Arriving over the Lattari mountains from Ravello onto the plains of Napoli is an awe inspiring experience. Not just for the winding roads and hairpin bends but for the sheer magnificence of mount Vesuvius as it dominates the plain below. And when in the City of Napoli it continues that dominate in all its glory as seem from our view from the first floor of the Hotel Miramare down by the harbour.
The city is a stark contrast of Regal splendour and gritty grunge where at every turn there is a juxtoposition of both elements. A city steeped in a history of turmoil and fear and yet it manages to survive and now thrive as it works through where it stands in an Italy that is trying to reinvent itself despite itself.
Sheer opulence abounds in the old Palazzo Reale of the Bourbons in the main square Piazza del Piebiscito which adjoins the Galleria Umberto a replica of the Galleria in Milan
Exploring Napoli by foot is the only way to go with sights abounding everywhere you look and in John exploration the Santa Chiara Monumentale Cloisters were a highlight with its massive ceramic tiled courtyard and stunning frescoed halls and chambers.
The streets leading up to the Gesu Nuovo church were of particular interest due to the fountains and graffiti working hand in hand as a statement of Napoli today
A city of constant contrasts Napoli can surprise with graffiti artworks, run down wasted buildings and a eucalyptus tree on a street corner next to a building showing its cared for pride. The imposing structure of Castel Nuovo on the foreshore is a sign of a city that was not to be trifled with and the cannon ball holes in gates and the sheer audacity of its strength sent a clear message and yet in times of peace a new marbled entry portico demonstrated a totally different message.
Our last day in Napoli was spent at the fabulous National Archaeological Museum an building that houses some very unique history as it is mostly from Pompeii and Herculaneum. Imposing statues that defy belief being over 2,000 years old, fine glass ware that is fully intact, statues in bronze that are so minutely details and frescos and mosaics as bright as they day they were created have you in awe the whole time.
The desire to live a life of luxury with all its pleasures is clearly seen in every corner of the museum and the old Romans were not afraid to let it be known that they certainly enjoyed the pleasures of the flesh.
Every image evokes a scene from day to day life and all its incarnations
The Architectural frescos were of great interest on how they dealt with perspective and the abundant use of colour especially red.
A great few days to finish off a fabulous three weeks in Campania