When you think about the best amphitheater in the Roman world most will probably go with the Colosseum in Rome – and it is the biggest and most famous for sure. But down just a quick metro ride out of Naples is a very nice amphitheater in the little town of Pozzuoli. It might not be very impressive above the ground compared to the more famous theaters around the old Roman world – but when you go down to the basement it is possibly the best preserved of all the old theaters from Roman.
You can walk around underground taking in the strange structures where they kept the wild animals before the fights and wonder around the structures imagining what it used to be like. And the great advantaged of this place compared to the Colosseum is the almost complete lack of visitors. When we went there was just one other couple walking around the complex so it was pretty easy to take photos without getting those annoying tourist all over the place. Sure we went a bit out of season – but in Rome the season never stops like it did down here.
We leave the underground to take a look at the above part of the complex. There is some old seat up here and you can see the area where the fights took place which is actually the third largest of all the old arenas in Italy. But I just don’t find what remains above ground all that impressive. There is just something missing to give it that little extra wow factor. The old arches are just too broken down and the seats are too worn – so you have to use your imagination a lot to figure out what it used to be.
Leaving the wonders of the underground we head out to see what else is the city. There are some great views of the sea and some nearby islands which would be good to visit in case the weather was a bit better than today. Actually after we have lunch and walks out to explore the city more the explorations are quickly cut short by some heavy showers accompanied by great gust of wind which renders our umbrella pretty useless. We search for safety from the rain and find a little restaurant next to an old forum – after a little wait the rain becomes a little less heavy and we head out again. The little forum is quite nice – but it seems like it is closed for the day – so we just walk around from above and have a little look from here. I guess we weren’t really all that interested in spending too much more time down there in the rain anyway. It was a nice little city and if the weather had been better we could have spent a little more time exploring – as it is it is time to head back to the train station and the warmth and comfort of the hotel room.