Yesterday I went to Naples to see a couple of museums. I had been to Naples once before but only for a day and many years ago.
What a city! Naples must belong to some other planet I think. Well, now, let’s not exaggerate but coming from Rome the differences are remarkable. Sound seems to be at the core of it. Noise. Everyone makes noise, it is like you have to be noisy in order to be alive. Silence is death in Naples. So they talk, shout, sing, honk with their horns to make sure they are being noticed as they pass the red lights. Infernal.
But I the first thing I did was quite calm: Museo di Capodimonte on a hill above the city.
Capodimonte houses the truly magnificent art collections of the Farnese family and the Borboni (Bourbon). This means: Tizian, Raphael, Michelangelo, Parmigianino, Bruegel, Carracci, Vasari, Ribera, Artemisia Gentileschi, Salvator Rosa, El Greco, Caravaggio, Goya, Masaccio, Guido Reni, and many others. It was one of those museums where you go about thinking “oh is that piece here too?!” all the time. Just amazing. And the museum itself was calm and well kept with nice wall colours. Naples must be a bit off the beaten track of most tourists or I cannot explain the emptiness of this gigantic museum with all its masterpieces. This is no provincial museum and yet I felt almost alone. Weird.
After my visit I took a bus back to the centro where I had this great pizza while listening to some guy shouting “albicocche, albicocche” trying to sell his apricots… I skipped the apricots and went for the pizza. Only right when you consider that the pizza was invented in Naples.
Then I had a walk and got a bit lost. I passed this boy who was selling tiny turtles. Another oddity.
Finding my way back to where I wanted to be I went to the archaeological museum that houses endless amounts of frescoes, statues, artefacts, and mosaics from Pompeii and Herculanum. Among them the Alexander mosaic which is just beautiful. I was mostly interested in the Farnese sculptures that were unearthed when the Palazzo Farnese was build in Rome in the 16th century. The Hercules for example.
On my way to the station traffic was so bad that I missed my train! I got on another one though and went home after one interesting and rewarding and exhausting day in the heart of chaos.