Naples, Italy

Naples, Italy

When it comes to ports of call for my cruise Italy was the most intensive with 5 port calls in total. Portugal, Spain and Greece had three each and and one port in Croatia. Naples was the 3rd Italian port we visited in three days and was the only port in Italy where I did not choose to take a tour.

Being a Sunday when we were in port made things a lot easier. There was a lot less traffic around, and it seemed a lot less people, compared to the other ports over the previous few days. However due to the lack of a decent map and the usual twisting and turning of streets in Europe, getting where I wanted to go was not the easiest task and more so accidentally found the way, and a tourist information office as well.

One of the things that you tend to find a lot in Naples is little lane ways, this kind of makes it important to try and find a map, and it could be worth doing a little research, as some area’s I walked through looked pretty dirty and not the best area’s. However due to some event there were quite a few police around so did not feel to unsafe.

Laneway in Naples

The lane ways in Naples are not just limited to the flat area’s, it seems like very much a common thing in Europe that the cities are built with the flow of the land, as such lending themselves to plenty of stairs.

Laneway with plenty of stairs

The first main stop of the day was at a Church, situated on a small square. There were two main sights to see here Chiesa del Gesu Nuovo (New Church of Christ) which was quite an extraordinary building. From the outside the church definitely looked interesting, not like a church at all. Inside though the church was amazing marble almost everywhere you looked in amazing colours, not what you expected from the outside which was somewhat blackened from time.

Chiesa del Gesu Nuovo (New Church of Christ)

The second sight here was in the square, and really did dominate the area. This was the Spire of the Immaculate, a stone spire not quite in front of the church. While it does not look so impressive during the day with clouds, I really wish I had been able to be here at night, as the pictures on the postcards really did look great.

Spire of the Immaculate

I am sure I have said this before, however when you are in Europe you really need to be looking everywhere to see the details, to catch sight of something interesting and Naples is no exception. While some of it is right there in front of you sometimes it takes the random wanderings in the little back lane ways to find something different that you would not find at home. Such as the small store selling fruit and vegetable that I found.

Fruit and Vegetable for sale, not really like how it is back home in Australia

Just like finding small stores like this one, you can also find some really amazing and vibrant colours in the middle of what appears to be a fairly grey, stone city. While sometimes it is the whole building at other times the features that you find are highlighted in the architectural features, such as arches and vaulted ceilings.

Bright colours highlighting the vaulted ceiling of these archways

On other occasions it is the scale of the building or the grandeur that the building portrays that can catch your eye. There is a shopping arcade in Naples by the name of Galleria Umberto, and you might think sure shopping arcade, we have them at home, nothing special. The different is this shopping arcade is around three stories high, with a rounded glass and steel ceiling.

The ceiling in Galleria Umberto, Naples

The three stories are not just the ordinary store front and facade you may expect to see in a shopping mall in Australia or the US. This is three stories of columns and stone work, with statues and has been created as a complete design, with each element fitting in with the others. The other highlight is the Marble floor which covers the entire arcade. With the centre highlight, being an eight pointed compass in different colours of marble, surrounded by the 12 signs of the zodiac in mosaic.

Marble compass at the centre of Galleria Umberto

Naples was one of the places that I think I was able to see what it was really like the best, because I walked it, rather than taking a tour. I enjoyed the sights and got to taste the local pizza. While I think Naples does have more to offer it is not one of the places I would go rushing back to, however it is worth a look.

1 Comment

  1. This is one of two churches well worth visiting in the Piazza del Gesù (the other is Santa Chiara – see below). Its unusual façade is in a style known as “ashlar” and it is one of the few examples of this characteristic 15th-century façade in Naples. The shape also struck me as unusual for a church, and I read later that this is because it wasn’t originally built as one but as a home for Robert Sanseverino, Prince of Salerno, in the 15th century. The residence was passed down through the family for several generations but when one of them was disgraced and had to flee the city it was put up for sale and found its way into the hands of the Jesuits who converted it into a church.The contrast between the sober exterior and the riot of Baroque decoration inside is what makes this church special. We couldn’t look round as fully as I‘d have liked as a Mass was being said, but we did explore the western side aisle with its stunning ceilings. At its far end we came across a little side chapel tucked away which was covered all over its walls and ceiling with metallic plates symbolising various body parts – legs, arms, heads, even breasts, as well as whole babies. It appears that the saint to whom the chapel is dedicated, St Ciro, is known for his ability to heal the sick, and these medallions were each a sign of someone’s prayer.We didn’t however manage to see properly the frescos on the ceiling of the central nave, by Belisario Corenzio and Paolo de Matteis, nor the painting of The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple (1725) one of the most noteworthy works by Francesco Solimena, the great painter of the Neapolitan Baroque. Nevertheless I enjoyed my visit to this inspiring church.Do open my extra photos to get the full effect of the contrast between exterior and interior.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>