Michael had to teach his short course on Thursday morning, so he headed out to work and I went in the opposite direction to explore more of the city. My first ambition to find the Duomo….the one that we couldn’t find on Tuesday!!!
The first sight that I saw as I turned the corner from our hotel was the pier with all of the cruise ships in harbor…..
I made my way on down Via Duomo and found the church without any problems this time. As I was walking to the church I passed a long line of stores selling wedding dresses many of which were very simple in style, but beautiful. I also passed one store that sold nothing but white wedding shoes!!!The official name of the church is the “Cattedrale de San Gennaro”. The church itself is fairly plain (in relation to other Italian churches).
However, there is a Cupola on one of the side apses and a smaller altar which is almost entirely decorated with silver. There were no photos allowed in this area so I didn’t get any pictures, but the statuary was magnificent. When I entered there was a Mass going on with 3 or 4 people participating, but there was also a tour group there with 30 people milling around in the back looking at the chapel. The REALLY incongruous part was that there was a souvenir stand set up at the back of the chapel and there was a brisk trade going on as the Priest was offering communion!!!
The church houses a vial of the blood of Saint Januarius which is brought out twice a year, on the first Saturday in May and on the 19th of September, when the dried blood usually liquefies. If the blood fails to liquefy, then legend has it that disaster will befall Naples. According to one tour guide, the last time that it didn’t liquefy was in 1980….the year of a great earthquake.
In the crypt area of the church I found this statue that I liked…..
I was also enamored with this altar piece and had a hard time figuring out whether the “fabric” part was stone or fabric….it had so much dimension…
I was interested to see that the Priests who were taking confessions were doing it face-to-face and not in secret. Most of them seemed to be very compassionate when they were talking to the confessors.
My next stop was to the Cappella Sansevero. The highlight of this chapel was a statue by Giuseppe San Martino entitled the “Veiled Christ”…..
It was extraordinary the way that he was able to replicate the sheerness of the fabric and the body underneath. One description called it an “intangible marble veil”. You could even see the wounds in the hands and feet thru the veil. The edges of the veil had lace edges that looked like they had just be tatted.
The other statue that I liked was one that had fishing net carved into it…..
In another part of the chapel were two anatomical studies that consisted of a skeleton with the entire circulatory system wrapped around it. There has apparently been some discussion as to whether it was made by injecting a body with something that caused the veins to harden and then the flesh decayed around it, but, however it was made, it was an amazing demonstration…..
As I was walking back, I excitedly passed a thread, button and trim store, however when I went inside EVERYTHING was in drawers and behind doors so that you couldn’t just look at stuff to see if you were interested. I guess that you had to describe what you were looking for and then they would bring it out.
I also enjoyed watching all of the cars that were double parked along the street. I dont know how it works so well, but no one ever seems to get stuck where they cant get out of their parking spot……of course, they are not too proud to drive on the sidewalk if needed!!
In the afternoon, Michael returned from the University and we decided to go out for a later lunch….well, later for US. It was about 2pm and the restaurant that we chose was full. We told them that we would wait and they handed us a complimentary glass of wonderful champagne to sip on while we waited. They seated us, but before we could order, the waiter came and asked us if we would mind moving to a smaller table so that he could seat 4 people at our table. We agreed to move and were rewarded with ANOTHER glass of champagne. We had Bruschetta, I had a calzone and Michael had a pizza. At the end of the meal we were given complimentary glasses of Melon-cello…..much like Limon Cello, but tasting distinctly of cantaloupe.
We returned to the hotel where Michael Skyped with the people in his lab and then we headed off to the National Archaeological Museum. The bottom floor was filled with statues from the 1st and 2nd centuries….some were massive in scale…
The top floors were filled with pieces that had been removed from the Pompeii excavation site. It was wonderful to see the inner workings of the city at the time of the disaster…..
We loved these frogs…..
We then entered a maze of rooms that contained frescoes that had been removed….
It was interesting to see various portraits that had been painted straight onto the walls…..
It was another wonderful day!!!