Sunday, April 28, 2019

Pignasecca Market, Naples

Italian markets are often vibrant places to visit and the Pignasecca market that runs off Piazza Carita on Via Toledo in Naples is a prime example. 
It's invariably bustling with shoppers and tourists.
John and I have gone back four times.
 The cheese shops are laden with local produce and pastas.
The fruit and vegetable stands deliver fresh produce to the local restaurants
and household shoppers will find great, fresh, ingredients.
 Napoli is famous for its fish
 and Alfredo's is a perfect example of the variety available. We loved this lady in command of her offerings
and this butcher assessing his catch.
Across the street the fishmongers of Pescheria Azzurra 
 prepare cuts for their customers.
 Fresh Spada - a favourite of ours.
and clams
await Neapolitan cooks.
All are beautifully displayed.
 At Pescheria Azzurra don't pass up the opportunity to devour a cup of mixed fried fish!
 We got fresh calamari, shrimp, anchovies and octopus on the run. Hungry yet?
More challenging to the North American diner may be the tripe shops 
but residents of the Mediterranean love them.
This attractive delicatessen offers a wide variety of produce for the kitchen from wine to cold cuts 
and there are lots of bars to provide a yummy pastry with the shoppers morning espresso. 
 Of course there are shops of all sorts -- toys, clothing, linens, housewares and hardwares.
We dare you to visit the Pignasecca without falling prey to some wonderful purchase!

Our Favourite Naples Pizza

Three of the best pizzerias in the heart of Naples are on the via dei Tribunali.
Two have been discovered by the tour groups and it is impossible to get in without standing in a long line up. Dal Presidente is still under the radar and their pizza is superb.
 But don't leave it too late. Arrive by noon and you will be able to walk right in.
You will pass the master pizza chef -- hard at his craft
spreading the dough and laying the toppings on the wooden paddle that will deliver the pizza to the oven.  The dough is extremely elastic at this point -- almost liquid.
Into the wood-fired oven! 
This place is busy. Pizzas fly in and out of that oven non-stop. 
 And go straight to the tables, still steaming.
The ground floor fills up fast, but the basement is large
and there are plenty of staff to ensure that your pizza is hot and your drinks are on the table.
 Buon appetito!
I'm having a Margherita alla bufala -- fresh tomato sauce, delicious mozzarella and basil.
 I like to cut it in quarters and fold each quarter over as I eat. Note the lovely scorched bottom of the crust. The mozzarella has a wonderful chewy texture.
 This one is a basic margherita with the addition of fried eggplant (melanzana)
Third variation -- marinara sauce, basil and anchovies (alici). 
Oh, those anchovies!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

In the Archaeological Museum, Naples

The National Archaeological Museum in Naples is one of the finest museums in the country, easily on par with the museums of Rome.
John and I spent our first visit entirely on the top floor, looking at frescos. On our return we looked at mosaics and sculpture. These mosaics are from the House of the Dancing Faun in Pompeii -- and there is the faun himself.
Their mosaics on theatrical themes are delightful.
John got this great detail from a mosaic of well-observed Pompeian fish.
 I was drawn to this panther paired with Dionysian cult paraphernalia
and John got a lovely detail with his phone. 
 Many mosaics feature scenes of the Nile. The artist has certainly sharpened the teeth of the hippopotamus.
Look at this decorative wall niche from Pompeii. Stunning. 
Let's go on to the sculpture rooms. The famous Farnese Hercules is topped by a modern canopy by Chinese artist, Cai Guo-Qiang. We approve of the recent curatorial trend of introducing modern artworks into historical collections.
Here John and I used each other to illustrate the size of the marble figures from the Vesuvian sites. John has paired me with a monumental figure of Pomona.
 and I have placed him with a Warrior with Child (Achilles and Troilus) from early 3rd century AD.
 Visitors are intrigued by the powerful Harmodios and Aristogeiton, the tyrant slayers.
Here is a detail.
Not sure what visitors make of this rather possessive dolphin.
Or this amorous faun from the Villa dei Papyri in Herculaneum.
A dog of Imperial Rome.
Ganymede with the Eagle. Always fun to see people and their pets.
 Apollo with lyre, First century AD copy of a Greek original.
 At present there is a special exhibition of Canova's Neoclassical sculpture. John caught this family of admirers absorbed in their audio-guide in front of one of his athletes.
Some major works from the collection are currently at the Hermitage in Russia. We missed seeing this bronze runner. John photographed this book cover because this striking image is an inspiration to our own photography.