Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Saturday in Naples

On Saturday Alex and I took a train down to Naples for the day. The train ride was quite nice, none of our fellow passengers smelled, and we arrived on time. Getting up that early in the morning and traveling on the train in crisp, chilly weather reminded me of the first time we were in Italy. Anyways...

We visited the Duomo of Cathedral in Naples. It was finished in the 14th century and built over the remains of two earlier Christian basilicas. Further excavations led to the discovery of even earlier Roman and Greek artifacts under the church. Today you can descend into the ruins and view them. Here's a picture of the Gothic facade.

Here we have a 6th century mosaic located in a side chapel.

This is one of the ceramic pipes in the excavations under the Church. This pipe dates back to at least the 40's AD when lead was discovered in Britain.

Here's an ancient arch, constructed of Volcanic rock and cement.

After lead was discovered in Britain pipes were made out of lead. Here is one example of lead plumbing.

An ancient Roman mosaic on the floor. I found it interesting because it contains the same braid design I recently completed.

An arch that has fallen down. It was reassembled on the ground. You'll notice there's no mortar. The stones held eachother up, all locked in place by the keystone. Pretty amazing....

Back in the church we came across this really unusual tabernacle. Built out of a solid block of marble mounted in the wall. Even the door is marble.

Alex really liked this effigy of a knight. His poinard looks pretty sharp. We couldn't figure out who he was unfortunately.

This altar was in a chapel that was behind a grille so I couldn't get a close up shot of this beautiful painted marble tomb.

A lovely silver bust of St. Anthony of Padua. This was actually in another church.

Yet another church, very simple and austere.

Naples' obelisks were a bit more ornate than Rome's. This is an example in Piazza Santo Domenico.

The lovely interior of another church, the name of which I can't remember.

One of the reliquary chapels.

We stopped in a bar to get a coffee and dad some coffee beans. Alex wanted to try a coffee made the old fashioned way using a hand lever as opposed to electricity.

Although it has improved a great deal since I was last there three years ago, Naples is still a chaotic, gurgling madman. It is nothing strange to see cars triple parked. If it's possible to imagine, Naples makes Rome look like a nice quiet little country town. In any case, it was nice getting another flavor of city life.

The fountain of Triton in Naples.

On the edge of the Bay of Naples we passed the Castel' Nuovo. Built in 1282 it served as the fortress of the Kings of Naples.

An arch we passed on the street leading into a building we were unable to go into. I thought it was aesthetically pleasing, hence the picture.

We stopped for lunch near the sea and ate the famous Neapolitan pizza. I think I actually prefer it to Roman pizza. Rome's pizzas are crispy thin, almost the thickness of a thick tortilla. Naples are a bit more chewier and thicker.

Looking out across the bay of Naples to Mt. Vesuvius in the distance.

Neapolitans aren't that concerned with wearing their helmets either, and think nothing of putting 3 people on a scooter.

We also stopped at Castel' dell Ovo. Meaning "Castle of the egg" it takes its name from the legend that Virgil put a magical egg in the foundations to support them. The castle dates from the 15th century, built on the ruins of a Roman fortification. It is located on a small island connected by a causeway to the mainland.

With free admission, we had to stop in and look around. Here we are on the walkway at the top, looking down to the water below. It reminded me of Chateau d'If where the Count of Monte Cristo was imprisoned.

Some of the old cannons.

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