A journey in Campania
To ancients it was the Campania Felix, the most fecound land. From Campi Flegrei and Vesuvius, passing through Monte Massico, it was life and activity flooding that only at the end of the Roman darkened. Already in that period it was Naples, Neapolis, one of the major centers in this area. But around it, they grew other centers famous in ancient history . If you stroll among the ruins of the old Capua you will realize it immediately.
In the Italy of far away centuries Capua was one of the largest cities, second only to Rome, earning the nickname alters Rome (the second Rome). Not surprisingly, its amphitheater was the largest one of the ancient world after the Coliseum - In this arena the gladiator Spartacus began the revolt against the Roman Empire. In the big structure you can still see the quarry, the arena and the ambulatory. Farther appears the Arch of Hadrian, an ideal entrance to the city on the Via Appia. If you want to delve into the history of ancient Capua, we recommend you a visit to the Campanian Museum, housed in the Palazzo Antignano of Capua, at 68 Via Roma - from Tuesday to Saturday, 9-13-30; Sunday, 9-13; Tuesday and Thursday 15-18. In the museum there is a rich collection of archaeological finds - one of the main attractions, the Matres Matutae - sculptures, paintings and a library with manuscripts from sixth to ninth century.
Just to the north of Santa Maria Capua Vetere you’ll find Sant'Angelo in Formis. The small village is divided into three districts. The oldest, upstream the other two, is the Benedictine Abbey in Byzantine style, dedicated to Saint Michael the Archangel, built on the space of an ancient temple dedicated to Diana Tifatina and preceded by a rooftop terrace overlooking Capua. The Abbey is a small but important jewel of Romanesque architecture and, unknown to most. Why visiting it? No doubt for its frescoes, dating from the eleventh century and compounds from some scenes from the Old and New Testament - it is one of the largest series of paintings of that period.
Sant'Angelo in Formis is a small but valuable open-air museum. Not far from the Abbey you will find the partisan cemetery, monument dedicated to the fallen of the Hero of Two Worlds venture, perished during the siege of Capua and the Battle of the Volturno 1860. At the eighteenth century belongs instead one of the most famous residences in the area. Surrounded by a ten hectares park with floral decorations from every corner of the world, Tenuta San Domenico was for long the residence of the noble families Bourbon, before turning into a typical eight rooms, comfort of prestige and classic relais. Ideal for a romantic weekend or for a journey through the wonders Caserta area.
Wonders, in fact. The Royal Palace of Caserta, in the desires of the king of Naples, Charles III, had to hold its own against Versailles. The work, the last of the Italian Baroque, succeeded. Just climb the royal double ramp stairs and take a look at some of the 1,200 rooms and apartments to enjoy the splendor of the Bourbons. If then you still want to amaze yourself, exits and walks in the vast royal park behind the building. We promise you will be enchanted.