Sunday, December 27, 2009

Naples- day 1: the city

So we completed our first day in Naples- and we made sure to fill it to the brim. The best place to start is, logically, the beginning, and our beginning effectively was at Cafe Gambrinus, because that is where we had breakfast. Less than a stone's throw from Palazzo Reale and Piazza del Plebiscito, Gran Gafffe Gambrinus has been host to frequents like Gabriele D'Annunzio, and Oscar Wilde. Then we headed over to Palazzo Reale. There was a ballroom there that would have been a fantastic place for us to host a swing dance, but awe well. It soon became apparent why Naples is extremely well known for their nativity scenes. In the palace they had a nativity scene that must have included over 100 figures. To create the effect of perspective, they sculpted the figures smaller as they went off into the distance. After that we headed over to Castel Nuovo, which was considered new around 1279 during the reign of Charles 1st of Anjou. This helped distinguish it from Castel Del'Ovo (Castle of the Egg), and Castel Capuano. The Castle continues to be where the city council meets today. The coolest thing there was the Baron's Hall, which had an eight-pointed star shaped dome ceiling. Finally we saw the Capodimonte- top of the mountain, from which we enjoyed spectacular views of the city and some fantastic works of art. There was a painting by Artemisia, of Judith slaying Holofernes that is spectacular. The artist was obscessed with having the perfect colors, so much so that it is rumored that she used her own blood to make the right color red in her paintings.

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