Naples is the third port of call in Italy on the cruise and one that I was looking forward to. I cannot exactly say why, but it is just the name that kind of catches your attention. Plus maybe a little bit to see if the Pizza is better in Naples, the so-called home of pizza.
The ship arrived in Naples on a Sunday which made a considerable difference to the experience I think. Being the only ship in port also made a great difference to the number of tourists around the city. Starting out this morning was made most difficult by the lack of a decent map combined with the twisting and turning of the streets.
However, through the best efforts of asking directions from a police officer and some luck, I accidently found the tourist information office. I think it is much to do with the many little laneways that make a good map essential or at least a little research in advance. The first and most prominent thing I noticed was just how dirty the city seemed to be.
The laneways around Naples are not just limited to flat streets. As you can see below, they take on stairs to combat the slope of the countryside. It does seem to be fairly common in Europe I am finding as I visit more cities.
New Church Of Christ
There are two main features to the square in front of Chiesa del Gesu Nuovo (New Church of Christ). First is the building itself, it has quite a unique and dominating facade. The exterior does not in anyway even indicate just what you find when you go inside.
When you go inside the church, almost every surface is crafted from marble. There were so many different colours and not what you would expect from the outside.
The other feature of the square, one that dominated the area is the Spire of the Immaculate. It did not look overly impressive today with the clouds. I wish I had been able to visit the area at night, as pictures from postcards are just amazing.
In The Details
It is something that I have said before, but Europe is somewhere you need to keep your eyes open. There are little details and interesting sights just about everywhere. While some of it is right in front of you, there is also some random things you will find in little back laneways. Such as this small stall selling fruit and vegetables, it looks makeshift, but I suspect it is anything but.
Another little detail you come across is some of the amazingly vibrant colours that just appear in the middle of the sea of grey. While the stone used in many buildings is impressive, it can be bland, unless a splash of colour is added. Thankfully some people do add the colour, sometimes a whole building, other times just a highlight.
The Scale Of Things
On other occasions, it is not so much the details, but the grandeur or scale of a building that captures the eye. In particular the shopping arcade in Naples by the name of Galleria Umberto. You might be thinking ok a shopping arcade it is nothing special. The difference is the arcade is surrounded by three-story tall stone buildings, with a vaulted glass ceiling.
The facades of the buildings are not just the regular layer upon layer of shops. They are stone facades that incorporate columns and stonework, with statues. They have been created for style and impact, rather than any functional purpose I can see. The highlight for me though was the mosaic which covers the entire floor of the arcade. The central highlight is an eight pointed compass, surrounded by the 12 signs of the zodiac.
I have mixed feelings about my time in Naples. There are some nice aspects to the visit, seeing some of the sights and trying the local pizza. However, there were some things that were a little off-putting as well such as the rubbish and dirtiness of some areas. It could be somewhere that I will return, maybe on another cruise one day.