I can’t believe this is our last full day in this area. There are so many places to see and things to do in and around Napoli.
Artist: Marco Pavone (permission from Signore Pavoe to post – Grazie!)
Isn’t this postcard wonderful?! To me, it captures the colorful spirit of Napoli.
Will the Palazzo Reale di Caserta or Ercolano (Herculaneum) win the coin toss, today? Although Amy was really anxious to climb Vesuvio (we missed the cut-off time while in Pompeii) she agreed to forego her second chance and head to the palace with me.
The Royal Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to our guide book, the palace is closed today, but, the spectacular gardens are open.
We took the metro to Napoli Centrale (in that piazza) and caught a train to Caserta (3,10 euros and 45 minutes each way).
This very talented pianist entertained the crowds at Napoli Centrale.
This is what we hoped to see!
It was a short walk to the palace from the train station in Caserta. See the palace in the photo? Waaayyy back there? We approached the palace from the back side. The grounds behind the palace look like an unkempt football field and the building is unimpressive from that perspective. We found a little ticket booth through a gate and were told the palace was closed, today. Yes, we, the smart tourists knew this (knowing nods to each other). We came to see the grounds. And, the smart tourists were told our information was wrong – the grounds were closed too! Noooooo! Certainly, the grounds aren’t fenced the entire perimeter, right? Wrong! There was no access. We tried. Never trust a guide book!
Here’s what we actually saw in Caserta.
We decided to hightail it to Ercolano – and, make the best of the rest of the day. So, we took the train back to Napoli Centrale – then caught the Circumvesuviana to Ercolano Scavi (2,50 euros). Once you leave the train station just head toward the beach!
The entrance fee to Scavi di Ercolano was 11,00 euros.
The meeter and greeter.
Wow! There isn’t anyone here! I’ve told you how I love Italy in October?!
Ercolano is one of the ancient Roman cities taken out in 79 AD by Vesuvio. Its fate was different from that of Pompeii. A series of flows of a mixture of ash and hot gases rushed Ercolano at 1oo mph – and, much of the organic-based portions of Eroclano was preserved. The approximate 12 excavated acres are in the middle of suburbia. It must be odd to look out your window and see these ruins. And, weirder to know that your building may be razed next to uncover more of the ruins. Apparently, Pompeii was easier to excavate because it was buried under 4 meters of debris as opposed to Ercolano’s 20 meters. Access to these ruins was considerably more than access to those at Pompeii – it was an up close and personal experience.
Notice the intact wood beam – some of the organic matter that was preserved.
The colors of the frescoes are still so vibrant!
An outdoor cafeteria – really!
These pots were used to serve food. We couldn’t figure out how they would have been cleaned. Any ideas?
Note the fresco on the arched ceiling.
This was my favorite building!
This sight made me sad. There were dozens of skeletons in boat houses near the beach. It was thought most of the people of Ercolano escaped, but, these poor souls perished. The boat houses couldn’t protect them from the 250 degree C heat – ten km from the vent of Vesuvio!
It was an interesting day. Vesuvio was quiet for 800 years before this event!
Once back in Napoli, we decided to have dinner at Pizza & Babà. We must have walked past this restaurant a dozen times leaving and returning to the hotel. Amy is a mussels (cozze) junkie – or, as we like to call them, ‘livers of the sea’. She had the peppered mussels before tackling this pizza. To date, they’re the best cozze she’s ever had!
Well, damn! They do have take-out boxes in Italy – and, we didn’t even have to ask.
At this point, Amy and I were the only customers in the restaurant. We were all listening to Italian music coming from a television. Maybe it was the wine or the Sambuca, but, I asked our waiter, Patrizio, to dance – in Italiano. I must have constructed my sentence correctly. He politely took my hand and danced with me. A sweet way to end our last night in Napoli…