In Napoli, Where Love is King…

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I admit I was a little nervous going into Naples.  This is because everyone likes to scare you off the place by telling you stories of how the guys harass women even more there, how you need to watch your bag because guys on Vespas will steal them, and a myraid of other terrors that leave you thinking this city is one of the worst out there.  But what do you find upon arriving?  A nicely bustling metropolis where you get around without trouble and all the women have purses like it’s no big deal (albeit the kind you strap around your shoulder).  The whole thing reminded me of New York City honestly, and being a home-grown American that’s probably why I didn’t blink and the Europeans think Naples is some unsafe, scary place.  Conclude what you will.

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A typical narrow Neapolitan street, incidentally the one my hostel was on. (By the way, I love that someone from Naples is called Neapolitan- it makes them all sound like delicious confectionery that comes in three flavors.)  I had two goals in Naples, to find some great authentic pizza and see the Archaeological Museum, and since the first was managed by just walking into the street I will focus on the second-

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The great ballroom in the Archaeological Museum, built in the past by one of Naples’ kings.  I liked it because it was originally supposed to be an astronomical observatory (how I haven’t figured out) so there’s still a zodiac on the floor, and the roof has the fresco of angels holding a message telling you to think of all the poor paintings not on display.  Think indeed, because the collection they have is amazing-

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The Museum is essentially where they placed all the beautiful finds from all over Italy dating to the Roman times, most famously stuff unearthed at Pompeii and Herculaneum.  Imagine, just hall after never-ending hall of the stuff!  Granted, the sculpture hall inevitably leads to some of this-

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Yes, that’s right, chilling with Marc Anthony.   It’s disturbing how many pictures I have like this.  Moving on…

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They have a wonderful display set up for all the gear used in gladiatorial combat.   Neat stuff.

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This picture I include here because it was immediately recognizable to me.   After all, it was on the cover of my Latin book in high school!  I also realized now how whenever I studied classics the books would always have the tagline after the famous picture “On Display at the Archaeological Museum in Naples” and, you know, I was finally seeing all that stuff.  Too cool.

image5011My favorites, though, were undoubtedly the mosaics.  Pompeii and Herculaneum were absolutely filled with mosaic after beautiful mosaic, some on the walls, most on the floor, like the giant above.  Because you can’t see the details, here is a close-up of another one-

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Doesn’t it look like the Romans just figured out pointilism a few thousand years before the Impressionists?  Because that’s what never left my mind.

But the Museum wasn’t done so easy.  No, it was time to enter the entertaining place known as the Secret Room…

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