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NAPLES and POMPEII
Naples is one of the most interesting cities in Italy. It was once considered the most beautiful city in the world - the saying was "see Naples and then die" - there would be nothing more to live for after that. Today it has that history and a "real city" vibe, a city less tourist oriented. But it still has a lot for tourists to see and do. The neighborhoods are lively and fascinating. Nearby Pompeii provides a wonderful day excursion and also provides a huge number of fascinating artifacts, statutes, paintings, mosaics and other items on display in Naple's archaeological museum. And there is much more.
Here are some squares that typify the confluence of ancient, middle age, Renaissance and more modern architecture in Naples. In the lower two pictures you see the unusual pyramidal exterior of the Gesu Nuovo church and a glimpse of its opulent interior.
The view from the Grand Hotel Vesuvio at night and by day is gorgeous. The hotel is situated near the Spanish Quarter and the Old City.
Naples is a lively city. Here is a Spanish Quarter street crammed with life. And you may encounter a talented singer signs belting out full-throated Italian opera songs from his balcony.
In the Old City you find example of recycling over the ages such as this tower using pieces of old ruins including columns, capitals, and other marble items. You also encounteran alley lined with shops selling, of all things, elaborate nativity scenes.
Walking around Naples, you just have to stop for the greatest pizzas on earth. Here at Atillio's you can have, for example, a star-shaped pizza with buffalo mozzarella, porcini mushrooms, peppers and zucchini; the crust stuffed with ricotta. Unbelievably good. There is no need to fight the crowd at the famous Sorbillo's to get a pizza miracle.
Visiting the archaeological museum is a must. Filled with amazing recoveries from Pompeii. Here are some amazingly well preserved mosaics. The museum has thousands of other incredible artifacts including statues, household articles and even paintings that have been remarkably preserved for two thousand years.,
Pompeii is the most expansive and well-preserved Roman ruins in the world. Mile-long avenues lined with shops, homes, and businesses. Many structures with two or more floors. With Vesuvius still brooding in the background.
On the left, a bakery, with still functional grinding stones and wood burning oven, perfect for pizzas (pre tomato sauce). Pompeii also had dozens of “fast food” places where you could grab one of a selection of soups on the go. Here is one.
Of course you had your Roman baths, complete with “lockers” for your clothes.
Fountains all over town. Including one still working.
Of course the tragedy and fascination of Pompeii is how life was snuffed out in an instant with the residents and their activities, artwork, and belongings frozen in time under the ashes. Disturbing reconstructions of victims have been made by pouring plaster into the voids in the lava left by their cremated bodies.
With a site this large - the size of a city - there is so much more to see and experience. And Pompeii has not been fully excavated, so more incredible finds come to light every year. This is a destination that everyone should make sure to visit at least once.
That’s our report on our visit to Naples and Pompeii. You may also like to see our Amalfi Coast report and our Capri report. Also take a look at the Northern Italy report - covering Venice, Cinque Terre, Florence and Bellagio/Lake Como. Finally, check out our Sicily and Panarea reports.