National Archaeological Museum
Today was a rainy day, so I decided to take refuge in the Naples National Archaeological Museum, the most important of its kind in Italy. A lot of other people had the same idea and I had to wait in line for a while to get in, and then moving around the museum was hard. It was worth it, though. The museum has a very impressive collection of Greek and Roman artifacts (especially from Pompeii and Herculaneum). The first floor was full of statues which were impressive in size, detail, and number. I liked seeing statues of dogs not just being regal but acting like normal dogs.
A room on the next floor held mosaics from Pompeii and other cities in the area. Some of them depicted battles and mythological scenes, and others depicted plants, animals, and scenes from everyday life. Again, I loved the doggies.
The next rooms held more statues and paintings from villas. I spent a long time wandering around these rooms because many paintings illustrated scenes from The Iliad and some of my other favorite Greek stories.
I walked a couple blocks back to my hostel for lunch. Giovanni, my New Zealand friends, and a friend from the US were already making lunch when I arrived. This time we learned how to make risotto with asparagus. Our group grew to about 12 people and we enjoyed a delicious lunch together.
After lunch I gathered up some energy and I walked down to the waterfront with my friend from the US. We ended up going into Castel Nuovo, one of the two castles on the water.
The moat was huge and the courtyard was impressive. We wandered into the Barons' Hall, a giant room with a vaulted ceiling.
When we walked into the next room, we were alarmed to look down and see that the floor was made out of glass. The old foundations of the castle were illuminated beneath our feet. There was quite a distance between the glass and the bottom of the foundations and looking down was pretty creepy, a feeling that intensified when we spotted two skeletons. The next rooms featured Neapolitan art and a beautiful view of the city and Vesuvius. Exhausted, we walked back to take a break before dinner.
Dinner was pizza at a pizzeria called Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo. Giovanni told us that this is the best pizza place in Naples and I don't doubt it. The restaurant has been in operation for many years and the owner has 21 kids, many of whom opened their own, similarly-named pizzerie around Naples. We went to the original. Giovanni advised us to go at 7 pm because around 8 pm it gets so busy that the line goes out the door. We got a table upstairs without a problem and I ordered a Margherita pizza. It was the best pizza I've ever eaten. It's appropriate that it was so good because Naples is the birthplace of the modern pizza. Popular legend maintains that the Margherita pizza was originally made for Queen Margherita. Giovanni says, "The worst pizza in Napoli is the best pizza anywhere else."
I've only been in Naples for two full days, but it's already my favorite place that I've been to. It's very endearing and beautiful if you look past the grime. It's getting late again and I'm about to head to bed. If it's sunny tomorrow, I plan on heading to a nearby island called Procida with a friend!