Sunday, April 21, 2019

Naples Apartment

Bill and I have rented an apartment on the top floor of this building in the historical centre of Naples.
 Our host, Daniele, was waiting for us in the apartment when we arrived -- bless him! 
 We went out on the small balcony to take in the view -- here of the Corso Umberto I -- one of the main arteries of the city,
At the end of this little vicolo there is a small restaurant and an old fashioned barber shop. We had our first lunch in the restaurant and later got great Napolitano haircuts.
Our apartment is a modern white cube with a ground floor kitchen and couch below a cleverly designed mezzanine with the bed, washroom and wardrobe.
 Let's look around upstairs.
 Very comfortable bed tucked away at one end of the mezzanine. That's the door to the washroom beside it.
At the other end of the mezzanine we have a wardrobe and dresser. Lots of room for our clothes.
 It is fun to look down to the main floor.
 Descending the stairs it is difficult not to sashay.
 When we rent an apartment we always look for a solid table where we can write in our notebooks and use our laptop. Note the good light above the table -- something else we prize.
There is also a good light over the couch. I'm currently halfway through Bram Stoker's Dracula and enjoying it so much I don't want it to end. Bill just finished re-reading Woolf's The Waves and is about to start the new Camilleri.
The couch is also directly across from the balcony with encourages much idle contemplation. This place is perfect!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Villa Poppaea

The building of the Villa Poppaea is attributed to Nero's second wife. The evidence is slender -- the name of Poppaea on an amphorae found in the buiding.
Ongoing building and renovations to the villa were interrupted two thousand years ago by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. They are now frozen in time.
You can get to the villa on the Circumvesuviana rail line (circles Mount Vesuvius). It is at Torre Annunziata two stops after Herculaneum, and one stop before Pompeii.
Romans liked to paint their walls with illusionistic frames around pictures. They liked vivid colours and amusing details. Do you see that little square over the arch in this orange-painted wall?
A closer look reveals a charming musician.
Under the arch in the same orange wall is a gorgeously realistic Hercules in the Garden of the Hesperides.
Bill and I had fun trying to capture the wall decorations.
The wall Bill is photographing is the wall on the left in this picture. This enormous room must have been overwhelmingly beautiful when it was first painted.
Here is another view of the room the Roman's called an atrium. The shallow pool is open to the sky.
Another example of architectural motif decoration with a closer look at the mask and peacock on the left.
The peristylium or "open courtyard" has a central fountain and the remains of chestnut tree that would have shaded the courtyard.
The chestnut tree is seen left of Bill as he moves along the portico.
Here is what remains of an elegant lararium or family shrine. It would have held images of the Lares, spirits who protected the fortune of the house. The Lares were worshipped daily.
This three-sided, colonnaded lawn faced the waters of the Bay of Naples and offered a quiet place for residents to relax. John and I imagined a pair of beach chairs for ourselves under a beach umbrella with little tables for cool drinks and books.
John searching for the delightful wall decorations that fill the house on the colonnade wall.
One of the smart, modern-looking, graphic designs on another wall.
Bill and I liked the look of this swimming pool. Large enough for lap swimming.
Steps down into the water.
The white wall by the pool featured these lovely floral images.
Birds, flowers and insects so delicately rendered.
We were deeply impressed by the richness of the frescoes
of garden plants and fountains in the guest rooms near the pool.
Poppaea would have been pleased that her taste has not gone out of style.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

A Walk in Naples

Come with us for a walk in Naples.
We walk down the Via dei Tribunali almost every day looking for lunch. It has both our favourite restaurant and our favourite pizza place. Posts for both coming soon!
 Tribunali is also almost unbelievably colourful
and full of locals
enjoying their daily lives.
 Excellent grocer. Good prices.
This antique shop is so crammed with stuff we are almost afraid to enter.
 But he has amazing things.
I just love the texture of life here.
Keep your eyes open on the Tribunali.
There is something to see every few feet and the play of light is a constant pleasure. 
Tribunali runs east and west. Now we're going to slip south down one of the many alleys.
What a lovely, quiet, local shrine.
 Keep an eye from side to side -- amazing visions abound.
One street south is the famous Spaccanapoli. 
I had better say something about this sculpture -- The Statue of the God Nile. The Nile is suckling a baby. The male head was added later. It's a long story.
 Expect regular rushes of teenage students negotiating that difficult road to adulthood.
And adults negotiating the business of staying alive
 while having as much fun as possible.
 Wonderful public works abound!
 A good place for old friends.
And the unfolding mystery of life.