• Day28

    Cinque Fotografie-Napoli Day 3

    May 11 in Italy ⋅ 🌙 17 °C

    It was a beautiful day in Napoli today. We can feel a sense of emerging summer in the air after weeks of feeling like the wet Portland Spring weather was stalking us.

    We decided to build some museum time in today to enhance our Pompeii/Herculaneum visit yesterday.

    At the recommendation of our host, we first arrived early at the Museo Capella SanSevero which is a famed chapel museum known for many sculptures and paintings with a centerpiece of a detailed sculpture portraying a shrouded Christ (Cristo Velato) after the crucifixion. The elaborate detail of this work was really moving and beyond the shrouded Chrisr figure, the attention to detail like the crown of thorns and pliers for removing the spikes had a devastating impact while witnessing this piece.
    The Chapel further contains works of late Baroque art by some of the leading Italian artists of the 18th century. I wish I could have taken a photo, but they weren't allowed. You can find the images online.

    What felt like a bit of a non-sequitur,in an adjoining room, two human skeletons were on display with detailed evidence of anatomical parts, most notably the circulatory system.

    It was long thought that these displays were the first efforts at platination, much like the traveling exhibits that show up in museums around the world. More recent analysis of the arteries and veins the "blood vessels" indicate they are constructed of beeswax, wire and silk.

    After our visit to the Chapel Museum, we took a cappuccino break and walked to the Museo Archaelogico a Napoli. This museum has many interesting finds from both Pompeii and Herculaneum. Of particular note was a exhibit referred to as the Gabinetto Secreto (Secret Cabinet) where erotic Roman Art from the 1st century A.D. were found in Pompeii and Herculaneum. It is thought that the phallus was considered to be a symbol of abundance and protection.

    In one great hall, there is a Meridian Line with all of the zodiac signs represented. The interesting arrangement is that a small pinhole in the ceiling allows light to hit every day at noon and the sunbeam corresponds with the time of year. It is really a quite brilliant sundial.

    There were many other artifacts, paintings, sculptures and mosaics throughout the museum. We had been encouraged by yesterday's guide to view the Egyptian exhibit. It was fascinating to observe artifacts that were hundred of years older than those excavated from Pompeii as well as mummified bodies that were remarkably preserved.

    After the museum visit, we grabbed pizza for lunch in a lively neighborhood filled with area markets and other vendors. We then headed back to our B&B to relax before our next neighborhood adventure: haircuts.

    I had made online appointments at a local barbershop where our host goes. When we walked in to the shop at the appointed time, we were greeted with amused looks by several young barbers dressed in black, many with full-sleeve body art. My first thought was, this is going to be a mistake, but I was pleasantly mistaken. We were given great care, offered espressos and we both worked diligently to meet our requests for beard trims and haircuts.

    The young man who appeared to be the owner spoke English pretty well, and he became a bit like the orchestra director with all the comments of the experience. One of the men who worked on my hair, showed me his tattoo and told me it was his lifelong dream to go to NYC and Las Vegas. I told him that mine was to go to Pompeii, and that I hoped that his dream would come true soon.

    Several people waited on us and I kept thinking of the scene in the Emerald City when "Dorothy and Company" were getting groomed to meet the Wizard.

    After our haircuts, we walked over to an area gay bar for a drink. I noticed that the bartender was speaking English to a couple who arrived a bit after we did. I asked them where they were from and learned that they were John and Robert from San Diego. John had previously been a middle school teacher and NJEA member in New Jersey and Robert earned an ESL Masters degree at Gonzaga University. We really enjoyed the conversation and we learned that they will be in Tuscany as well. We've decided to stay in touch.

    We wrapped the night with one last meal of Napoli's famous pizza. It didn't disappoint, and we are grateful for another eventful day

    When we first planned our stay, we viewed Napoli as a necessary evil to visit Pompeii. Despite its bad press from some friends and acquaintances, we have found our experience here to be deeply endearing. Although I know considerably less Italian than Spanish, I have learned that taking the time to learn simple phrases like Good morning/afternoon/evening, Thank you, Please, very good, How are you?,good-bye, perfect, and pleasure to meet you carry the day. Grazie, Napoli! Buona Notte.
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