I had turned the air-conditioning off over the night and so ben woke up at 5:30 because it was too hot and was looking out at the sun rising from our amazing balcony that looked over Naples and onto Vesuvius. I went out to have a look at the sunrise over Vesuvius too.
Our first day in Napoli, we decided since we didn’t have much time in Naples we would check out a lot of the churches and other local things, such as walking through streets, which I love to do and see the city from a more insider way. First we just walked to the south west, walking between a lot of small paved streets that were shaded due to the sheer walls of the houses on either side. All the houses are brightly coloured and have many balconies from which clothes are hung, a repetitive scene across the city.
Since I have never been to any European churches, we headed to the district with a lot of churches and chapels decorated by renaissance painters. I was stunned by the intricate and ornate decorations, high ceilings covered in paintings and the beautiful mosaics, on the floor and the walls, often with gold, which we also saw in the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul. One of the churches also had stone carvings of people that were inlaid on the ground which had a barrier around them since people had walked over them so often they we’re almost featureless. In the little tourist shops on the streets we were walking down, we saw a lot of small red chili shaped charms, red and often with a little crown. I have been collecting charms from this trip and so I bought a small one made of coral, vowing to research the mythology behind it.
– Interlude, the Cornicelli: not actually a chili, the Cornicelli is supposed to represent a ram’s horn and is a charm used to ward of the evil eye. A stem of coral is often used for the same purpose.
I also saw a lot of a character that had a black mask, a puppet from a traditional Italian play that is the son of two men and inherits characteristics from both and is an interplay between two separate identities.
We kept walking, to Nouvo Castle, which closed at 2pm on Sundays, so we didn’t go in. and then to the Royal Palace, where we got an audio guide, which helped a great deal. The Palace took us a long time to get through since there we’re so many rooms and the Palace was enormous. The entrance of the palace opens into a large white marble staircase which has two figures on either side, four in total; Justice, Clemency, Prudence and Strength carved in white marble. Each room in the palace had fabric walls, and almost every room had tapestries woven with silk and silver, or large paintings and portraits in the room. The rooms we’re still intact and all the furniture was still well kept, and the velvet wasn’t completely ruined.
Almost all the rooms had antique clocks, one of the anti-chambers even had 4 clocks. Down one of the corridors, the rooms had alternating shades of red-gold-red for their walls. After the palace we went to get gelato and the woman gave us 4 cones which may have been overkill for the amount of ice cream she gave us. Since the palace is near the water we ate our gelato and looked out over the water to Sorrento and Vesuvius. Then we decided to go to Castle Ovo but couldn’t find the entrance, we did however see a lot of people jumping off the rocks and swimming around in there and it was pretty hot and we were a bit jealous. It was nice to see that Italians are pretty good about body consciousness and most people were okay with being in bikinis. Kudos.
Since we’d been walking around a bit and were a bit tired we decided to go back before going to get dinner. It had been a bit of a big walking day, around 18km and we we’re a bit knackered so we went back to the hotel to plan our day to Sorrento and Pompeii.