Also known as the Birdland sanctuary; El Portal (from the Spanish “The Gate”; named this way because of the two main wooden gates that were placed at the entrance of the village) is one of the very first archeological sites registered in Miami Dade County.
Because El Portal isn’t a touristic attraction opened to the public; please be cautious if decide to visit, respect the nature, the silence and the neighbors. El Portal is a residential village were peacocks walk free; an almost enchanted forest with hundreds of year old trees guiding the path to a Tequesta Indian Burial site.
The Tequesta Indians; one of the first people of today’s South Florida lived in the areas known as the Biscayne Bay and the South bank of the Miami River including what is today the Village of El Portal. In 1560 Admiral Pedro Mendendez de Aviles took contact with the Tequesta Indians who were later transferred to Cuba, converted to the new faith and later vanished.
Once at El Portal; I had my first encounter with that exuberant vegetation and the endless variety of botanical species; because of my Native American origins I felt the need to visit the site and respectfully give back to the earth what is from the mother earth: I had kept for the longest time a few ritual instruments I received from the Mbya Guarani Indians back in Paraguay which I deposited on to the sacred mound. I prayed in silence and felt in whole harmony with the nature.
In addition El Portal is a certified Wildlife Habitat, as a source of the Four Basic elements needed for wildlife to thrive: food, water, cover and places to raise the young spices. I discovered signs marking the pathways while numerous butterflies revealed their beautiful colors. This site provides also the necessary milkweed, nectar sources and shelter to sustain monarch butterflies as they migrate though North America.
The wide arc of land around the Pozzuoli Bay has been known for centuries as the Campi Flegrei (The Phlegraean fields) or Burning Fields, because of the constant volcanic activity. Mud still bubbles from the clay bed of the solfatara and in places the ground is still hot, you can easily boil an egg if you place it under the soil.
Over time some of the Phlegraean craters became lakes. Lake Averno thought to be the entrance of hell and owes its name (a-ornon in Greek: without birds) to the once suffocating vapours.
At the end of the 1st century BC, its almost sacred character declined after the construction of Porto Giulio, a systems of channels that connected the sea and the lakes, ships first reached the outer port in Lake Lucrino and then the inner basin of Lake Averno, connected to Cumae by the tunnel through Monte Grillo. The port was abandoned when silted up and trade was transferred to Miseno.
Founded in the 8th century BC by Greeks stationed on Ischia, Cumae is one of the oldest colonies of Magna Grecia. The founders of this colony came from Eubea, a Greek Island of the Aegean sea.
Villa Eubea and Vinaria, a cult to food and wine in the ancestral site
Buried Greek towns and Roman ruins, reveal the region’s ancient history, the burning fields and their volcanic soil bringing up the flavors on this land that gives in return high mineral wine and delicious fruit and vegetables.
Next, we will explore the rest of this amazing territory going from Pozzuoli to Baia and Bacoli stopping by more wineries, restaurants by the bay and archeological sites. See you tomorrow, thank you for reading.
(c) 2013 Montserrat Franco, all pictures by me taken with IPhone 4S and Sony Cybershot.
The remains of Pompeii were discovered by accident in the 1590’s when architect Domenico Fontana was excavating the canal to bring the waters from river Sarno to Torre Anunziata but it was not until the 1750’s that the site was seen as an archaeological treasure and one of the most important and well preserved examples of Roman civilization. Follow me on this amazing trip around the streets, houses and wineries of Pompeii, Herculaneum and the Vesuvius National Park.
In 90-89 BC the people of Campania became Roman citizens. Naples (Neapolis) or the new city came in to contact with the growing power of Rome. In AD 79 the erupting Vesuvius buried a number of ancient Roman cities including Pompeii.
Thanks to the many discoveries we can have an idea of the life in the Roman houses of Pompeii, constructed generally around two open courts; the atrium; an Italic feature and the colonnaded garden of Greek origin. But not only the architecture and the art in their walls, Pompeii reveals much more in the bodies of people unearthed along with their everyday objects.
Lacryma Christi and the ancient wine making in the Vesuvius
A Paleo Christian legend says that Christ cried over the Vesuvius and His Holy tears blessed the vineyards giving name to this excellent wine. Other legend distorted from the pagan mythology says that Jesus visited a hermit converting his bad beverage in to amazing wine. Today we can see many frescoes with wine rituals from the houses in Pompeii that have survived the ashes after the eruption of the Volcano.
The town’s quiet existence was brought to an abrupt halt in AD 79 during the eruption of the Vesuvius that buried Pompeii with deep lava and mud. The site of ancient Herculaneum is well below the level of the modern town. The area is still being excavated.
(c) 2013 Montserrat Franco. All pictures by me taken with IPhone 4, 4S and Sony Cybershot. You are more than welcome to share them mentioning the font.