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Pompeii and Pizza – What Could Be Better?

June 1st, we arrive in Naples.  I have let Brighid choose all of our tours for this trip, and I have to say, this was not my favorite.  She elected to stay in Naples, where we are scheduled for a tour of the Archeological museum and a visit to a pizza place for some authentic Napoli pizza.  This is, after all, where pizza was invented.

We arrived just around 9 to the Archeological museum, after driving around in a circle for about an hour through Naples.  The guide points out the Castle of the Egg and some other buildings that are somehow important in the history of Naples, but it really just feels like we’re going around the block a few times.

The museum features quite a collection of artifacts from Pompeii and Herculaneum, both devastated by volcanic eruption.  We spend a lengthy time admiring the mosaics, most of which are truly beautiful, but you can only look at so many with the same level of enthusiasm.  We are then taken into a room with a collection of statues and busts, but we find out that many of them in this room are merely reproductions, as the originals would have been destroyed in the volcanic eruption.  A small collection of black statues draws my attention.  They have alabaster eyes, most of which the guide says were long ago destroyed, but they are absolutely haunting when you look at them. 

One of the rooms in the museum is called Gabinetto Segreto.  The guide explains on the outside that we have a special appointment to go in, but we are being bumped up earlier because another group has failed to show for their time.  One of the gentlemen in our group is positively giddy with excitement about going into the Secret Cabinet, and I’m figuring there must be some amazing art in here.  I’ve never heard of it, but surely, with his level of excitement, there must be a Michelangelo or a DaVinci in here somewhere.  Okay, call me naive.  The Gabinetto Segreto was open to the public (anyone over the age of 14) in 2000, and houses a collection of erotic art.  Among the pieces here, a bed from a Pompeii brothel, along with wall tiles depicting various acts of a sexual nature that one could purchase from the ladies at the brothel.  There are penises (is that the plural for that word, anyway??) at every turn, and the guide says in ancient Rome, it was considered a great thing to have a giant stone carving of a penis grace the entrance to your home.  It was a symbol of protection, fertility, and prosperity.  I am thinking of having one installed, then asking the priest to come bless our house.  I wonder if he – and the neighbors – will see it the same way?   Oh, and that old pervert?   Way too excited to be going in to see this particular collection of artwork.  Especially with his wife in tow.

After our visit to the museum, we come outside to see a rather enormous police presence and a demonstration brewing.  We hop on the bus, which must now take  a different way out than he originally intended to, but we still seem to somehow be traveling in a circle.  We view the Castle of the Egg from a new angle, and the palace of some other big shot who is long dead, and we finally end up getting off of the merry-go-round to go to a little pizzatta for lunch.  We have a gorgeous view of the water and the boats as we enjoy a delicious lunch.  They serve us a salad that smelled out of this world, and I couldn’t help but eat a few bites of tomato.  The tomatoes were the closest I’ve ever had to Jerseys, and with the dressing, they were so good.  After the salad, we each got our own pizza – a good sized pie with thin crust, fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and a little green stuff sprinkled around the center.  The pizza was amazing.  No other way to describe it.  The flavors were fresh and the pizza was so light.  There was no oil pooling on top as on many American pizzas, and no oil slick underneath.  I ate one whole piece, without eating the very last bit of crust, and I ate the cheese off of another piece.  Brighid ate just about all of hers.  What followed was a dessert that looked like a brownie, smelled like heaven, and had a big dollop of deliciously flavored cream on top.  I told the waiter I didn’t want one, but he insisted I take it anyway.  Brighid ate the whipped cream from mine, and did her best to eat all of hers.  I took  a tiny taste of the cream – holy cow, it was delicious. 

We took another quick trip around the block, viewing again the Castle of the Egg from yet another angle.  We also see the home of the former royal family.  The home – a huge, Buckingham Palace sized place, is not used anymore except for the occasional important political meeting.  What a waste.

We raced back on the ship and dressed quickly, since it was nearly dinner time.  As always, it was a delicious meal.

After dinner, we went to the show.  Tonight, it was a piano playing magician.  Yep.  I don’t know either.  It made no sense.  His magic was okay – mostly card tricks, which were a little boring – and while he was a great piano player, his specialty seemed to be taking GOOD, classical music and putting his own deranged spin on it.  Not cool.

We visited the photo shop, bought a few pictures, and went to bed.  What a long day!