An almost perfectly circular volcanic crater-lake, Avernus was once thought to be the entrance to Hades. In The Aeneid, Virgil describes Aeneas’ descent to the underworld through a cave on the shores of this lake. Caesar’s general, Marcus Agrippa, converted the lake into a naval base and staged battle practices here. Ancient Romans were afraid to live on the shores of the lake, yet many farmers and vintners valued the surrounding lands for their distinctly fertile volcanic soil. Even today, Neapolitan families rent plots of land here to grow organic produce and visitors can stroll around the ancient lake.