Due Settimana in Italia
An Apolitical Travelogue
by Eric S. Piotrowski
Day Eleven: A Secret Room in the Museum
We slept late after the epic Day of Trains 10 AM late. No fan in the room in the room + serious Mar Tirreno humidity = damp pillow in the morning. I took a shower in the relatively huge stall, we ate some leftover pizza for breakfast, and headed out to see the city.
Beneath our hotel was a little cafe; the very nice lady asked through pantomime if we wanted to stand at the bar (which is cheaper), or sit at a table. We paid the extra charge to sit and drink our caffeine. Besides coffee and croissants, the place also sold bottles of Johnnie Walker Red and Moet.
We rode the Metronapoli (very clean, easy to understand) to the Museo Acheologico Nazionale. The metro stop had a little display in it as well; at first we thought maybe they'd arranged it so that one need never set foot outside. Turned out it was only an auxiliary display. (I wondered how many times a day the guard on duty says to himself [in Italian]: "Look, more stupid tourists who think this is the museum.")
The museum was quite lovely, featuring displays from all over the region including Vesuvius victims Pompeii and Herculaneum. Many of the items in the museum are recreations of older Greek works lost to antiquity. The place is filled with lots of very big statues (including the Farnese Bull, probably the largest single sculpture recovered from the ages. Some cool tile mosaics also adorn the walls.
In the back of one floor is the Secret Museum, which holds a collection of erotic art from Pompeii (not pictured). The works were locked in 1819 and variously opened and closed until 2000, when they were put on public display. (Kids are still not allowed in without an adult.) Some of the stuff there is quite bizarre (read: three-foot wang sculptures).
After the museum, we ate lunch at a spot near the hotel (I had my usual), then we read and napped. We woke up around 8:00 PM and had a wander, mostly down some huge flights of steps and then, when it became clear these led only to more houses, back up them.
Later, we ate gelato at a spot frequented by bored teenagers; there was much coming and going of chic kids on scooters. We returned to the hotel, read, and slept.