The Flavian Amphitheater in Pozzuoli
The history of the two Roman arenas in Pozzuoli: the Flavian amphitheater (the third largest in Italy, built in the second half of the first century AD) and the minor one.
Address: Corso Terracciano, 75 – 80078 Pozzuoli (NA)
Opening hours: Every days 9.00 a.m. - one hour before sunset
Closing day: Tuesday
Price ticket: € 4 - Reduced price ticket: € 2
Combination Ticket € 8 - Combination reduced Ticket: € 4
With the combination Ticket you can visit: Cumae, Flavian Amphitheater (Pozzuoli), The Castle of Baia, Archaeological Park at Baia
GPS coordinates to reach the subway parking lot at 400 meters (about 435 yards) away from the Flavian Amphitheater:
The Flavian Amphitheater: the history
The Flavian Amphitheater located in Pozzuoli (province of Naples), was built in 3 levels from the Flavio dynasty in the second half of the 1st century AD. It's the third largest in Italy. The first largest is the Coliseum in Rome and the 2nd one si the amphitheater of Capua (at 30 kms from Pozzuoli). It's 149 meters long and 116 meters wide and it could hold up to 8,000 spectators. The state of maintenance of the subterranean is very unique it allows the exploration of the service system of the arena. It is believed that it have been built by the same architects who built the Coliseumin Rome. We know the date of construction because an epigraphic (Inscription in Stones) has been found with the following text: "Colonia Flavia Augusta/Puteolana pecunia sua. it means The Flavian augustus colony has built at its own expense. The archeological excavations started in 1839 and it was completed at the end of same century.
The Minor amphitheater
At that time there was already another amphitheater in Pozzuoli. It was built in late republican age (around the first years of I Century A.D.).
It was smaller than the Flavian dynasty one. There is no subterranean. It's 130 meters long and 95 meters wide and it could hold up to 20,000 spectators.
It was situated just 100 meters from the other amphitheater. The exact location was: walk from the Pozzuoli station subway to the main street, then the minor amphitheater was behind the wall on the other side of the main street.
When the Rome-Naples railway line was built, the tracks split the minor amphitheater in two parts.
At that time we had a fast population growth. There was a need a new bigger amphitheater and not far from the old one. For a few year both of them were operating together.
During the persecution of Christians by Emperor Diocletian in 305 AD, the martyrs Januarius (now St Januarius, patron saint of the city of Naples), Festo, Desiderius and Sossio were persecuted. The emperor decided to let them to be eaten by animals in the amphitheatre.But the martyrdom was suspended. We don't know why but a legend says that there was a miracle by St Januarius. The saint put the animals kneel down. But that didn't saved their lives. The execution was made a few days later near the Volcano Solfatara. Among the martyrs there was also Prokulus (now st. Prokulus, patron of city of Pozzuoli).