Monday, October 29, 2012

Naples: Second Day

A good map is probably the most valuable tool a tourist can have.  Why I try to make do with little half-maps made on bad printers is beyond me.  That's what got us into trouble yesterday, but today we have an official map of the entire downtown area with clearly printed street names and significant landmarks.  And, we're headed for a better part of town than we saw yesterday.

Corso Umberto I 
 was lined with beautiful apartment buildings
buzzing with traffic
 dotted with high fashion shops
and sprinkled with history.
We walked through Piazza Nicola Amore.  Thankfully those big, strong, sturdy men seem to have the building under control!

Turning onto Via Duomo,
 we found the cathedral in blazing white
adorned with detailed carvings.

Just a few more blocks and we had reached our first destination
The Naples Archaeological Museum

I love the ancient sculpture.  Stanley says I'm a sucker for large format garden art, but whatever . . . I never get tired of it.  This was ancient sculpture at its best..
Here is a small sample

And then there was this:
I don't know what it is.  The room was locked and I took this photo through the glass in the door.  Whatever it is, it is stunning.

I wasn't prepared to like anything as much as I liked the sculpture, but the mosaics were lovely.

 I could easily believe this picture of a cock fight was an oil painting.
 But it is really made of tiny tiles like these and smaller - much smaller.
This one of the ducks makes me smile.  I can almost hear them quacking.
If you watched the HBO series Rome, you recognize this mosaic from the opening credits.  
Death is on a wheel which makes you think it might be totally unpredictable.  On the left we see rich fabric and jewels.  On the right we see rags.  On top of the skull we see a balance.  You see, Death is the great leveler.  Cool story, huh?

Of course, there was the Secret Room!  That's where they put all the pornographic  mosaics, sculpture, paintings, and art objects they found in Pompeii.  The following pictures are fairly graphic so close your eyes if you think you might be offended.
You have to admire these guys.  They had ambition.  Did they really think they could ever find a woman to fit that thing?
The sculptor must have had experience with a different kind of goat than I know.  None of the goats in my acquaintance would put up with this.
Who knew Venus had a bikini?  Or a little man?
This is one fabulous penis.  Not only does it have some outstanding proportions, it has feet, a tail, and wings.  For a finishing touch, it carries three bells to warn the women that it's coming or flying in or making a landing .. . you get the idea.  Actually, the historians tell us it was placed outside the home to ward off evil spirits.  What do you think?
I'm thinking there is a story behind this piece.  I would love to know what happened just before and just after.

You can open your eyes now . . . all the gross stuff is done.

Posing with a couple of really big guys.

A walk through the garden and we were out the door.

Just in time for lunch in a snug little coffee shop in this lovely galleria.  It poured rain for almost an hour while we sipped wine and shared thoughts about all we had seen.  Amazing!

Rain stopped.  Sun came out.  Time for our walk through Old Town.  That's a subject for a whole new posting, but it will have to wait for tomorrow.  I am happy to report my opinion of Naples is improving rapidly!