We went to Capua when Jon's parents, Lori and Joe, were visiting us. Capua is home to the second largest amphitheater in Italy (next to the Colosseum in Rome) and is located about 16 miles north of Naples. The city of Capua dates back to at least the 7th century B.C. when Etruscans and Euboean Greeks settled the area. Today, this ancient city lies mostly underneath the modern town of Santa Maria Capua Vetere. The amphitheater was completed sometime in the 1st century and at its peak was able to hold 60,000 spectators.
It was interesting to explore this ancient stadium - for one, we were the only people there. And from what it sounds like from others who visit, there are usually no tourists there anytime you go. Also, unlike the Colosseum in Rome, here you are allowed to walk and explore the underground tunnels and the gladiator field. The network of tunnels are littered with fragments of large ornaments that once adorned the amphitheater. We saw the vaulted chambers where the animals were kept and where gladiators prepared to go to battle. Exploring Capua allowed us to truly appreciate the different techniques used in the underground area of a Roman amphitheater.
Next to the amphitheater is a Gladiator Museum, which contains two rooms of artifacts with a display of fighting gladiators. Though small, we spent a little bit of time here looking at original arches and inscriptions, the different displays, and original gladiator weapons.
|On the right, what the amphitheater looked like|
|Room with marble inscriptions|
Next we went to Casertavecchia (Old Caserta). This small hill-town overlooks Caserta and the rest of the area, including Capri and Ischia on a good day. This is the perfect town to wander the small narrow streets, which holds only a church, a bell tower, and a handful of restaurants. After we strolled through the town we came upon a fantastic restaurant to eat lunch.
|Our cute lunch stop|