Monday, April 29, 2013

Napoli Tour #1

First stop on our Napoli tour was Caserta Palace or Reggia de Caserta in Italian!  This palace was designed by Charles III of Bourbon who wanted to emulate the courts similar to Versailles and Potsdam.  Designed by Luigi Vanvitelli he created the palace and parkland.  Luigi died before completion, his son Cario made some alterations to his father's plan.  The Palace itself was grand and the colors in each room were beautiful.  The gold Throne Room with its beautiful frescoes left even the youngest on our Team a little in awe.  The tour consisted of going through the Royal Apartments, similar to other palace or castle tours, ended with the amazing Nativity Scene.  This display was beyond anything I have every seen and was worth going through the "boring" rooms (said by #2).  Poor kids, having to travel around Europe seeing things you learn in History books... someday they will thank us for dragging them.  The Park of The Royal Palace was a little bit of heaven in the middle of the city.  Also designed by Vanvitelli, he used the natural conditions to create a series of launs, thickets of evergreens, hedges and cypress, alley ways, fountains, cascades, bridges, basins and flights of steps to cover over 3 kilometers towards the hills behind Caserta.  To see so many people having picnics, riding bikes, walking around, and just enjoying the beauty was just what we needed after the long, wet winter we had.  We will be back for another visit to check out more of the park.

Second stop, Herculaneum.  Much like the more popular Pompeii, the town was destroyed when Vesuvius erupted in 79AD.  Unlike Pompeii that was covered with the ash, Herculaneum was buried under volcanic lava which solidified within a short space of time.  Discovered by chance in the 18th century since the solidification of the lava tuned everything into hard, rock like strata.  Herculaneum shows the intimate appearance of the buildings, how everyday life was preserved because of the closeness.  Within this small area you will find a full variety of places: villas, baths, shops, streets-very thing you would see in an ancient town.  Herculaneum, according to myth, was founded by Hercules.  The town does have Greek origins, coming into existence sometime in 6th century BC.  The Romans conquered the city by 89BC and soon became a high-class resort with many wealthy Roman residences.

Such different sites here in Southern Italy from the lavish to the buried.  Amazing that between these two places is where we get to live for the next few years.  Can't wait to discover more of the places that are only a few kilometers away, the food is amazing by the way.  Next stop... PIZZA!!!