Idyllic sea and mystery
These two small islands joined by a slim bridge are immersed in one of Italy's most beautiful protected areas, but are also enveloped in a macabre, mysterious aura. A few kilometres from the centre of Naples, in front of the Posillipo coastline and Virgiliano Park, is Gaiola Underwater Park.
Descend the long flight of stairs of the Discesa Gaiola to the clear waters of the reserve and enjoy the spectacular view. To reach the islet, it just takes a quick swim or a few minutes by boat – perhaps with a glass bottom – to admire the treasures hidden beneath the surface of the water. The more adventurous can dive into this Neapolitan Atlantis, among archaeological remains and sea caves. Not by chance, the term Gaiola derives from the Latin cavea (cave) and the Neapolitan word for ‘cage’.
But this earthly paradise hides a dark side. The German Hans Braun owned the island in the 1920s and was found dead in his villa. According to legend, the ghost of his wife Lucietta still haunts the place today. Shortly after his death, his wife drowned in a dramatic accident. Sudden deaths, suicides, kidnappings and other misfortunes also befell the island's successive tenants, from Gianni Agnelli to Paul Getty.