Capua Soundscape

This work is part of a broader project regarding the soundscapes of different forms of anthropized areas of Italy, as an expression of socio-cultural changes, in the present age of globalization.

In this sense, the soundscape study is intended as a viewpoint for observation and analysis of the dominant model of socio-economical development, as expressed in the everyday life.

At the same time, the soundscape is a research laboratory where exploring new forms of human relationships and social development, with the purpose of promoting the wellbeing of individuals and the ecological sustainability of social and economic growth.

This work focuses on the border point between the city and the countryside, in order to examine the conflicts between rural and urban cultures, typical of Italian social and economic transformations of the past 50 years.

Capua is an old Italian town, situated on the riverbanks of Volturno, which had a crucial role in the history of southern Italy from its foundation in the IX century A.C. until the unification of Italy, throughout various dynasties that dominated the south of Italy.

At present, the situation has changed and the town is living a cultural decadence, within a broader socio-cultural context of south italy strongly influenced by the cultural ties among organized crime, politics, economics and social imagery.

The sounds have been recorded in August 2005, in a limited area of the city quarter “Porta Roma”, on the border between the countryside, abandoned by young generations, and the urban part, progressing frenetically, with the construction of new buildings.

The principal aim of this project is to document and preserve some aspects of the soundscape for their ecological character and cultural value.

The main characteristic of this soundscape regards a thick interlacement of cicadas chirp, of stray dogs and watch dogs barking, that creates a background structure against which sound figures of domestic interiors and outdoor environment clearly stand out, such as cars and motorcycles and voices in distance. This traces a possible course towards the silence and stillness, as a space for suspension of frenetic proceeding of everyday life for reflection and psychophysical recovery.

At the same time, within this “sound painting” there is the entire contradiction generated from the incapacity to conceive an alternative development model of the city/country relationship.  The only alternative to the folk culture seems to be the model based on the myth of progress, such as technology and consumption, well embodied by hectic pace of vehicles in the background – cars and scooters running with no direction – that accompany the silence and the stillness of the rural area.

Sequence of sound objects

capua sounds

Classification of the recorded sounds according to the referential aspects*

capua classif sounds

Some geographic and historical data on the city of Capua [1]


Latitude: 41° 6′ 0′′ N – 41°06′N
Longitude: 14° 13′ 0′′ E – 14°12′E
Altitude 25 m. a.s.l.
Surface: 48 km2
Inhabitants: 19,000
[1] Adapted from wikipedia under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0 (
Capua is a town located in the province of Caserta, in Campania, at 25 km north of Naples, on the riverbanks of Volturno and crossed by the ancient road via Appia. The inhabited area is divided in three main quarters: the historical centre, surrounded by walls; “Porta Roma”, west from the historical centre, on the other side of the river and along the Appia road; “Porta Napoli”, at the south, outside of city walls.
The town was founded in the 856 by the count Landone I, member of a Longobard dynasty, after the old roman settlement of Capua had been destroyed by the Saracens. A century after, the city imposed itself as the capital of the Principality of Capua, which ruled over the main areas of southern Italy. Many realms succeeded throughout its history: Norman, Swabian, Angioin, Aragon, Bourbon dynasties ruled the city, each leaving their own mark on the town and adding to its cultural flavour.
Under the Swabian King Fredrick II, the town prospered greatly, gaining the title of “Noble city of the Kindom”. A series of edicts that provided the legal framework for the centralized administration of the State and put an end to feudal sovereignty were issued in Capua. Another true protagonist of the cultural life of that period was Pier delle Vigne, one of the most noble figures of Italian history: a judge, a philosopher, an artist, a diplomat, a courtier and a key figure of the University of Naples, founded by the King Fredrick II in 1224. He was a councillor, a close friend and a spokesman of the Emperor and died suicide after being unjustly accused of treason and imprisoned. One of the most representative monuments of the city, The Arch of Triumph, often referred to as Federico’s Towers, is a trace of the Swabian reign in the town.
During the Angioin rule, another key figure of Italian history, St. Tommaso d’Aquino, sojourned in Capua, after returning from Sorbona and before taking the cathedra of theology in the University of Naples.
Over the centuries, also due to its strategic role, the town increased significantly its military power gaining even more importance with the construction of the Castle of Carlo V, under the Spanish rule.
After the Spanish dominion, the city succumbed to different assaults. In 1707 it was conquered and sacked by the Austrian troops.  In 1734 it was the turn of Carlo III of Bourbons and afterwards, in 1799, of French forces. In 1806, the city was incorporated in the Neapolitan Kingdom of Giuseppe Bonaparte, but after the fall of Napoleon, in 1815,  the city returned under bourbons’ influence, namely under the rule of King Ferdinando IV.
At last, in 1860, owing to the military expedition of Garibaldi’s troops, Capua enters to make part of unified Italian state.
In 1943, heavy bombings of allied troops destroyed numerous buildings and structures, among which the Roman Bridge on the Appia road.
Nowadays, the city is proud to host the Museum of Campania, the Faculty of Economy of the second University of Naples and Italian Aerospace Research Centre (CIRA).

Let’s listen to the soundscape composition “Capua”


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