On Friday, before I came home, I spent a few hours in Naples. I’ve never been to Naples before, and as I had to get from Sorrento, where I’d been staying back to Rome for my flight home via Naples, it seemed silly not to see Naples for a few hours.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I had this image in my head of Naples being dirty, and chaotic and crime-ridden, and not very nice. But, I actually liked Naples, or at least the tiny bit I saw. I went for a walk to the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, which is where all the artefacts from Pompeii and Herculaneum are housed. I suspect I went the long way round – the joys of not having google maps or an actual paper map! – but I’m glad I did as this gave me the chance to see more of Naples. And I liked what I saw. It was as I expected, dirty and chaotic, but I think it is full of faded glamour.
The streets I walked along were lined with tall building, about 5 or 6 stories high, with shops on the ground floor and what looked like apartments on the upper floors, complete with balconies. The side streets were also lined with apartment buildings, complete with laundry hanging from the balconies. It all looks like it needs a good clean, but the buildings are attractive. Some of the streets are also cobbled, which always adds a certain charm. I also saw a few abandoned buildings, one a church which looked lovely, if a little past its best and unloved.
Another building I saw which looks abandoned was what looked like a small shopping arcade/centre. The shops inside are all closed, and the building is used as a thoroughfare for pedestrians, but it looks like a lovely building, and looks like it should be home to cute little boutiques or expensive designer shops.
The Archaeological Museum of Naples was interesting, and worth the long walk to get there. The top floor seems dedicated to Pompeii and Herculaneum, and is full of artefacts and mosaics and frescos which were taken from the sites during the excavations. It’s a shame this happened though, as I think they would look better where they had been found, and would add interest to visits to both sites. But, some of them are absolutely stunning. The detail particularly on the mosaics is unbelievable – some of the pieces used to make them are tiny, just 2 or 3 mm in diameter. The artefacts include busts and statues, and pots, some of which are so pretty and colourful. It definitely adds interest to my visits to Pompeii and Herculaneum ( see blog post Pompeii), and I’m glad I went.
That was pretty much all I saw of Naples, as I was booked on a train to Rome at 4.30, and the walk to the museum was actually quite tiring.