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Capua, a small town on the river Volturno, has been an active local centre for more than 2000 years, as can be seen in the monuments and buildings in and near the town. It is now a quiet regional centre, visited for its important museum but also having several churches and other places of interest.
The Corso Appio is the main street in Capua, situated on (and named from) the Roman consular road called the Via Appia.
Your visit to Capua can start in the Piazza of Judges in the centre of the city, where you can see the 16th century Town Hall, and with a façade featuring seven busts taken from the Amphitheatre of Santa Maria Capua Vetere. Nearby you can also see the Church of Saint Eligi, which was built in the Middle Ages and renovated in the Baroque period.
To the north of Capua there is a bridge called the Ponte Romano [“Roman bridge”], that was rebuilt after the second World War with great attention to maintaining the historical characteristics of the bridge. To the south are the towers of Friedrich II of Swabia (1194-1250) and the remains of the famous Porta di Capua.
Among the most important sights in Capua is Capua Cathedral, built in the 9th century and renovated several times over the centuries. On the right of the cathedral you can see the Bell Tower with three levels of double Lancet Windows and ancient columns. Inside the items of interest include the candelabra of the Easter candle that dates back to about the 13th century, and a painting of the Assumption by Francesco Solimena (1657-1747) in the apse.
In a chapel in the crypt of the cathedral there is a marble statue of "Dead Christ" by Matteo Bottigliero (1684-1757); in the Chapel of the Sacrament there is a 17th century ciborium and a 15th century wooden "Madonna"; while in the chapel of "S.S. body of Christ" there is the Diocesan Museum, that holds items relating to folk art dating back to the 1st century BC and some statues that once decorated the Porta di Capua (Capua Gate).
Museum of the Palazzo Antignano
The museum is the main attraction for many visitors to Capua and includes many of the artefacts found among the ancient ruins at Santa Maria Capua Verte
In the Museum of the Palazzo Antignano (itself an example of Catalan art) about two hundred votive statues of the so-called “Mothers” are exhibited that came from the sanctuary dedicated to the Italic Goddess called "Mater Matuta", the Goddess of fertility. These statues in tuff depict mothers with children in their arms and were made to thank the Goddess for a successful maternity and childbirth.
Also of great historical importance is the lapidary dedicated to the great German historian Theodor Mommsen (1817-1903), which contains numerous Roman inscriptions, and a series of Roman funerary steles from Capua and Casilinum.
In the part of Capua museum dedicated to the Medieval age there are some very interesting statues, with rare examples of Italian sculpture from the 13th century.
Churches of interest in Capua
There are numerous churches in Capua, several with interesting highlights such as the churches of “Saint Giovanni a Corte”, “Saint Michele a Corte”, and “St. Salvatore Maggiore a Corte”, with two mullioned Windows plans and three arches on the façade (inside you can see some columns with capitals and traces of frescoes).
Other religious buildings of note include the churches “SS. Rufo and Carponio” and “St.Marcello Maggiore”, which has a decorative entrance of great artistic value.
Other Capua monuments
Also worth seeing while you are exploring is the so-called Castello delle Pietre ["Castle of the stones"]. This was the residence of the Normans when they controlled the area in the 11th century and is dominated by a huge castle keep which was further expanded in the 19th century. Construction materials for the tower were taken from the Amphitheatre of Capua.
Another notable monument is the Napoli Gate, built in the 16th century.
The famous buffalo “mozzarella” cheese is produced in this fertile area since buffalo adapt well to the temperate conditions and the abundance of standing water. The production of mozzarella here has a very long tradition, and it is known that it was made here both in Roman times and also from the early Middle Ages.
See also history of Capua.
While you are here you will also want to visit the important Ancient Roman ruins at nearby Santa Maria Capua Verte. If you are in the region visiting ancient historical monuments you are also likely to want to visit Herculaneum near Naples.
Where is Capua?
Capua is situated about 30km north of Naples in the Campania region of central Italy.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Campania guide.