Activities

Take a walk through the narrow streets of the old center until the Judges square (Piazza dei Giudici) with its sixteenth-century Town Hall, historical headquarter of the magistrates (“Judices”). In its front, you may see seven marble busts of gods, formerly keystones of the famous Campanian Amphitheatre arches, home to the first, and very famous gladiator school.Several stones of the amphitheatre have been used to build the Norman castle, and its crenellated tower. That’s why the castle is better known as the “Castle of the stones” (Castello delle pietre). Visit the Cathedral, whose construction (wanted by Bishop Landulfo) dates back to 856 AD. The Cathedral has been reconstructed and renovated between tenth and eleventh century, at first, and then, more radically, between the eighteenth and nineteenth. It has been almost completely destroyed during the II World War and rebuilt in the '50s. Since 1827 it is a “Minor Basilica”, and, since 1992, it hosts, in the Chapel of the Body of Christ, the Diocesan Museum of Capua, which collects paintings and sculptures from various churches in the city. During the Jubilee of Mercy wanted by Pope Francis, on December, 13th, the Cathedral has lived the solemn moment of the opening of the Holy Door.Take a look at the Towers wanted by Frederick II in 1234 (Torri  federiciane). Seriously damaged in 1557 by the Spanish who modified the city’s fortifications, everything that remains of the towers' rich sculptural decoration is now preserved in the Provincial Museum of Campania. Downtown, you can also see the house of Ettore Fieramosca, noble of Capua, whose name is linked to the historical “Challenge of Barletta” (1503), and also the three “at curtis” Longobard churches (St. Michael, St. John and St. Saviour), which faced around the former palace of the Lombard princes.Don’t miss the Provincial Museum of Campania in Capua (http://www.provincia.caserta.it/museocampano/storia.asp) with its very famous “Matres Matutae” collection. The “Matres” represented “ex voto” statues, i.e. a propitiatory offering and the expression of thanks for the concession of the highest good of fertility.The Museum was founded in 1870 by the Priest Gabriele Iannelli and inaugurated in 1874 with an admirable speech by the abbot Luigi Tosti. Amedeo Maiuri defined it as “The most significant museum of ancient Italian civilisation in Campania”, region to which Capua gave its name.Sant’Angelo in Formis abbey is another jewel not to be missed.The church, dedicated to St Michael Archangel, was once referred to as “ad arcum Dianae” (near the Arch of Diana), as it lies on the remains of a Roman temple to that goddess.It was built in the eleventh century by Desiderius, the abbot of Monte Cassino, who also rebuilt that abbey. Its decorations display a mingling of Byzantine and Latin traditions.Nearby, in Santa Maria Capua Vetere, the impressive ancient Campanian Amphitheatre is waiting for you. You will see the hulking remains of the largest amphitheater in Italy after Rome's Colosseum. There, in 73 BC the gladiator named Spartacus began his slave revolt against Rome.Ask at the amphitheater’ticket office for someone to accompany you to the Mithraeum, an underground temple dedicated to the cult of Mithras, a Persian god very popular among the lower Roman classes and military men from the AD 1st to 3rd centuries (see here for more info: http://www.napoliunderground.org/index.php/en/hiking/nature-trails/1146-the-campanian-amphitheater)A must is the Royal Palace of Caserta (Reggia di Caserta), inspired by the Palace of Versailles, with its huge park and the “English garden”. Its construction was begun in 1752 under Charles of Bourbon, who worked closely with his architect, Luigi Vanvitelli. It was the largest palace and one of the largest buildings erected in Europe during the 18th century. In 1997, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When in Caserta, don’t miss a walk in Casertavecchia, the beautiful medieval village that lies at the foot of the Tifatini Mountains. It was designated, in 1960, an Italian National Monument.The name of Luigi Vanvitelli is also linked to the Caroline Aqueduct. A perfectly preserved 529-metre-long (1,736 ft) section in tufa bridging can be admired in the close Valle di Maddaloni. Modelled on ancient Roman aqueducts, it was built to supply the “Reggia di Caserta” and the San Leucio complex. The above mentioned section was made a World Heritage Site in 1997.Also the San Leucio complex was included in the UNESCO World Heritage sites list in 1997. It is located 3.5 km northwest of Caserta. Charles and the young king Ferdinand IV of Bourbon created a silk production site, and a village was built for workers' residences. A large community of silk weavers grew into this industrial town, which in 1789 was deemed the “Real Colonia dei Setaioli” (the Silk Weavers Royal Colony). In San Leucio the most advanced technologies known in Europe at the time were used throughout the process to obtain the finished products. San Leucio resort is home to a Living Silk Museum with some original old looms and machinery restored and displayed inside the Belvedere courtyard, showing all the phases of silk productions, from the old looms and machinery to finished products.

 

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