We left Barletta late morning and got a complimentary taxi from the hotel to the station, which was a pleasant surprise. The station at Barletta is a bit dishevelled and very low platforms, this was made clear by people walking across the rails to step, not jump, but step onto their required platform. Now I know I am a bit of a scaredy cat, but all that I can think of looking back at it is this.
Luckily there were no incidences that we saw, and we scuttled onto our train finding a window seat to ensure ‘air con’ availability. One of our most straight forward journeys. However once off the train I wasn’t as charmed by the city as I was the others we had visited. As it was near dinner time and we didn’t particularly want to explore in the dark we grabbed a familiar McDonalds and ate in our room to the sound of a football game broadcast at the bar opposite, overflowing with supporters and some CSI Miami – one of the only T.V. programmes actually in English.
The next morning P got me round to enjoying Naples a little more, trekking up through winding streets with washing hanging above your head and to the catacombs of San Gennaro – or plane old “Joe” to his friends.
The tombs were like shelves lining every wall, with the odd one of nobility taking an entire wall to themselves. These wound through the mountain and seemed to go on forever, with even an underground church. The tour guide was amazing giving insight into the origins of the catacombs and the local families that were within them. I loved it and would highly recommend it, but coming out to the light was quite a nice experience too, but for those of you that are thrill seekers you could do a later tour and come out at twilight.
We wound back down the hills to the archeological museum, seeing a sculpture of hercules and the bull along with other mythical characters and stone casts aplenty. After all that walking we reckoned it was time for a well deserved lunch break tucking into a panini each, before we ventured on to another fascinating glimpse into Napoli’s history right in the back streets, tucked away, where you could almost walk past without noticing its existence.
This time at Cappella Sansevero, a church cross art museum, cross laboratory. As you walk in there is a beautiful church ahead of you. At the Alter lies the veiled Christ, a marble sculpture so life like you wouldn’t be surprised if you saw him breathing. The detail in this piece has caused tourists, artists and locals alike to flock to the museum.
If you can draw your eyes away from the marble work of art its well worth looking up at the fresco on the ceiling depicting a hole in the roof through to the skies, with cherubs and angels peering upwards.
But let us turn our attention to the other part of this building, wind down the stairs to find an anatomically accurate blood vessel shell of a human, referred to as the anatomical machines. The Machines were made by the doctor Giuseppe Salerno of Palermo, under the direction of Raimondo di Sangro, Prince of Sansevero. I read up on this before going and found out about the legends leering around the mysterious Prince of Sansevero and highly recommend you do the same to experience the full magic!
To put our day to a bit of a brighter note we went out and soaked up the sun along the shore walk and visited the castle – and I do love a good castle! And even better when you’ve got the warm sea breeze with a stunning coastal view! Give or take a few old wrinklies having their sun fix, bathing on the rocks. After having a good old fashioned nose around, finding canons and stair cases whirling around in every direction we followed our noses down to the foot of the castle. P had a neapolitan Pizza, and I went for seafood pasta! Delicious and a lovely setting with penguin style waiters, mini lighthouses with a candle in at each table and fish nets draped across the entrance.
However, this was the evening where my bag got snatched by a person on a moped on our way back to the hotel, I broke a tooth and had a huge shiner on my chin. Looking back at it now we probably should have just got a taxi, but as they say ‘hindsight is a wonderful thing’. Luckily I had decided to pay for dinner, so all they got was 20 euro’s, but it was my camera that really annoyed me all of my beautiful pictures had gone. Yes it did taint the holiday for me slightly- I would be lying to say it didn’t however, I refuse to let such a person ruin it completely. And the kindness we were then shown by the locals and the police was second to none – once again restoring our hope in humanity. We left the next morning for Rome to see friends and settle again, so missed out on our day trip to Pompeii, which was annoying. But something to go back for!
Despite this I did enjoy Naples, and would go back perhaps for a day trip, but I don’t think I would like to stay there.