Sunday, November 22, 2015

Naples Day 5: Churches, Piazzas, and the Harbor

Once we'd seen the Archaeological Museum, Cappella Sansevero, and Santa Chiara, the only remaining "top sight" (according to Reid's Italy) was Certosa di San Martino at Castel Sant'Elmo--and after catching a glimpse of the castle, we decided we just didn't have it in us to make our way all the way up there and back.

Castel Sant'Elmo, as seen from Piazza del Plebiscito
Instead, we wandered into a couple of random churches (which proved to be a wonderful choice) before making our way down to the bay. 

First was Chiesa del Gesu Nuovo, which has a very unusual stone facade dating to the 14th century. This is how overwhelmed we were by the sheer number of beautiful and/or interesting things we saw: I totally don't even remember noticing the front of this church; I didn't really *see* it until I was searching Google Maps and Flickr trying to figure out what church I'd taken interior pictures of.

photo: flickr/mweav31
How in the world did I miss this, right?!
photo: flickr/aprileclark

The inside: yet another breathtaking Italian cathedral...

With my very limited knowledge of Italian, I was able to read this sign: "He was born for us."
We walked down near Castel Nuovo, which had restorations/excavations going on all around it.

Then, docked in the harbor, we saw "our" cruise ship--the one we'd booked a cruise on in the first place, before our plans fell through. We found this endlessly amusing, that our would-be cruise mates were enjoying excursions in Naples the same day we were exploring the city. We had to take a selfie in front of it :) 

We wandered around by the water a bit and admired Vesuvius:

Then we walked back up to Piazza del Plebiscito, Naples' largest public square. It reminded me a bit of St. Peter's Square in the Vatican:
The church in the center is Basilica Reale San Francesco di Paola. It's very similar to the Pantheon in Rome, with an impressive dome; photography wasn't allowed inside, but I found these Creative Commons photos on Flickr:

photo: flickr/castefoto

photo: flickr/castefoto

As it happened, we stumbled upon another wedding! While we were looking around, a small ceremony began with an old couple--I don't know if it was a vow renewal or a couple getting married late in life, but it was adorable :) We ducked back out and took a rest on the steps, watching a group of boys play soccer in the piazza before setting out to find dinner.

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