About Capua Gladiator Museum
The Gladiator Museum of Santa Maria Capua Vetere is a small museum which explores the history of the adjacent Campania Amphitheatre. The museum includes exhibitions of dioramas which demonstrate how the amphitheatre would have looked at the peak of its power and popularity, and boasts original artefacts found at the site itself such as gladiatorial weapons.
History of Capua Gladiator Museum
The museum is located in the city of Capua, Campania, in Southern Italy. During the Roman Empire, the city would possibly have been the largest in Italy.
The Capua Gladiator Museum is adjacent to the Campania Amphitheatre, which was the second largest amphitheatre in the Roman empire after Colosseum in Rome. Started by the Emperor Nerva and continued by Trajan and Hadrian, the amphitheatre was finally completed in 138 AD.
Much of the amphitheatre has been destroyed over the years, being variously ravaged by Visigoths, the Vandals, and the Saracens. It is therefore of utmost importance that museums such as the Capua Gladiator Museum exist to document the surviving artefacts that give an insight into the once mighty structure.
Comprised of three rooms, the Gladiator Museum houses fragments which once decorated Campania Amphitheatre, such as arches and inscriptions.
It also contains a number of dioramas which show how a gladiator would have been dressed, as well as replicas of gladiatorial artefacts such as helmets and leg armour.
At its zenith, Campania Amphitheatre would have been a grand four-tiered structure able to seat up to 60,000 people, adorned with beautiful monuments from columns to sculptures. The museum therefore provides an insight into the sheer scale of a place that once hosted spectacular public events.
Capua Gladiator Museum Today
Today, in conjunction with visiting the museum, for an in-depth experience it is recommended to take a guided tour of the whole site, which must be booked in advance.
Given that Campania Amphitheatre is now a shadow of its former self, it is certainly worth visiting the Gladiator Museum, if only to get a sense of the site’s true grandeur. Entry to the museum is included in the ticket price for the amphitheatre.
Getting to Capua Gladiator Museum
From the centre of Capua, the museum is reachable in around an hour by foot, via the SS7 or Via Campagna roads. It is probably best to reach the site by car via the SS7 road which takes around 10 minutes. There’s also a regular train service which stops at Santa Maria Capua Vetere, from where the museum is a 15 minute walk.