The Amphitheatre Flavio is the third biggest of the Roman world, after those of Rome and Capua. Such grandeur testifies to the extraordinary technical skills achieved by the ancients. It was located at a crossroads which linked Naples, Capua and Cuma. Capable of holding up to 40.000 spectators, it’s three levels were furnished with four main entrances and twelve secondary entrances. As well as being an entertainment provision, the amphitheatre was also a centre of urban life. Under the external arches of the structure there existed a range of localities dedicated to cults, professional and other groups, all indicated by inscriptions on the stone. It is particularly rewarding to visit the subterranean complex which gives a good idea of the sort of services and general organisation that must have been required for the functioning of the amphitheatre. It was also in this arena that some of the first Christian martyrs died. According to tradition, in 305 A.D. this was the first place where Saint Gennaro and his companions were tortured. In memory of the Saint a church was built in 1689. As result of the excavations of the Amphitheatre the church was dismantelled and subsequentely replaced by a small chapel which can still be visited. Towards the end of the ancient period the structure was abandoned and partly buried under earth and ash following the eruption of Solfatara. In the medieval period, stripped of its decorative sculptures and scavenged for blocks of stone, it was the site of farms and vineyards.
The Temple of Serapis is a unique testimony to the dockland and commercial district of “Puteoli”. So called for the statue of the god Serapis (which today is housed in the Archaeological Museum of Naples), the temple is one of the best examples of “macellum” – a food market – built between the end of the first and the beginning of the second century A.D. and restored under the
Emperor Severi in the third century. The shops and boutiques were situated in lines in a courtyard which supported a large entrance gate and marble decorations. In the final line there was a hall with aspses for the Imperial Cult and the protectors of the market, among whom was the divinity Serapis. Belonging to the “pronaos” of this “sacellum” are three marble columns which, with small pock marks made by molluscs which burrow into the stone, are superb examples of the geological phenomenon pf bradyseism. The sumptuous edifice of the market is ornately decorated with beautiful marble and the “tholos” (a large circular building) at the centre of the courtyard which has sixteen columns made of African marble with striations in the lower parts made by marine animals. During eighteenth century excavations, a series of valuable sculptures including Dionysus with Faun were found. These are now housed at the Archaeological Museum of Naples.