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Posts Tagged ‘Capella Sensevero’

Tiles at the Santa Chiara cloister in Naples

Tiles at the Santa Chiara cloister in Naples

April 14, 2008: I had stayed on Capri instead of in Naples because of the garbage strike, but I still wanted to visit the Archaeological Museum. Turned out, the garbage was not a problem. The Museum, on the other hand, wasn’t as captivating as I had expected. Fortunately, I found a couple of other sites that could draw me back to Naples all on their own.

I took the  Circumvesuviana train into Naples from Sorrento, and then had more trouble finding the metro than I did the museum. Unlike every other metro system I’ve used, including Beijing and Moscow, Naples’ system seemed to rely on ESP instead of signs.

Mosaic from Pompeii in the Naples' Archaeological Museum

Art from Pompeii in the Naples’ Archaeological Museum

So, the museum. Yes, there were mosaics from Pompeii, several rooms of them. Yes, there were frescoes from the Temple of Isis. Yes, you could marvel at the Farnese Bull. But, much of the museum was closed, including the Farnese gem collection. And the “supplemental” objects from Pompeii, room after room, had no English labels and were not covered by the audio guide. Although I enjoyed one special exhibition, showing how finds from Pompeii had been used in paintings, in general the museum had a dusty, musty, uncared-for air. It reminded me more of the Cairo Museum than the British Museum. Plus the restaurant was closed. So, instead of spending most of the day there I finished up in a few hours and headed out in search of a late lunch. (I may have hit the museum on a particularly bad day, I wouldn’t advise skipping it.)

Statue in the Archaeological Museum

Statue in the Archaeological Museum

After pizza (and second-hand smoke) at the Pizzeria Belllini I set off on the Spaccanapoli walk from my guide book, encountering two absolutely must-sees along the way. The cloister at Santa Chiara, a serene square with low walls covered in majolica tiles – a profusion of hills, castles, ships and people just going about their daily lives – kept me occupied for much longer than I expected. Then further along I stopped off the admire the statues in Capella Sensevero – a quite remarkable “veiled” Christ, and Il Disinganno – a man entangled in a rope net. I cannot imagine how the marble could have been carved with such realism for the veil, and with such intricacy for the net, but the results are stunning.

Cloister at Santa Chiara

Cloister at Santa Chiara

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