What to Visit: Naples in Italy or Naples in Florida?

 

Sappho. Frescoe. Naples Archaeological Museum, Italy.

Sappho. Frescoe. Naples Archaeological Museum, Italy.

So, you are going to Naples? The first thing you will know preparing for your journey is that there are at least two Naples in the world: one is in the south of Italy, another is in Florida, U.S.A. Sun, sea, and palm trees are the things these cities have in common, but nothing more. Naples in Florida is a respectable resort for millionaires, Naples in Italy is another matter completely.

There are many unkind tales and anecdotes about the latter. From the Italians themselves, you can hear absolutely anything and everything about Naples. For example, “Africa begins south of Tuscany,” or “a day for the Neapolitan was wasted if he could not cheat someone.” Northern Italians don’t forget that Camorra, one of the oldest and largest criminal organizations in Italy dating back to the 16th century, originated in the region of Campania and its capital, Naples.

People talk about visitors to Naples: if you spent a week in the motherland of the best pizza and were not offended or robbed, you will be able to survive in any other city of the world. Of course, we went to Italy for two reasons: Italian Naples is much closer to us, and what is most important, in Naples, Florida, you will not find a totally unique Naples National Archaeological Museum. However, we did not want to push our luck and reserved only 48 hours for this visit of Italian Naples.

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Museo Borghese, Roma: 100 Percent Concentration of Beauty

 

Apollo and Daphne by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The Museo Borghese, Roma, Italy.

Apollo and Daphne by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The Museo Borghese, Roma, Italy.

“Startling concentration of beauty.” A very bright phrase. I heard it in one of the series of Michael Portillo’s “Great Continental Railway Journeys.” He used it in his description of a famous city. Guess which one? Of course, it was Venice, the city with a startling concentration of beauty. However, I should add, “but only from a distance.” When you immerse yourself into Venice, you start to find some flaws in its beauty: dilapidated houses, peeling facades, street sweepings…. What can we do? This is a city with a very complicated fate.

Do places with flawless 100 percent concentration of beauty exist anywhere in the world? Of course. We found one such place in the city of Rome, Italy. This is the Museo Borghese which is housed in the former Villa Borghese Pinciana. When you pass the ground floor, buy tickets, and go up to the first floor, you find yourself in the kingdom of good taste, luxury, and incredible beauty. Everything is beautiful here: floors, walls, ceilings, paintings, and, of course, sculptures by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. I have already been to many museums of the world; this one was the smallest, but the most beautiful I can remember.

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Pompeii and Herculaneum: Two Beautiful Mummies

By Irina.

Johann Goethe said about Herculaneum,
“Humanity survived many disasters, but no one of them brought so much pleasure to descendants.”

I walk along the street which has been uninhabited for two thousand years and enter the next house. Some frescos are preserved on the walls, and Doric columns stand in the patio. People used to bake bread in the kitchen and make love in the bedrooms on the second floor. We are in the abandoned city that was hidden from view for an unimaginable two thousand years—in Herculaneum, Italy.

The Augustus College or Collegio degli Augustali. Herculaneum, Italy.

The Augustus College or Collegio degli Augustali

A thirty-meter thickness of mudflow (lava, dirt, and water), which covered the city after the Vesuvius eruption, killed much fewer people here than in neighboring Pompeii. Most of the citizens managed to escape, but their city was preserved for many long years. Today, the empty Herculaneum lies in a huge funnel very similar to a volcano crater.

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