Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The drive to Naples from Rome was uneventful other than the excitement of getting our rental car without trouble and making our way out of Rome. Our GPS is a blessing...such a surprise to hear the same voice that has accompanied us on our travels throughout North America. It is like finding an old friend.
We arrived in Naples during a huge family celebration that caused closure of many streets leading down to the waterfront and included roads to our B&B. We finally found it, in a tiny alley. Pierre double parked and I ran down the alley, looking for the address. Luckily a man was on the second floor balcony looking out for us and we were able to then squeeze into the alley, dump our bags and be escorted through a courtyard, up stairs to a door behind which we found a very cute little B&B with 6 rooms. Pierre than had to go and park the car, driving though a stone archway into a narrow parking lot where we put the car to rest for three days, not daring to venture out with it for fear of damage on the narrow winding streets of Naples. The luxury cars in the lot are hoisted up onto lifts to keep them safe from theft and vandalism. 
So it has been public transportation, using bus, metro and train to get around Naples. Getting tickets is not complicated, as long as you can find a ticket dispenser that works or a tabbachi (news stand) where they sell tickets. Otherwise you get on the bus and hope the inspector does not come aboard to check. Yesterday we waited for the bus after visiting the art museum and the dispenser did not work. Two young African priests told us to get on the bus because there was no place to buy tickets and anyway the inspector never passed at that hour. So far we have not met an inspector, and as we discovered in Rome, we were paying for tickets but no one else was! Today we had bought tickets for the metro earlier, but there were no tickets readers before getting on the trains. Go figure! 
We have also walked for miles exploring the city. Whenever a local tells you it is a ten minute walk, we have learned that means at least thirty! Naples is on the coast and has a wonderful coastal view of the bay and mountains opposite, including Mount Vesuvius. The town is on a hill and funiculars connect one level to the other.  We have visited museums that are packed with the art treasures collected over several centuries by wealthy merchants, kings and popes. The archeological museum contains the greatest collection of ancient art and artifacts in the world, including many from the excavations of Pompei. We are feeling very cultured.
The art gallery on top of the hill (Capadimonte) looks like Downton Abbey.   
                                                     Museo Nazionale di Capodimenti
It was built to house the art collection of the Farnese family. Walking through the huge halls and rooms made us wonder how a family could live there and actually manage to stay in touch. There are
hundreds of paintings by the great Italian masters as well as some from Flemish artists that were obtained through strategic marriages between Italian and other royalties.
We are struck by the tremendous wealth of the families of Renaissance Italy, and the power they wielded. It also makes us realize how little really know about these artists and worlds they worked in.

No comments:

Post a Comment