Day 65-66 – Naples, Pompei

Today I visit Capodimonte, high on a hill above the historic center of Naples. I take the Metro to the Museo stop, the Archaeological Museum, where I pass these images lining the Metro passageways. I aim to get back to this museum another day. After leaving the Metro, I take a bus high up into the hills to reach the site of the Capodimonte museum.

This grand palace was once a Bourbon hunting lodge and the vast forest a hunting grounds for the Royals. King Charles wanted it to also include a museum from its very start in 1738.

The building is undergoing a lot of work, as are the paintings. The museum contains masterpieces, including works by Caravaggio, Titian, Raphael, and Botticelli. A plaque explains that the humidity causes wood to expand and the paint to come off the wood surface. Fine Japanese paper is laid over these areas to prevent further damage until the painting can be restored.

Another large ballroom enjoyed by various Royals and family. A series of rooms in construction show the palace as it might have looked at the time.

I’m attracted to this large painting showing Francis I and his family, painted in 1820. Why does it makes me smile?

The gardens are lovely. Within the Park there are sixteen more historic buildings including residences, lodges, churches. I would have explored them had it not been so terribly hot under the sun.

The next day I take the trek to Pompeii. Again another hour in advance to find the right station and the right train. In this case, these nice two ladies in white shirts and red ties keep all the passengers for the train to Pompeii waiting together, then walk us to this area by the track, where we wait for over 45 minutes in an oven-like area for the train that finally comes after they make numerous frantic phone calls to…? headquarters? (doubt there is one.). Sweat runs down my face, but I have bought a water bottle that held to my neck and face helps keep me standing upright, as all the benches are full.

Ah, finally Pompeii. The enormous lemons at the cafe across from the entry point to the ruins cause me to order a fresh lemon juice, with a bit of sugar added.

This cafe does a booming business, the kids following in the footsteps of the patriarch.

We enter Pompeii by the larger gate.

Our guide take us into the men’s baths and shows us how the water under the floor and in the walls was heated to form steam.

Decoration on some walls of the baths remain.

We walk the streets where we find fountains every so often on a street corner. The Romans brought water to Pompeii with the aqueduct Aqua Augusta, one of the largest and most costly of the Roman water systems.

Some houses in Roman times had images of large penises at their entrance, to signify fortune and abundance.

The snake was also an image of good fortune.

The frescoes in this dining room are well preserved.

Archaeologists continue to discover the way of life in Pompeii before the eruption of Vesuvius. Today it is HOT, and this worker has no hat, no umbrella, no cover.

This restorer, on the other hand, has the benefit of working in the shade under a hardhat and a roof.

This view into one of the Roman homes gives a sense of what it may have been like to live a wealthy life in Pompeii.

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I’m glad to have made the trek to see the ruins. Sketchy memories of my first visit are of a few walls, unlabeled, and lots of rubble. Years later, much more has been, and continues to be, discovered and preserved.

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