We thought about taking the train into Sorrento but decided instead to finish Vesuviana off properly by visiting the Archeological Museum of Naples for the Pompei & Herculaneum displays. Initial impressions of Naples were that it is dirty, noisy, busy and, dare we say it, somewhat seedy. Of course there is a lot of Naples and we were only seeing a small part. The museum however was worth the trip although we didn’t have time to do it all.
Greeted in the Entrance Hall by a huge bronze horse-head by Donatello, the left hand side of the hall is lined with large marble statues from Herculaneum.
We went straight up to the second floor and the glorious Hall of the Sundial with it’s impressive ceiling paintings and statue of Atlas holding the world on his shoulders.
From there our audio-guides led us into a series of displays with finds from Pompei, Herculaneum and 3 other sites destroyed in the Vesuvius’ 79AD eruption. Beautiful frescoes (wall-paintings) removed from the archeological sites for safe-keeping, their colours remarkable after all this time;
detailed mosaics including brightly decorated columns from Herculaneum;
statues and busts in bronze, marble and obsidian;
and a huge 1960’s model of the ruins of Pompei on a scale of 1:100 with a more up-to-date raised relief map on an adjacent wall and nearby a large-screen CGI running of the town and it’s main buildings before and after the eruption.
After 3 hours we had covered the stuff from the Vesuvius event so we headed of for a late lunch into the oldest part of Naples and it’s interesting warren of dark streets thronging with locals and tourists.
We wanted to have pizza in it’s city of origin and headed for I Decumani with a reputation for some of the best pizza in Naples. We joined the queue outside finally getting a seat mid-afternoon. Was it worth it? Afraid not, but maybe our expectations were too high.
We’d had 3 great days of Vesuvian history and vulcanology and could easily have spent longer there exploring the other sites and maybe revisiting Pompei, but tomorrow we had other plans.
Kate’s birthday. The sun was shining, it was lovely and warm – shorts and T-shirts again – and with the cards and electronic greetings opened we spoiled ourselves with some scrambled eggs and a leisurely morning.
Today we were booked into a small harbour-side hotel in the nearby fishing village of Vico Equense next to Sorrento. At the end of a steep, narrow road we found the harbour and our pretty hotel. Our room had a lovely large bedroom with balcony and view onto the harbour and Vesuvius across the bay. No bath sadly but for a real birthday treat, a toilet with a seat! (Italian campsites don’t have this luxury).
We grabbed a very tasty lunch across the road at the bar-restaurant belonging to the hotel eating far too much sinfully fried food then worked really hard at relaxing.
In the evening we had a lovely hot shower and got into our glad rags – Kate with some difficulty! Diet tomorrow. We were booked into a really nice restaurant close by in an old tower where we had a really lovely meal including a special cake for Kate – we were so full at the end that we didn’t have space for coffee and a nightcap which is unheard of. Spoilt rotten.