Pasta Thursday….

On Thursday Michael didn’t have to go into the university, but did have some work that he needed to do, so we both decided that it would be a good day to stay at the flat and get things accomplished!! However, we did take a break around 2:00 and walked down for our favorite gelato!!

The evening ended with a dinner with Sal, Michael’s host for this trip and Giovanni, who has really taken care of Michael over the past two weeks.

Sal knew that we often ate earlier in the evening so made the reservation quite a bit early for Naples…..8:00PM!!!

Giovanni has grown up in the area that we are living in and had childhood memories of a small trattoria that he thought we would enjoy. As we arrived the owner waved off another family who apparently didn’t have a reservation, and then showed us to our table… of only 6 in the dining room!!! There is another dining area downstairs but, even with it, the restaurant wouldn’t hold many people!!

The room was covered in porcelain tile and the shelves contained bottles and bottles of wine…..

The building was originally used as a wine shop, dating from the 1700’s but was opened as a restaurant in 1978. I loved the dishes…..

….each proudly displaying the name of the restaurant.

The menu was typical Neapolitan cuisine and we began the meal with appetizers (Primi Course) including Fried Mozzarella, Fried potato and an Eggplant roll. Sal insisted that we have the Fried fish that we had seen in the fish market…..

It was all delicious!!!

As a main course, Michael chose a Tomato based sauce with Capers and Olives….

….and I enjoyed Pasta alla Genovese, which had beef and onions cooked in a wine sauce….

After we had finished these courses, Sal decided that we needed to eat some more so he ordered Fried Calamari, Sauteed Zucchini and Broccoli Rabe (the leaves at the top of the Broccoli plant).

We continued to eat and enjoy the conversation, the wine and the amazing bread!!! We were ready to leave around 10:00 and, amazingly, people were still coming in for dinner. They DEFINITELY run on a different schedule from the Arnold family!!!

It was a wonderful evening with these sweet friends….one old and one new!!!

Trying for more contemporary art…..

On Wednesday morning, Michael and I both stayed in and had a later start. He had to be at the University by 3:00, so left about 1:00 to make the journey. I left at the same time, heading to Museo Madre….the biggest contemporary art museum in the area.

Many of the exhibits were considered as Site art…..they were designed for the particular room and, in many cases were permanently attached to the room. Here are a couple of examples…..

As a whole, I would describe the exhibits as “meh”, but there were several pieces that I did enjoy. The first was a piece by Umberto Manzo, the same artist as yesterday. He must have THOUSANDS of kids drawings to work with…..

I really liked this aluminum piece by Getulio Alviana, especially the depth that you saw when looking from the front…..

….but realizing that it was totally flat when looked at from the side…..

I was also intrigued by this drawing on one of the walls….

…but even more intrigued when I started thinking about doing machine quilting along these lines (pun not intended but it does work)…..

There was this piece (by Bruno Di Bello) that I could see as a quilt design…..

I spent an inordinate amount of time observing this wall…..

The yellow design is painted on the wall and the bars are a shiny metal so that it reflects the design on the wall. AND, it changed as you moved around and observed the reflection from different angles.

There was one room with a bunch of tile designs…..

Several of them were interesting, especially the ones making use of insects and other animals…..

As I walked into an outside courtyard, I noticed a cupola and steeple not far from me…..

I figured out that it was Chiesa Cathedrale De Napoli and decided to head there next. As churches go, it is very ornate…..

….even some of the side Apses…..

….and the ceilings as well…..

I did find three things that I liked greatly. The first was this tile floor…..

It is seldom that you see these as long rectangles rather than cubes.

I loved this stained glass window…..

…probably because of the simplicity of the scene.

Finally, it was fun to look at some of the old frescoes that were preserved in the church…..

This quiet primitiveness is more to my taste!!

As I left the church, I took one more photo to capture the gorgeous skies……

I now headed back along Christmas Alley and found it to be much less busy today and a lot more fun to walk thru. I searched until I found a sewing machine scene…..

As I slowly made my way back home, I bought a few souvenirs for myself and friends and then passed a clothing store that I hadn’t seen before. The other two that I had visited had been European stores….ie…located all over the continent. This one was “Piazza Italia” and only contained clothing made in Italy. I spent the next hour trying on clothes and emerged with a hefty bag to carry back to the flat!!! We are definitely going to have to either buy another suitcase or pack a bunch of stuff into a canvas bag that we brought with us!!!

Michael texted that he was on his way back to the flat and I was able to have dinner pretty much ready when he arrived. We were both too pooped to walk out for Gelato so just called it a day…..

All in all, it was a fun day!!!

Art Gallery time…..

On Tuesday Michael had to be at the University all day so I was on my own to find something to do. My first thought was to visit the Contemporary Art Museum but, when I put it into Google Maps, I was informed that it was closed on Tuesdays….Boo!!!

I hopped on my computer and started looking for somewhere else to go and settled on the Capodimonte Museum. As always, the first trick was getting there!!

I knew that I needed to catch the Metro at Municipio and ride it to the Museo stop. After that, it was all up to Google Maps to get me the additional mile down the road. But then things got interesting……

Yes…this is the street that I had to follow for an entire mile. Only a portion was steps, but the rest was curving and straight up!!! Here is another view looking down from where I had just climbed…..

The street was tiny and there were cars and/or motorcycles parked on either side and when a larger vehicle approached, it was “plaster yourself to the wall time”…..

It took a while, but I finally reached Capodimonte park and found the sign for the museum…..

I have to admit that when I saw the word “Porcellana”, I almost didn’t enter, thinking that it was going to contain tons of Porcelain figurines….the kind that my Mother LOVED!!…..

But I went in anyway and was so glad that I did.

The museum is located in the Palazzo di Capodimonte , originally designed as a hunting lodge for Charles VII of Bourbon. This monumental palace was begun in 1738 and took more than a century to complete. It now holds more art than you could EVER view at one time!!!

As I bought my ticket, I ordered an audio guide and was handed a player as well as a sheet listing all of the pieces that were discussed. I was also handed a map of the gallery, telling where the different rooms were located….all 160 of them. Finally, I was handed an I-phone and headset to use for the special exhibit….

….altogether too much to keep up with!!

I started the tour in the special exhibit which was an interesting look at the art, music and culture of Southern Italy. The iphone/headset would click on as you entered each room, first giving information about the room and contents and then playing music as you continued to look around. It made for a very pleasurable experience.

The first room that I entered contained various musical instruments and I was drawn to this Mandolin-esque guitar. Look at the designs on the frets and at the end of the instrument……

I liked this sculpture, but really liked the shadow that it threw onto the wall behind it…..

….and this man was striking as well…..

When the gallery was about the culture of a time, they used these funky “dolls” to convey the people. This was an example of a game night…..

Some of the scenes were a little weird but I loved the “expressiveness of this “woman”…..

It is amazing what can be conveyed without a lot of details!!!

In addition to the art itself, the castle rooms were astounding. In this room, there was a video playing with “people” sitting around watching it, but I was too drawn to the chandelier and other aspects of the room to notice it……

When I did concentrate on the scene in the room I realized that it wasn’t all dolls. Can you find the two real people?…..

These characters were dressed in period clothing and I loved the decorations on this bodice and skirt…..

As I left the special exhibit, I handed in my iphone and started to concentrate on the audio guide. The problem was that none of the artwork was marked to let me know which ones were talked about so I had to….1) figure out which room I was in, 2), look at the index list and figure out which pieces were in that particular room, 3) find the artwork that was being discussed, and 4) hold the guide to my ear to hear because they didn’t provide headphones!!! Needless to say, I gave it up after the first piece of art and decided that I really didn’t need to know all of the details about the pieces!!!

(As a note going forward…..I put a set of earbuds in my purse so that I wont be caught without them again!!!)

Instead, I chose to pick out certain things that I found interest in,

….such as why this portrait by Michelangelo Anselmi was painted with another person in the background?

Or….exactly what is the ogre looking thing in this seemingly religious painting by Joos Van Der Becke…..

The museum went on for hall after hall with many of the paintings being set in dark rooms with dark walls and little light. Unfortunately, I quickly tired of this!!

Then I came to an area that I loved….. the “Depositi”. These rooms hold all of the “other” artwork that is owned by the museum but isn’t currently in it’s permanent exhibits. I loved the serene look on this girl’s face……

….and the tag giving the details of the sculpture didn’t bother me a bit!!

I am still not sure about this piece…..

….and why there is a turkey riding on a wild boar.

There were rooms and rooms that looked exactly like this……

….and I found out that they even had excess picture frames…..

I loved this picture of the “Last Supper” by Batista Franco…..

….and this table reminded me of a good applique design…..

….although I would probably opt for something a bit simpler…..

And then I saw it…..the “Blanket”……

I used my iPhone measuring app and determined that it was about 9 feet wide. As you can imagine, I spent a good bit of time recording many of the bits and pieces of this wonderful quilt…..

Everywhere I looked, there seemed to be longer halls with more art in each room…..

I eventually made my way into the “Contemporary Art” section but was disappointed in the 10 or so pieces that were displayed. I did like this one…..

….especially since it was made of paper that looked liked kid’s drawings…..

Because this Palace is located on one of the hills of Naples, the views out the windows were spectacular…..

…..and yes that’s Vesuvius again!!!

The hike back home was easier since it was downhill, but still took a little over an hour to walk….metro….walk…..back to the Flat.

I had one more quick trip out the grocery store and was not surprised to see that my phone said that I had clocked 15,400 steps and climbed 38 flights of stairs!!! I call that a good day!!!

Dem Bones….Dem Bones

On Sunday morning, we decided to find a church to visit and happened upon Christ Church Anglican Church……

It was a gorgeous church, inside and out….

….and the people that we met were so kind. Fortunately the service was in English which made it much easier. It was moving to go forward for communion and have the Vicar place the bread into my hands…very different from me taking it from a tray.

After lunch we wanted to do one more “touristy” thing and picked…..

The Cimitero della Fontanelle !! Here is some of the history of this cemetery…..

The cemetery is an ossuary located in an old quarry on the high end of Naples. In the 16th century, churches with crowded cemeteries started moving the bones of their long dead in the cave to make room for the newly dead. The remains were interred shallowly and then joined in 1656 by thousands of anonymous corpses, victims of the great plague of that year. Sometime in the late 17th century, great floods washed the remains out and into the streets. The anonymous remains were returned to the cave, at which point the cave became the unofficial final resting place for the indigent of the city in the succeeding years—a vast paupers’ cemetery.

So far so good…..then things got weird!!!

In the 19th century a cult developed whose members began to adopt the skulls. They named them, put them into little houses, brought them flowers and asked them to intervene with God for favors from the next life.

The cult of devotion to the skulls of the Fontanelle cemetery lasted into the mid-20th century. In 1969, Cardinal Ursi of Naples decided that such devotion had degenerated into fetishism and ordered the cemetery to be closed. It is now considered a historical site!!

So, enough history….let’s see the photos!!!

Many of the skulls were in little stone houses with various charms and offerings……

This one was a little strange with the hat on the skull….

….and I really have no idea why one of the seven dwarfs is there…..

Michael decided that this was the Italian version of “Go Fund Me”……

Here are a few other weird photos…..

Even though it is weird, I really like the composition of this photo…….

It was fun to look at the cavern….note the size of the people for scale……

There was a nativity scene in one area and it was interesting to see it from BEHIND…..

The cemetery was located in a less affluent part of town but we loved seeing the streets…..

…and the colors (and tile patterns)……

The happiest thing about the visit was this building…..

Yes… was a weird way to spend a Sunday afternoon, but when in Naples……