|April 22 - Napoli (Naples, Rome)
Naples sits on the Bay of Naples (as does the beautiful island of Capri) at the base of Mt. Vesuvius. That is the volcano that brought life to a thunderous end for Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 A.D.
Naples is not a pedestrian-friendly city! Traffic lights seem to be more of a decoration and absolutely of no importance to the multitude of Vespas darting all over! We learned to cross streets along with local folks whenever possible during our 5-hour foray.
Being Sunday most of the shops were closed. This morning the city was hosting a race or marathon so dozens of streets and alleys were closed off. We were astounded at the number of vehicles just sitting and waiting for the race to end and the ropes to come down so they could resume their activities! As we were unsure the bus we wanted to take would be able to get us to the museum we were headed for we just started our walking tour with Rick Steves' map and guide pages at the end rather than the beginning of his directions.
One of the highlights along the walk along Via Toledo was the gorgeous Galleria Umberto. It is a huge 100-year-old Victorian-style iron and glass domed shopping mall! When we walked through at 9:40 A.M. It was completely empty. (On our return walk about 1:45 P.M. The place was packed with people sitting at tables, shopping at the few open stores, or just standing around talking.) We passed a few plazas (piazzas) to reach our main destination – the Archaeological Museum about a mile from the port.
This huge and highly acclaimed museum, based in a 16th century building, contains one of the world's largest collections of classical antiquities and historic riches recovered from Pompeii and Herculaneum. The statues, mosaics and cameos were fabulous!
We decided to walk back to the ship, taking different side streets here and there. The traffic was moving again and the Vespas were a nuisance! Our 5-hour outing ended without getting hit or hit upon by pick pockets that are famous here in Naples – just sore feet and hungry for lunch. (Our tip: put your money and ID in an inner zippered pocket and then cover you whole outfit with a long raincoat you've also zipped close.)