by Letizia Triches
This story began a very long time ago at a sun-drenched sea-bathed Cuma, today a small town in the Phlegrean Fields, but once the most important city to be founded in Campania by the colonists from Chalcedon. In an even more remote epoch, one of the poets wrote that at the end of his flight Daedalus had landed on the citadel of Cuma to erect thereon a temple sacred to Apollo. On the gilded gates of the temple there remained engraved the effigy of Daedalus grieving for the fall of Icarus who had disappeared as a huge purple-coloured angel into the waves of a dark sea.
Most ancient landing-place of Aegean navigators, Cuma as early as the eighth century before Christ had given welcome to the Chalcedonians from the island of Euboea, who transformed it into the farthest outpost of the Greek colonies in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Then the Samnites swept over the Chalcedonians, who although being annihilated, still managed to hand down the invaluable signs of their alphabet, together with their advanced civilised life-style.
Last century there arrived on the scene some clandestine diggers, who despite considerable adversity managed to overcome the terror of the place, which at that time was no more than a desolate swampy land exuding fumes of malarial fever.
Gold objects, bronzes and painted vases were all within easy reach under a thin covering of earth, treasures waiting to be slipped among their greedy fingers.