Monday, February 28, 2011

Naples' Royal Palace

It's not one of the must-see destinations, but we had a free pass and were walking right by it, so we dropped in to the Royal Palace in Naples...home of the Kings of Naples over the last 200 years, until 1946 anyway. Although relatively new, by palatial standards--it's mostly 18th and 19th century--it was nevertheless strking in many ways.
Unimposing exterior of the palace

Along the exterior, one of the eight Kings of
Naples...can you name them all?

Grand entry and stairs, incredible rose marble


Throne of the King of Naples

View of harbor and Vesuvius from palace

Italy's great blessing and curse...incredibly
great monuments like this, but operations and
maintenance costs that must be staggering

Great Hall

Reading machine; you can flip back and forth among seven
different texts

Hall after hall; the queen had three different
sitting rooms

Royal chapel...the largest we have seen anywhere except
El Escorial

Of course, being Spanish, they had to have world-class
nativity scenes

And, of course, at this point we had to stop by Gambrinus',
one of Naples' premier cafes, for a pastry and expresso


I had my last Greek meal at Paestum, sausage, stuffed grape leaves, olives, feta, the last of the Ouzo. I am ready for Italian food. More than ready. For lunch in Naples, we went to the Trianon, a favored pizza place. We're loving it.

Vicki had the sausage and mushroom, I had
the anchovy


I have always believed that pizza crust is a basically non-
nutritive handle for eating pizza by the slice, as we
Americans tend to do; at Trianon, one eats it with a knife
and fork, thus leaving the crust intact; see illustration above

Pizza artist at work; seriously, as simple as it was, this was
the most interesting pizza I have yet had; the crust was thin,
yet chewy, the flavors simple but wonderful

A bit of the restaurant decor


Real wood-fired oven...

A Bit Nippoli in Napoli

We drove up from the Bay of Salerno to the Bay of Naples and stopped at Pompeii, at Camping Spartacus, right across from the entrance to the archaeological site. This is significant because a) I am pretty sure this is exactly where we tent-camped in 1979 (we thought the freight train rushing by was an eruption of Vesuvius), and b) we are showing our solidarity with workers world-wide and especially Wisconsin. Geez, Wisconsin?!

Anyhow, next day, despite very cool temperatures (Nippoli; get it?), we ventured into Naples (Napoli) for a walking tour.
A view of Vesuvius from the train station

In the fish market near the central train station

I did not know there were this many different kinds of clams

Street scene; it's a very densely populated
place, with little green space

The Garibaldi monument; patron saint of motor scooters

Old fortress

Inside the Galleria Umberto I, a beautiful place, but filled only with tiny shops


OK, it's 19th century or later, but very striking

And a cool site for wedding pix

Ditto; as I write, Will and Rachel are in Missoula, tasting cakes, visiting florists, etc.

The Teatro San Carlos, Italy's second most famous opera house

Another street scene

Paestum Museum

The Museum at Paestum is of interest, if for no other reason than for a collection actually on-site. It was surprisingly large, with a floor devoted to the Greek/Lucanian age, one to the Roman age, and one to the paleolithic and neolithic finds at the site.

Paestum Museum

Back-stabbing; among the metopes from the temples

A very helpful map of the Greek diaspora, c. 1000-500BCE;
where we have been recently

Greek era pottery

From Paestrum's necropolis: sarcophogus interiors were
decorated with frescoes, unlike pretty much any other place;
here is the most famous of them, The Diver

Over-view of The Diver (diving into the next life, as it were)

Another of the more colorful tomb frescoes

And expressive

Elsewhere, a terracotta still-life

Not sure what to make of this metope

Neolithic pottery from the site

And from the Roman, a togato (toga! toga!)


Paestum is one of Italy's greatest archaeological sites, but not for anything Roman nor Italian. In the 6th century BC the Greeks established a colony here, Poseidonia, one of scores they established after the end of the Bronze Age, all over the Mediterannean and Black Seas. What is notable at Paestum are three 6th and 5th century Doric temples, largely intact, older and better preserved than anything you will see in Greece.
Temple of Apollo, 5th century BCE

Remains of theatre, much buried beneath a 19th century road

The Ekklesiasterion--a meeting place for citizens--established
by the Lucanians, indigenous folk who took over from the

Temple of Athena, on an artificial mound, to be above the


More of the civic area, looking north to the mountains

Main street

Us at the Temple of Apollo

Temple of Apollo

Temple of Hera...really old...550BC

A forest of ancient Doric columns