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Miscellaneous Day in downtown Naples

My friend Miranda and I decided to go to the archaeological museum and wander the streets of downtown Naples. Not much to say, here are a few pictures:

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Oplontis and Villa Regina

I took a day off work to go visit Oplontis and Villa Regina last Thursday. These are the two smaller ruin sites, after Pompeii and Herculaneum, that were destroyed in the volcanic eruption of 79 AD.

I visited Oplontis first. It was one large villa (some incredibly rich person’s show-off summer place by the sea) that is largely excavated, except for part that is still buried under the neighboring road and a gun factory. The villa is known for its many peacocks that are painted all over the place as well as mythological themes up the wazoo. The walls still have a majority of wall paintings and the floor tiling. Archaeologists have put a ton of walls and columns back in place as well. And the villa has a gigantic swimming pool.

Then I went to Villa Regina, which is quite tiny compared to Oplontis and especially Pompeii. Outside of a large room full of partially buried, gigantic wine amphorae, there is not much to those ruins. The best part of Villa Regina was the museum on the property. It is not too big, but it houses some very important artifacts found at the site as well as some from Pompeii. You can see a full loaf of bread, various grains and nuts, fishing nets, shells, pots, a plaster cast of a dog, a cast of the woman who was living at the villa with her scarf over her face (as she was suffocating to death from the volcano’s deadly fumes), glass tear jars and perfume jars, paintings, etc.

These villas are nothing compared to the grand, albeit empty Pompeii, and the small, dense, tiled, and fascinating Herculaneum. My order for my favorite ruins is happens to be directly proportional to their sizes-Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis, and lastly, Villa Regina.

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Sorrento and Pompeii

I took a day trip to Sorrento and Pompeii just to revisit places for the last time before I leave the area. It was pretty much just how it was the first time, so nothing really to say. Enjoy.

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Sassi di Matera, Italy

Stones of Matera, Italy

Justin and I spent our Columbus day in Matera, Italy. It’s old town is known for stone houses and churches carved out of the caves and cliffs. It was also the location for several biblical films, including Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ.

The sassi are famous for having been continuously inhabited since the Paleolithic era, though it has been modernized and updated to include electricity, gas, and such. Back in the 1950’s the poor used to live there next to their stable animals until they got forcibly removed by the Italian government over sanitation, over-crowding, and safety reasons. Nowadays, rich people live there and dwellings are being renovated. Not only do you have to be rich to live there now, but you have to be fairly young…there is only one street for cars, so you have to be able to climb lots of stairs.

It is not a large place to explore, but it certainly tuckered us out as every street has a million stairs or is sloped. It is easy to get mixed up in the sassi and have no clue where you are going. I guess that’s part of the charm. While in Matera, we also sampled local artichoke spread, olive oil, red pepper chips, and wine. We also sampled some gelato…always good.

Some of the pictures are from the bus ride to and from. Cheers!

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Weekend in Roma

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We ventured to Rome again this year…just a weekend trip. There was a Pieter Bruegel il Vecchio art show with a few Hieronomous Boschs’ and Peter Paul Rubens’ thrown in the mix. Not bad. I barely made it in time for closing, and I happened to cut about 150 people and got a reduced fare somehow…can’t complain about that! I visited the Pantheon and briefly graced the Spanish Steps. Justin did not partake in the show or Pantheon, but we met up at the Spanish steps and went to a couple bars and hung out. Not much else to the weekend other than two long train/bus rides to and from Rome. Ciao!

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The Johnson Family Visits Naples

So the Johnsons were here for a week and a half. We wandered around downtown near the port and went to my art show in Castel Dell’Ovo. We went to Castel Del’Nuovo, Herculaneum aka Ercolano, and we climbed Mt. Vesuvius. We went underground Naples one night and walked through some Roman ruins underneath some housing that was illegally built on top, yet the city cannot remove the people and finish excavating.

The last weekend they were here we went up to Rome and saw the bone church (Santa Maria dell Concezione, used thousands of skeletons/various human bones to decorate 4 rooms…look it up online, they did not allow photos), Vatican City, Piazza dell Popolo (a main piazza in Angels and Demons), and Justin and I went into Doria Pamphilij Museum while the Johnson’s went to the Colosseum.

Most of the trips went smoothly, minus getting rained out for Capri the first weekend…which the Johnsons made up during the week while Justin and I were at work. My favorite thing was probably climbing Mt. Vesuvius…though seeing Deb’s reaction when entering the bone church was pretty priceless. Enjoy the proof of our past couple weeks:

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Bella Napoli, Castel Dell’Ovo Art Exhibit

I went downtown this morning because I was supposed to man the desk at Castel Dell’Ovo for the “One Mind One Heart” art exhibition. Due to some translation issues I didn’t have to stay the whole time. So anyways, these pictures are from this morning, Sunday, before most crowds and people selling crap were all out and about…so it looks nice.

Visit my flickr account for my art pictures and details from the show: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jennybusch

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