Published: January 21st 2013January 21st 2013
I'm going to claim jet lag or maybe just let it go as old age but I gave you an incorrect website for my sweet hotel here in Naples. The correct address is: www.lestanzedelvicere.it Thanks Jan for pointing it out.
Next I want to give a 'shout out' to Francesco and Suzy at Pub il Grotto
on Via Santa Teresa degli Scalzi, 88, Napoli. I pretty much fell into this place today after walking for several hours. It was only 1p.m. so the place was empty (locals start their lunch around 2 or 2:30) but he welcomed me anyway. We talked a combination of English, Spanish, and Italian. When all that failed he brought out the cook, Suzy. We were all trying to translate the word 'burro' in a chicken dish. We established it wasn't donkey. Suzy used the word 'latte' so I imitated milking a cow. Yes, she nodded. It was the best meal I've had since coming to Italy with fantastic bread, tortellini and broccoli, water, a salad, and chicken cooked in butter
(burro) and lemon....all for 8 Euros. I know most people who travel in tours or come on a cruise ship would never find this place- it is right up the street from the Archaeological Museum- but it is worth going out of your way. Nothing fancy but wonderful folks and not a tourist in sight.
The Duomo or main cathedral of Naples was built in 1294 but rebuilt after an earthquake in 1456 and not finished until 1905. The main point of interest is the chapel dedicated to St. Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples. As in my last trip to Italy in 2004 (Florence, Venice, Padua, Sienna) I saw a lot of relics and left over body parts. Here, in his own side chapel, in an ornate silver-gilt bust is the entire head of the saint. Wait, wait there's more! Inside the gilt bust are three vials of his congealed blood, which, it is noted, amid much religious pomp and ceremony, miraculously liquefies three times a year (on the first Sunday of May, Sept. 19th, and Dec. 16). According to tradition, if the blood fails to liquefy, the city will have bad luck. Gennaro, incidentally, is the patron saint of blood banks. Who knew? I can't wait for your comments on this story!!!!
There was so much to see at the Archaeological Museum that I barely scratched the surface. I pretty much had the place to myself- remember January, cold and rainy = no tourists. Supposedly, they have over 100,000 objects but only 10,000 on display at any one time. Whew! Apparently a lot of Pompei and Herculeum were ransacked before anyone thought of saving articles. But finally they did so a lot of things from those two sites are on display here. No one denies that the museum is poorly labeled with most signs only in Italian but, really, some things speak for themselves.
The items that fascinated me the most were the kitchen implements. Trust me folks, things haven't changed much in almost 2,000 years. The frying pans, cooking pans, spoons, scoops, and even a colander look exactly the same as we use today. Some of the glass ware and ceramics could have been on display at any local crafts fair. The delicacy, etchings, and designs were true works of art. My favorite piece is called 'the blue vase'. It was found in a tomb in Pompei and was made in a technique called 'glass-cameo': a layer of opaque white paste was placed over colored glass and then engraved with decorative motifs. Think Wedgewood.
I'm not going to describe all the item (I can hear your sigh of relief!) but let me mention a few: a bronze bust of Seneca from the 1st century BC, mosaics showing the Battle of Alexander (333 BC) that were taken from a house in Pompei, all the Farnese marble collection most from the 3rd century AD including Hercules (huge!) and the Farnese Bull (c. 200 BC) that stands 14 feet high and has 3 or 4 figures plus the bull. It was all carved from one piece of marble. Mighty impressive.
I chose my B &B because it is within walking distance of the museum and the Duomo. An added bonus is that it is deep into neighborhoods and I truly have gotten a feel for the 'real' Naples which means lots of, nois, tras, and dog doo. Unfortunately, I have not seen the Bay of Naples yet but I will when I get to Sorrento in a week or so and maybe by then it will have stopped raining. I can only hope.
Thank you to all of you who have left comments. I love to hear from you .