The New International Encyclopædia/Santa Maria Capua Vetere
SANTA MARIA CAPUA VETERE, kä′pōō-ắ vā′tắ-rắ. A city of South Italy, in the Province of Caserta, 15 miles north of Naples, located on the site of ancient Capua, of whose stones it was partly rebuilt (Map: Italy, J 6). It is an active, thriving, attractive place, with a population of 22,146 (commune) in 1901. Its large, reconstructed cathedral, dating from 1766. has five naves and 52 columns. The Roman ruins attract many sight-seers. Ancient Capua, in Campania, was second only to Rome among the cities of Italy in wealth and population. Under the name of Volturnum it was the chief of the twelve cities said to have been founded by the Etruscans in this part of Italy. In B.C. 343 it formed an alliance with Rome for protection against the Samnite tribes of the mountains. After the battle of Cannæ, B.C. 216, the popular party opened the gates to Hannibal, whose army rapidly degenerated here under the new corrupting surroundings. The Romans obtained possession of the city in B.C. 211. In the fifth century A.D. Capua was devastated by the Vandals under Genseric. It recovered its prosperity again to some extent, but was totally destroyed by the Saracens in 840. Among the antiquities one of the most remarkable is the amphitheatre constructed of travertin, of which well-preserved arches, corridors, and seats for spectators still remain.