We awoke at 9 by nature. Before the alarm. Threw on some clothes and headed to breakfast buffet downstairs. The Hotel Piazza Bellini puts out a great spread. Chocolate and apple pastries, marmalade and sugared croissants, rolls, a marble pound cake, fresh fruit, hard boiled eggs, jams, packed cheese, cereal, cafe, yogurt.
We settled into a table and chowed down. Then we went back to the room to shower and get ready for a chill day in Naples. It was overcast, but we decided to hit Castel Sant’Elmo which has gorgeous 360 degree views of the city.
We walk to the nearby subway, Museo, to buy a day use card. Subways station is pretty clean inside, but the ticket machine doesn’t work. Hmm. So we go deeper into the station and find another machine beside a magazine vendor.
This one refuses to take money from us too. Suddenly, the magazine vendor pops out of the side of his stall and asks if we want to buy tickets for subway. He goes to hand us one ride tickets that he has but we want day passes.
So he goes back in his stall, get a suitcase and keys and opens up the ticket machine. He takes our money and inserts coins into the now opened machine and somehow prints us out two tickets. OL and I stand there surprised he is doing this for us.
We get our tickets and head to the subway stop by Castel Sant’Elmo. It’s 4 stops away at Vanvitelli metro stop.
Tiny problem. We got off the subway and couldn’t find the Castel because our map lacked street names. Stupid free map. So we buy a map of the city which is ginormous and screams tourist please rob me.
We can’t wait to see the city views. They are truly stunning. We saw the bay, the Castel d’Oro, Palazzo Reale, and a bunch of other sites.
Except the wind was blowing at 40-50mph and nearly toppled us over. I seriously felt like I might go over the side of the walkway. It also dropped 20 degrees when we got up there.
Headed back to the metro or thought we were…until we ended up right back by the Castel. I know because I recognized the cameo shop nearby. But we pulled out our trusty ginormous map and figured out how to get back to the subway. We weren’t feeling hungry but it was already 1ish.
Restaurants close from 3 to 7:30, making eating a must before 3. We don’t see any restaurants nearby so we hop on the subway figuring there are some by the museum.
We get off at the museum and see none. So we walk toward the museum. See a bar but nothing where we can sit and eat. Grrr. We turn down another street and see something on a side street, La Tarra dell’Arte, a ristorante, pizzeria and snack bar.
It’s cute and we end up each having a pizza. Neapolitan pizza is much thicker and chewier than the north pizzas and the Rome pizzas. I like it more. Reminds me of what I’ve had in the US. Mine is a four season pizza with mushrooms, ham, calamari and salame. Interesting. We got to walk through the kitchen and see the giant pizza oven on our way to our table.
Then we head to the Museo Archeologico Nazionale. The museum is said to contain one of Europe’s most valuable archeological collections–Farnese acquisitions, mosaics and sculptures excavated from Pompeii and Herculaneum.
This is my favorite museum so far. The bottom floor is perfect for roaming around and all the statues are lit to their best advantage. Mostly Farnese stuff here. We jumped up to the top floor to see the Pompeii stuff next. Frescoes dominated the floor off the huge main ballroom.
There were also vases and metal works, and surgical instruments to the left.
This is a not to be missed exhibit.
Went to the second floor and saw mosaics that were made of the tiniest pieces. Wow. Pompeii had some truly gifted artists.
The funnest part?
The over 14 exhibit of sexually graphic art.
It was like seeing the porn collection of the ancients. Giant phalluses. Frescoes of sexual positions. Wind chimes made of metal to look like penises. These people were very comfortable with their sexuality.
While we were in the museum, the rain from up north found us. Luckily, there was a pause in the storm so we could get back to our hotel.
We lounge for a while waiting for dinner time to come. Read books on Pompeii. 7:30 can’t come fast enough. I’m hungry enough to gnaw on OL’s arm.
We go back to the cute restaurant near our hotel. The name escapes me. Because well I don’t speak or read Italian and when I try trouble follows. But I have the same linguine and then the fried cutlet. OL gets the sausage and fries which is hot dog and fries.
Fav moment at restaurant?
When the French couple try to order. The wife speaks a tad of Italian but her husband keeps interrupting with questions in French. Then he tries to speak Spanish to the waiter. The. The waiter tries to speak his version of French to them. Hilarious. Made me feel so much better about my language skills.
I try this Neapolitan dessert with ricotta cheese and orange rinds. Tasty, but I hate orange rinds in my food. The we return to hotel. Planning to see Pompeii tomorrow.