They say there are two countries, southern Italy and northern Italy, and the dividing line is the last gas station on the outskirts of Rome. I've spent a bunch of time in the south and would agree. Naples is the real start of the poor section of Italy, and while many people think of Rome as fairly dirty, unkept, and congested, it's a palatial palace compared to Naples.
The Centro Storico is about all we could explore today, and it's just a crowded zoo. The historic roads are narrow, lined with tall apartments, and feature tons of laundry dangling from the windows. Some examples:
|A peaceful, quiet street in Naples|
|Wonder what people do when it drips on them?|
|The answer is blowin' in the wind.|
|A scooter exits a cupboard. I saw up to 12 scooters in them|
|A truck can't get in because a scooter is parked in the middle|
And so we wandered, staying close to the edge of the road, and only nearly getting run over twice. We wandered to the Duomo (pretty, but no photos allowed inside).
|Big. Really big. With 2 full independent churches inside|
- Naples was settled by the Greeks. Greeks built underground aqueducts to feed the rivers into the city. Houses had "wells" that lowered buckets into reservoirs below the houses fed by the aqueducts.
- The Greeks were kicked out. The Romans took the place over. They built a city, using parts of the old Greek city.
- The Romans were kicked out. The Roman stuff was buried. An entirely new city was built on top, but the aqueducts were still used as a water source.
- Cholera hit the city. The aqueducts were "closed".
- Several hundreds of years past. The aqueducts were rediscovered.
- WW2 hit. The aqueducts were drained and became bomb shelters.
- Someone found the old Roman plans of the city. The Roman stuff was found under existing buildings.
|Into the abyss|
|Part of the abyss|
|A well that they used to dip water out of|
|An underground reservoir. Real, but the water's added|
|Shaft for aqueduct cleaning. Simulated wire dude.|
|The candlelight section|
|We all get candles|
|The entrance to the Roman Theatre|
After the tour, we went outside and had a typical Neapolitan lunch. The most awesome €4 lunch I have ever had, ever. One Pizza Forno (basically, an 8" pizza marghereita), one Pizza Fritta (an 8" pizza shell, covered in ricotta cheese and another pizza shell, then deep fried) and two giant aranccini (risotto stuffed with mozzzarella di buffalo and ham, then breaded and fried). All for €4.
|Pizzaria Di Matteo, with the pizza forno & pizza fritta visible|
|Clearly, we were underdressed|
|What the modern young Italian women wear for shoes|
We did get into the church above the entrance to the aqueducts.
|St. Paolo Maggiore|
|From the front door|
|Inlaid marble walls|
|Electronics inside a violin?|
|A wall of nasty lava pyramids|
|Sunglass man 1|
|Sunglass man 2|
|Dolce & Gabbana's latest outlet -- or so they try to tell you|
|He might think so|
And it's easy to get to. We got a high speed Trenitalia train on the way home, a Ferricargento, which runs on the dedicated high speed rail line between Rome and Naples. This puppy goes. We were in Rome in 70 minutes after leaving Naples. Don't know what speed we hit but the train can do 250 km/hr (160 mph). Our train on the way down was a FrecciaBlanca, no slouch of a train than can do 160 km/hr on the old rail lines. Took us 105 minutes to get there.
An excellent end to an excellent weekend away. Tomorrow: laundry.
And sleeping in. I'm tired of getting up at "a quarter to stupid."