We arrived in Naples in the evening and, first things first, went for Pizza that night. I was pretty nervous, knowing very little about the city except its terrible reputation for pickpockets and purse snatchers… but here’s how we do it (not just in Naples, but wherever it might be dodgy):

We put all the kids’ gear, and anything else (my sketch book is about it) in the bottom of the push chair, in a re-usable type of shopping bag (our favourite is canvas, but what’s key is that it looks like it contains nothing of value – ours is grubby for good measure). Then Luuk and I keep our phones and wallets on our person. Luuk had the passports in a discreet wee money belt, but we both kept our phones in our pockets. I put my money in my bra. Safe as houses.

So the only concern was my phone, and I made sure to wear tight clothes with deep pockets, and kept my hand nearby. I often had my phone in my hand to take pics anyway.

There's graffiti and graffitiLots of graffiti, but then some of it is most definitely art.

We did manage to spend most of four days in Naples without incident. Not even a threat of incident. Perhaps it helped that we didn’t go out most evenings (tired kids, tired ourselves, and hotel restaurant was delish) and during the day we tended to be out of the hustle and bustle (and litter).

The first full day we went to Reggia di Caserta, the palace of Caserta, which is where they filmed Amidala’s palace in the star wars movies. And some part or other of ‘Angels and Demons’.

Louis and the lion on the stairs Louis and the lion, on the grand stairway.

filmed at caserta

There’s that lion! (And, ahem, Ewan McGregor.)

Queen Amidala on the stairs

Hehe! Same stairway! I’ve trod where aliens trod. (And Ewan McGregor was in this film too… hm.)

ground floor walkways at casertaThe ground floor is made up of courtyards framed by closed-off rooms (naval offices, apparently) and these spectacular walk-ways.

Hologram on the go in the palace

No holograms wandering about on the day we visited, I’m sorry to say…

There is a select part of the castle set up for visitors, with contemporary art and photography exhibited, as well as the reliefs and paintings that come with the castle, or at least look like they do. We visited that first, and then on to the main event – the gardens!

the gardens and palace at caserta The view back toward the palace.

cascades, fountains, falls

The view up, away from the palace, to the cascades.

walking and watching the fish

Elena and I at one of the many waterfalls on the way up the garden.

a long walk up the garden

Louis slept on the way up but walked back, post ice cream, happily climbing on the walls and stairs, watching the fish and fountains.

elena and the fish

Elena watching the fish, and the ones in the water too.

me and elena at some falls

Elena and I at a waterfall.

waterfalls and fountains

Another fountain/waterfall. They did make me thirsty.

louis and the fish

Louis trying to catch the fish.

It was a big walk, and slow with the kids, and scorching hot, but so lovely with all the waterfalls and fountains all the way up. I tried to talk Luuk into going back on one of the horse-carts that kept passing us, but we took the shady side of the pools on the way back, and no hurry.

elena sleeping on the train

Elena, thankfully, slept on the hour’s return train trip – it was gorgeously calm.

Louis and I, drawing on the trainLouis and I, drawing on the train trip back to Napoli.

The second day we stayed in the city and visited a couple of sights. First, the Cappella Sansevero, a chapel-cum-museum (two rooms in total) which houses several breathtaking sculptures including The Veiled Christ:

The Veiled Christ

We stood in awe awhile here – the way they made stone appear so soft and delicate and HUMAN! Incroyable. Another of the statues included a fishing net, and we could scarcely believe it was in fact stone.

There are several castles in and around Naples but one in the centre, on a hilltop, seemed a good spot to visit next. Castel Sant’Elmo is at the top of a funicular ride… but we didn’t realise we’d actually walked to the top of the funicular and when we got on it, thinking it would take us up the hill further, it only  whisked us down to the base.

riding the funicular

Oops. So we got to ride the funicular three times in total! Most of the castle is closed off but there’s an art gallery on the roof, oddly enough, and then you can walk around the ramparts and admire the view.

interesting crucifix

Apologies for badly lit photo, but this is one of the most interesting Jesus statues I’ve seen on my travels. It put me in mind of discussions in Mike Grimshaw’s Religious Studies at classes at Canterbury University – about imagery of Jesus of Nazareth. Note the woman with the fantastic shoes.

vesuvio, from castel sant'elmo, napoli View across Naples to Vesuvius.

view from ramparts of st elmo's castle Looking out at Napoli from the ramparts of St. Elmo’s castle.

view toward ischia, from st elmo's castle, napoliAnd somewhere out there is an island called Ischia, which is where we are going next!

But first, a day in Pompeii… okay, I’ll do that post tomorrow. Maybe.

One thought to “Napoli Next!”

  • Luuk

    Hehe, you put in the slimy green butt photo, without remembering why I took it… 🙂

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