerillo Park. A large part of our area undergoes an urban development that is not entirely controlled which develops in particular between the Lake and the Cerillo Park.

Sacred spaces and heritage

The territory of Bacoli is full in archaeological evidence that traces the history of the place, important monuments that are part of the citizens' memory of the place.

  • Mirabilis Pool

The Mirabilis Pool is the largest known cistern ever built by the ancient Romans and had the function of supplying water to the ships of the Roman Navy that found mooring and shelter in the port of Miseno. The cistern was entirely dug into the tuff hill overlooking the port, 8 meters above sea level. The mirabilis pool was the terminal reservoir of one of the main Roman aqueducts, the Augustan aqueduct, which brought water from the sources of Serino, 100 kilometers away, to Naples and Phlegraean Fields. It was a privileged destination in the stops of the Grand Tour, it was also designed by Giuliano Sangallo for its architectural interest, for its strong charm and magnificence. It is among the Phlegraean places mainly chosen as filming locations.

  • Agrippina’s Grave

The Agrippina’s grave is the name with whom, from the nineteenth century onwards, has been erroneously indicated one of the archaeological sites of the municipality of Bacoli. The original layout of the structure, an odeion or a small theater of the Augustan or Julio-Claudian age of which only the signs of the steps are preserved, was transformed into a nymphaeum exedra between the end of the I and the beginning of the II century AD, probably as a result of the partial sinking due to bradysis phenomena.

  • Roman Theatre of Miseno

The theatre was built on the hillside. At the beginning of the last century, part of the scene and the cavea are still preserved, with the stairs between the wedges and the vomiting. Today, as a result of the intense urbanization, only isolated structures survive that do not allow to capture an overall image of the building. They are arches and, on the intermediate level, the remains of a staircase and part of a tunnel, now transformed into a deposit. It is still possible to walk a section of the lower corridor from which the other radial tunnels depart, later walled. Characteristic of the theater was the presence of a tunnel that, from the thirteenth arch of this corridor, reached, crossing the hill, the ancient Via Herculea and then the port. The tunnel, still existing and passable, ends directly at sea.

  • Lucullo’s Fisheries

On Capo Miseno north-western side, near the famous Dragonara Cave, there is a sequence of caves. They are dug in tuffs and they are presently partly submerged by the sea. The caves belong to a system of water tanks and fisheries, dating back to the republican age. The structures probably belonged to a magnificent villa, but the “Lucullo’s Fisheries” denomination is conjectural.

  • Punta Pennata

The islet of Punta Pennata has a high cultural importance, there are many ruins, mostly covered by dense vegetation, considered according to a thesis pertinent to an extensive patrician villa indicated in some writings as Villa di Lucullo. According to another thesis, the entire island, at the time peninsula, would have been the seat of the praetorium misenate, the headquarters of the command of the legions. The whole complex seems to have had two phases: one at the beginning of the I sec d.C. and the other of reuse in the II sec. Near the entire stretch of coast to NO of the islet are visible remains of further submerged environments. Moreover the islet of Punta Pennata is crossed by two tunnels called "Cave of the coral" and "Cave of Nerone" which had the function of draining the waters to avoid the cover-up. In 1921 twenty-two pieces and fragments of sculptures were discovered in an old landfill, which had been reached by the works of the then existing pozzolana quarry.

  • Capo Miseno’s Lighthouse

On the tip of the promontory that was originally part of a crater, stands the lighthouse of Capo Miseno. It seems to have been there forever, ready to illuminate the ways of ships. And yet, what is now a lighthouse, was once one of the 366 watchtowers erected by the Viceroys to see the Saracen ships, always close to the conquest of the Kingdom. Nothing of the ancient tower remained, but its purpose remained in fact the same. If before it was used by the people (but above all by the soldiers) to save themselves from the probable attacks, today its function is to illuminate the way of the boats. The lighthouse was built in the early 1800s. In 1943, almost at the end of World War II, the lighthouse of Cape Miseno was hit by bombing. The structure as it appears today dates back to 1948, the year in which the reconstruction work was completed. Due to its strategic position it is one of the most important Italian lighthouses illuminating the Gulf of Pozzuoli and the channel of Procida; one of the most beautiful and evocative of Italy for its uniqueness, has great value as a testimony of the history of the place.

  • You may add a map and some images, please also explain in your caption why these elements are valuable

Visual appearance and landscape narrative

  • The landscape of the Miseno area is characterized by many rural areas, which are exploited in an agricultural way by the citizens; important is the naturalistic aspect dominated by the predominant presence of Lake Miseno which gives its name to the town (image 1).An aspect that jumps out is the connection between the lake and the sea, it is very suggestive; the water is a main character. Historical side is a very important aspect for the area, there are various archaeological sites act as main poles for the area.
  • The area of Capo Miseno, Miseno and the surrounding areas have very often been sets of narratives and representations. For example, in Madame de Steal's novel "Corinne ou l'Italie" it tells of a love story between Corinne and a young Englishman who get married in Naples; about that Francois Gérard painted "Corinne a Capo Miseno"(image 2).A painting that concerns the archaeological and historical part of the place is "Nerone and Agrippina" by Antonio Rizzi.(image 3)
  • The area has been the protagonist of many myths that have been handed down over the years. Famous is the episode that characterizes the Aeneid and which would explain the orgin of the town name: Miseno. Homer wrote that Aeneas, before being able to enter Hades, had to bury Misenus, his trumpeter who died for having challenged Triton.Aeneas buried Misenus under the ground of what is now called Capo Miseno. Another episode concerning the Bacoli area is in the "Ten labors of Hercules"; during his tenth labor Hercules captured the oxen of Geryon, when he was in Bacoli he built stables. In greek Boulia means oxen; according to tradition, the term Bacoli derives from here.(image 4)

Water and People

Accessibility and usability

  • The lake is connected to the city, especially near the areas of the municipal gardens, where are numerous access points. In the areas of private property and in the abandoned areas, instead it closes, generally, the barriers consist of low walls that generate a difference in height between the road and the lake. Access from Milliscola is also closed by chains, while access from the port is permitted.
  • The spaces around the lake are used by the citizens of Bacoli for sporting activities, thanks to the cycle path and the pedestrian path; the spaces of the municipal villa are also used in free time by children or by the municipality for debates with citizens; the villa is also equipped with a stage and a cavea used for theatrical performances or events. The coastal part is mainly used by tourists who visit the area in the summer to enjoy the sun and the sea.

Community Mapping

  • Social groups from within the community, we have identified:
Social groups
Needs Objectives Power Capacities
Students Community areas to study and

enjoy the landscape

Intervene in the improvement of the landscape Active in associations Represent future


Parents Home-school routes, spaces for

free time

Being able to take safe and healthy places

for their sons

Voters Mainly linked to political supports
Senior citizens Local transport infrastructures,

spaces for free time

Being able to take advantage of healthy and

open-air spaces to improve one's health

Voters Mainly linked to political support
Disabled Access to the lake with

specific routes

Being able to take advantage of healthy and

open-air spaces to improve one's health

Voters Mainly linked to political support
  • Local stakeholder groupswe have identified:
  • Free Bacoli
  • Diamo a Bacoli
  • Percorsi cumani
  • External stakeholder groupswe have identified:
  • Nucleo ambientale volontario Campania
  • Technical department of Nisida

Possible Futures

  • DPSIR(image 1.) We identified the drivers that generate the pressures; for our area main drivers are agriculture, transport and tourism, infact the pollution of the lake through discharges into it and the tansports and turism generate emissions and and waste. Pressures alter the state of water, soil and air, causing an impact on costs and on human and economic health. This analysis finds an answer in the reconnection project between nature and city, through cooperation and active participation, greem and blue infrastructure sustainable agriculture.
  • We have identified these UN Goals:

Goal 11.2 - Provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustaible transport system for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport.

Goal 13.3 - Increase the economic benefits and leastdeveloped counties from the sustaible use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries,aquaculture and tourism

Goal 14.7 - Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation. impact reduction and nearly warning.

Goal 15.3 - By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, droght and floods, and strive to achieve a land degration-neutral world.

  • The values identified and the weaknesses determined the main intervention goals concerning the requalify and increase the already exiting pedestrian-cycle path, around the lake. We want to reduce the pollution generated by illegal drains, also to create new access to connect the lake to the city. The last one is to redevelop abandoned green areas, donating them to the community.

The response of the DPSIR allowed us to generate forecasts on the interventions about:

  • The redevelopment of the green infrastructure. (image 2.)
  • The reclamation of the mouths blocked by phenomena of erosion. (image 3.)
  • The planning of new accesses to connect the lake to the city. (image 4.)
  • The redevelopment of abandoned areas through the introduction of tourism sustainable.(image 5.)
  • The forecasts are aimed at implementing the goals identified by increasing the values of the area.

Collaborative Goal Setting

  • Strategic planning objectives

Starting from the analysis and evaluation of our area, which is articulated around Lake Miseno, it has emerged above all an important factor that wants to represent a central objective for the plan; we have noticed, in fact, that in our area, there is a lack of centrality, an attractive pole. Surely, this potential could be recognized in the lake itself which, however, due to the abandonment, poor maintenance of the areas surrounding it and the closure with respect to the city and the coast is characterized as a center that drives away, we have defined it as an "urban void" because it appears today as an urban void although full of water because it is not valued, but which has in itself the potential to become a water square, a center that welcomes and collects. Each intervention is therefore aimed at making the lake the starting point and arrival point of the red, green and blue infrastructures that branch off from it and that make it a hub and an attractive pole for the community and not only for tourists. Through the rediscovery of the lake, thanks to the paths that branch off from it, they can reach the rediscovery of the entire territory, with interventions that overcome both physical and visual barriers.

We created the concept maps covering the red infrastructure, transport infrastructure and green infrastructure, and analyzed for each of the goals.

  • From the red infrastructure analysis, these goals:

- Enhancement of archaeological resources;

  • From the transport infrastructure analysis, these goals:

- Reconnect the existing green and blue coastal infrastructure through identification of a cycle-pedestrian path;

- Create limited traffic areas at the local level by encouraging sustainable mobility and public transport, including through the identification of points for bike sharing;

- Redevelopment of the pedestrian paths towards Capo Miseno.

  • From the green infrastructure analysis, these goals:

- Establish a connection between lake, coast and port through the regeneration of abandoned spaces making them a tourist vocation;

- Identification of "green cooridors" able to connect the green structure with the blue one;

- Intervene through the creation of new accesses that make the lake an attractive pole from all points.

  • Living Labs process

To choose the land use destinations and its design, we imagined to ideally involve the community.

Even if we really had the opportunity to compare ourselves with the Bacoli associations, through the Living Labs; in particular, from the interview with the president of the Free Bacoli association, strategic objectives emerged regarding the design of services for water sports and recreational spaces for tourism.

We have identified among the options the realization of: 1. and 1.1. Areas for sustainable tourism: picnic and camping areas 2. Sports areas: water and land 3. Recreational areas for children: playground

  • Development Goals

We have identified these Development Goals:

Goal 11.2 - Provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustaible transport system for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport.

Goal 13.3 - Increase the economic benefits and leastdeveloped counties from the sustaible use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries,aquaculture and tourism

Goal 15.3 - By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, droght and floods, and strive to achieve a land degration-neutral world.

Spatial Strategy and Transect

  • Strategic goals

  • Transect with concrete interventions

From Theory of Change to Implementation

  • The full regeneration of the site requires the concerted participation of social and political partnerships in the various places in order to exploit the respective potential of public and private figures. The governance model is a complex process that involves many participants, each of which has a special interest. It is impossible to maximize the economic, social and ecological benefits at the same time, so it is necessary to find a satisfactory solution by finding an agreement between the parties.
  • The main gouvernance model's participants are:

- City Administration

-Natinal Gouvernment


-Private investors

-European Authorities

  • Monetary resources should be raised mainly by public authorities; However, as the implementation of the project can bring managerial and commercial benefits, private investors can contribute to the financing. Furthermore, the entire area of Lake Miseno can rely on its precious intangible heritage, consisting of its natural and cultural values and its status in maritime traffic: these elements can justify a sort of self-financing of the plan.















Process Reflection

  • Reflect in your intercultural and interdisciplinary team on the outcomes of your study
  • The WAVE project was an interesting experience and allowed us to eliminate the distances through the screen, but to understand the differences in the approach to urban design.

Working together in a team has taught us to collaborate in the urban project to choose the best solutions for the regeneration of the lake as an attractor for the community.It was very important to understand the point of view of local citizens in order to approach the urban project in the best way. Listening to their point of view helped us to understand the needs of the community.