Capua is an illustrious and antique metropolis of Campania. Its museum contains the most resplendent archeological and medieval relics of this region of Italy.
The Archeological Museum stands on one of Capua’s most ancient settlement, occupied at first by the Torre di Sant’Erasmo during the Longobard era. Inaugurated in 1995, it contains archaeological finds coming from the excavations carried out on the territory. . The whole complex consists of 32 exhibition rooms, 20 rooms for deposit, three big courtyards and a vast garden. Twelve halls, illustrative panels and legends allow the visitors to retrace the history of the territory from the first millennium B.C. to the 9th century A.C., a period of decline for the city. From Bronze Age to Iron Age, from the archaic period to the Etruscan civilization, from the Sunnite populations to the Roman period, a history full of influences and changes retraceable through the objects on display. Votive sculptures, weapons, golden jewels, grave goods, bronze vases, the reconstruction of a tomb crypt with a natural size fresco of the dead, red figure chinaware, votive medals, architectonic elements and many other objects.
The Provincial Museum of Campania in Capua was founded in 1870 and inaugurated in 1874; it is the most significant museum of ancient Italian civilization in Campania. The museum is located in the historic Antignano building, whose foundations go back to the 9th century and incorporate the ruins of San Lorenzo ad Crucem, a church dating from the Lombardic age. The building boasts the splendid Durazzesco-Catalan portal which bears mountings of the Antignano and Alagno coats of arms. Following Italy’s unification, a royal decree led to the founding of the museum in order to catalogue and house the region's considerable archaeological and artistic heritage.
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The first director, professor Gabriele Iannelli, a distinguished archaeologist, historian and epigraphist who, according to the words of Norbert Kamp "possessed a truly unique vision for his time of the entire Capuan tradition "- was a tenacious organizer and, with his illuminated work, conducted the museum for over 30 years. The museum was reorganized in 1933 because of the remarkable increase of the collections.
With its variety and vastness of archaeological, historical, artistic and literary wealth, the museum is an eloquent mirror-image of the three thousand year-old life of a metropolis which, in its two sites, has seen rulers that include the Oscans, Etruscans, Samnites, Romans, Lombardians, Normans, Swabians, Angevins, Aragonese and Spaniards.
The museum's history is among others, linked to names such as Spartacus, Hannibal, Pandolfo Capodiferro and Pietro della Vigna, Cesare Borgia and Hector Fieramosca. The finds in the Museum are monuments and documents of incalculable preciousness; they were evaluated in the last centuries by first class scholars; from Michele Monaco to Alessio Simmaco Mazzocchi, from Gabriele Iannelli to Theodor Mommsen, from Julius Belloch and Jaques Heurgon to Amedeo Maiuri, and are still an object of acute and accurate research for highly scientifically qualified personalities. By 1956, with the addition of new rooms, the collections had been rearranged with the most modern museological criteria. The new "Museum of Campania" was considered to be among the most important in Italy and Europe.
The layout was realized by prof. Raffaello Causa, responsible for the medieval and the modern section, and by prof. Alfonso De Franciscis and Mario Napoli, responsible for the archaeological section. The museum is divided into two departments: an archaeological and a medieval department which are conjoined with an important library.
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