The press of the buildings around me is isolating as the darkness of the Neapolitan night envelops my thoughts. The buildings reach up, seeming to blot out the tiny stretch of sky that can be seen. The crowds do nothing to abate my isolation as I comtemplate what a trip this has been. From Rome, to the end of the Appian Way, and beyond. Now we are at an end.
This morning we woke in Matera, the ancient city of caves standing precariously along a gorge. We checked out and made a brief climb up the precipice across from our hotel to take in the view one last time. D’s knee was better with some rest but is clearly bothering him.
It is clear, from this angle, that this church was truly carved from the stone.
Our car, which had been parked elsewhere in town, arrived and we were on our way. Our first objective was Altamura, where the bread is reported to be remarkable. As the miles rolled away behind us the rain began to fall, progressing from drizzle to downpour. Arriving at the town, it became clear that the bakery we wished to visit was well in the pedestrian zone, and without easy parking to be found, and with neither of us wishing to be soaked, we decided to eschew this visit and head toward Naples.
We set the GPS toward Naples (Apple Maps, for the record, has generally served me well abroad), and found ourselves repeatedly confused that the signs on the road indicated we were heading toward a city on the east coast, rather than the west. I looked closely at the map, and repeatedly reassured D that the Italian peninsula is oriented obliquely, in a southeast – northwest direction, rather than just north-south, as we both have tended to believe. The apps (and we tried many) were just taking us north, and then we would head west.
Eventually, the signs matched our intended destination, and we were both finally reassured that we were, indeed, headed to Napoli. We stopped first at the airport, where our multiple apps led us to the wrong place, but my memory eventually guided us to the rental car return and a cab took us to our hotel. There was no mandated tip this time.
In Naples, we were ready for lunch, and this is the place for pizza. The original pizza comes from Naples, and it has haunted me since I was last here. I have craved it incessantly and was ready.
Of course, some things always seem to happen when I travel. Sadly, it seems that all of the best pizzerie are closed on Sunday, so we settled for a second-tier pizzeria, dining under a tent that stood in a piazza, surrounded on all side by the blackened walls of the old city. And then the rain fell, and we contentedly continued our meal. While not the best pizza I have had in Naples, it was still outstanding.
Next stop was the museum. Last time we visited, the museum was closed, but this time, on a Sunday, admission was free. We had expected to see plaster casts from Pompeii here, but they were not to be seen. Some of the rooms were closed, and that is perhaps where they were.
Still there was plenty to see, such as this mosaic.
And this very delicate mosaic.
And this frog, that I really would like to take home.
This glass pitcher was just breathtaking. In my mind’s eye, the ancient world was a place of pottery, not glassware. But here we see otherwise. Not only were there works of glass, but they were wrought with great skill.
And we also visited the room of phallic imagery. I have no pictures from that room – this is a family blog.
Here – look at this bust. The face is striking, the brows furrowed and the eyes intent. Spectacular
After the museum, D’s knee was acting up again, so he returned to the hotel while I headed off into the constricted streets, as the light faded quickly, in what turned out to be a fruitless shopping trip.
Naples is known for her desserts, so I had this mini sfogliatella.
Eventually, I returned to find D, where he was ready for our final meal. We settled on the pizzeria where we had taken our pizza class years ago. It was not the best pizza we have had here, but it was still very good. By this point in the trip I have just eaten so much that I couldn’t even eat the crust, delicious though it was.
And with that, we returned to the hotel, where the call of the road echoed loudly in my brain, and I packed my bags for my long journey home in the morning. This, my friends will almost certainly be my last post for this trip, as I’ve decided that many of the posts on the flights have been boring. But worry not, for I shall return in a month for my next journey. P and I are setting off again, this time to Japan.
See you soon!