Day 13- Napoli

Castel dell’Ovo
This morning, I woke up really early and could not get back to sleep. I got all ready (packed and everything) and was down in the lobby waiting for Austin by 7:00am. We slept in M/F dorms last night, so I didn’t know when Austin would be up and around. He came down about 7:15 and we had breakfast, but he was not at all ready for the day. I went up to his room (because there was nobody else staying there) and used the internet while he got ready for the day. We took off about 8:30am, ate strawberries by the sea, and walked along the sea to our first stop- Castel dell’ovo. This castle was named this because according to legend, Virgil buried an egg in a little casket underneath where the castle stands and said that when the egg broke, Napoli and the castle would fall. There was a wine tasting event going on, and so we could not go to many of the areas of the castle, but it was still fun to climb up on top and look over the edge where the sea meets it. After this castle, we walked along the sea to the port, and to the Palazzo Reale and the church San Francesco di Paola across from it. In the church square was the remnants of a huge stage. Apparently the game was shown on a big screen in the square, because there was a ton of trash, remnants of fireworks, and this stage. We decided not to go inside the Palazzo, but instead went across the street to the church. The outside looked kind of like St. Peter’s square. The inside was circular and looked very much like the Pantheon.

 After this we went to the Castel Nuovo, or newer castle. There was a wedding about to take place, and a really nice Porsche with flowers on it waiting for the couple. This castle was also the civic museum, and had some interesting works by Neopolitan artists over the years. There were the original bronze doors of the castle, which were taken as treasure by the French when they invaded. At sea, the French were attacked by the Genovese, and the Genovese won. In the process, several cannon ball holes were made in the doors, and a cannon ball actually got embedded in the door! The Genovese gave Napoli back their doors. Cool story! Our favorite piece was one that we are very surprised is still around- it is a painting of Jesus Christ and the Eternal Father. Here it is:

The Father and the Son
 We were surprised because the Catholic church believes in the trinity and not in the Father and Son as two separate beings. There were also some excavations under a glass floor that we could look at. There were skeletons in there because it used to be a crypt! The biggest disappointment for us was not being able to go up in the tower; it was closed for a staff meeting while we were there L.
By this time we were fairly starving, so we headed up to the city center to a pizzeria that was highly recommended by the guidebook. We could tell we got there because there was a huge crowd of people outside. It was a 20 minute wait to get a table, but Austin is so smart and asked for takeout. We ordered, and the pizzas were in our hands in 10 minutes! Napoli is famous for its pizzas. Pizza was invented here, and our favorite Italian pizzerias in America get their ovens from Napoli. This pizza did not disappoint. I got one with tomato sauce, mozzarella, salami, ricotta, black pepper, and basil. It was REALLY good. It was a little creamy and a little sweet because of the ricotta. Austin said his pizza was good too. The best part- we got 2 huge pizzas for 13 euros. Hooray for the cheap south!
After lunch, it was time to visit churches. The main church of note was Capella Sansevero. This was a small chapel that a family had built for themselves to worship in. Inside, there were sculptures of several princes in the family, and several other sculptures. Raimondo di Sangro, who built it was a freemason and had built into the chapel lots of symbolism from his beliefs. The floor was originally in a labyrinth pattern, but was badly damaged and replaced in the 1800s. The main events at this chapel were the veiled Christ and the preserved anatomical models. The veiled Christ is a sculpture that is absolutely incredibly. It is made out of marble, but it sculpted in a way that the veil looks like you could just take it off, and it even shows a protruding vein from his forehead. There were even intricate details of the lace on the veil covering him as well as the cushions they laid him on. Overall it was an amazing work of art. Raimondo, the man who had the chapel built, was a great inventor and alchemist. He managed to figure out how to preserve just the circulatory system of two of his servants and they were in the basement of the chapel. The detail and the quality of even the tiniest vessels was a little creepy. To this day, they have no idea how he pulled this off, but there is rumor/legend that he began the embalming process prior to his servant’s deaths. Creepy! Afterwards, we visited the Duomo. This was another big church, and I enjoyed the gigantic altar piece. Austin liked the crypt (it had lots of sculptures and a detailed ceiling) and I also liked that they had bathrooms!

The Veiled Christ- from the internet because they did not allow pictures

We finished up Napoli by walking through a part of town that was supposed to be the market, but it seems things were winding down there. We made our way to the station and are on the train to Firenze (Florence) RIGHT NOW! It is a fast train and goes up to 200 something kilometers/hour. It is 3 hours to get to Firenze, where normally it would take much longer. Hooray for very fast trains!

Overall, Napoli was not as dangerous or as bad as I thought it would be. They seem to have decided to borrow good ideas from other major cities in Italy (an indoor mall idea similar to Milan, the Pantheon from Rome, etc), and this city has had a lot of unrest just because of its history as a major port that different nations want to control… The End


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