The Archeological Museum of Ancient Capua
The Museo Archeologico dell’Antica Capua is housed in a 19th century building that stands in one of Capua’s oldest settlements, first occupied by the Tower of Sant’Erasmo in the Longobard era, later a royal stable and archive under Robert of Anjou, then a military barracks and finally an horse breeding institution.
Opened in 1995, the museum displays archaeological finds from the excavations carried out in the Capua district in the second half of the 20th century.
Over twelve rooms, informative panels help visitors to trace the history of ancient Capua and its surrounding area from the 10th to the 1st century B.C.
The tour begins with objects that illustrate the transition from the late Bronze Age to the early Iron Age. The items from the Iron Age include finds of Etruscan origin (bronze basins and typical black clay ceramics called bucchero), as well as objects from Greece and the Danube area. Ceramics of a proto-Corinthian and Corinthian type illustrate the theme of the absorption of Greek cultural influences.
Imported ceramics, Ionic cups and Attic vases showing black and red-figure decoration and mythological scenes and other examples of local production introduce the archaic period (6th-5th century B.C.).
The supremacy of the Samnites over the Etruscans at the end of the 5th century B.C. is illustrated by the weapons found in the male grave goods (whereas the female grave goods include gold jewelry and figured vases).
A series of painted tombs follows, dating back to the late 4th century B.C., with items including red-figure vases made in Cuma, which are commonly found in the Capua district. Worth seeing are also the Greek-Roman sculptures, such as the small statues of Aphrodite and Hermes, the female headless statues, such as the one of Artemis (dating back to the Hellenistic period), Roman portraits of the Republican and Imperial age (including those of Marcus Aurelius and Septimius Severus) and the decorative reliefs of the amphitheater.
The museum has a reconstruction of a grave, known as the Priest’s Tomb, that shows an original internal architectural structure, including two funeral beds and walls painted with human figures on an almost lifelike scale. The dead man, dressed as a local magistrate, is depicted as he is being welcomed into the afterlife, which is imagined as a garden full of birds, with maidens playing music and dancing.
The items and personal objects reveal that graves such as this, datable to between the 4th and the early 3rd century B.C., belonged to the aristocratic class of Capua.
Museo Archeologico dell’Antica Capua
S. Maria Capua Vetere (CE)
Via Roberto d’Angiò, 48
Open: Tuesday to Sunday 9.00 AM - 7.30 PM (last admission at 6.45 PM)
Closed on Monday Tel: (+39) 081 2395653 - 081 2395666
Tickets (Valid also for the Anfiteatro Campano, and the Museo dei Gladiatori and Mitreo)
Full price: €2.50
EU citizens between 18 and 25: €1.25 With the ArteCard: € 1.25
Visitors under 18 or over 65: free
Directions by train:
S. Maria Capua Vetere stop (15 min. on foot from the station)