Thursday, March 28, 2013

Capua and Casertavecchia

This post is long overdue. Like one and a half years overdue. We were just in the U.S. for about two weeks and since we don't have much planned for this weekend there's not much else to write about for the rest of March... and I must write about something! Alas, as I was looking through our old photos I realized that we never wrote about Capua and Casertavecchia. Hence, the reason for writing this post in March 2013 when the visit was all the way back when we were still living in a hotel in September 2011. Capisci?

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
While we don't need to go back to the Capua amphitheater, writing this post has made us want to see Casertavecchia again. It's the perfect place to go on a nice sunny day for the views, and has a lot of  romantic restaurants that we could stumble upon one night.


  1. It is absolutely amazing to see all of the ruins that are located in Italy! It is unbelievable to see a structure (like the amphitheater) that was built thousands of years ago! It is even more amazing to see it still standing after all that time! But what I don't understand is why people don't go there to see it? You mentioned that it is 16 miles north of Naples, so does this have anything to do with the fact that no one goes there? Just curious. The town of Casertavecchia sounds very quaint and picturesque! I love narrow cobblestoned streets, lined with small shops and restaurants! (That's definitely a place I can get into!!) I'm really glad that you found these wonderful photos and decided to write a blog about it!

  2. I am also glad that you share this with us. From your writing not many people are really interested in this wonderful ancient history. I for one is addictive to ancient history, especially Ancient Rome, the Gladiators etc. Just wish you had more photos of the tunnels and the chambers where the gladiators prepared for battle and of the cages for the animals.
    I will never be able to visit such a fascinating place. So all I can do is Google this and live my dream through pictures and notes from the past!
    PS You didn't maybe hear/see the ghost of the real Spartacus?