BY TOM FRASCELLA                                                                                                                                     MAY 2011





Day four represented the most active day of touring of our ten days in Italy. It also represented the day when the group experienced the true depth and breadth of the cultural heritage of southern Italy. By some odd coincidence in History the marriage of the Bourbon King to the heir to the Farnese fortune and the discovery of Pompeii resulted in the arrival in Naples of one of the worlds greatest collections of ancient art and artifacts.

 Much of this collection now resides in two museums in Naples, the National Archeological Museum and the Museum at Capodimonte. As the history of the museums has already been written about I will devote this writing to display of some of the treasures we photographed.

 First the National Museum contains thousands of statues and fragments dating back to Roman and pre Roman times. Among these are many marble statues determined to be later copies of Greek sculptures whose originals were probably rendered in bronze. In many cases the “copies” are the only representation of the originals that exist. These later rendered copies are often termed Greek because of the presumed origin of the original or because the artists copying the original were said to be Greek artists. Indeed there were during Roman times Greek artists sculpting in Greece, Greek artists  sculpting in southern Italy, Magna Graecia, and finally native born southern Italians termed by the Romans as Greek by virtue of the fact that southern Italy and Sicily were considered Greek provinces. There is little doubt that some of these statues are in fact the product of artisans that today we would say were Italian.



                                                               Statues on display in the galleries of the Archeological Museum




                                                         Statues on display in the galleries of the Archeological Museum



                                                  Statues on display in the galleries of the Archeological Museum



                                                    Statues on display in the galleries of the Archeological Museum



                                                         Statue on display in the galleries of the Archeological Museum



 Some of the statues had more Roman characteristics or subject matter.









 There were also a number of statues and busts depicting various Emperors of Rome including Julius Caesar the bust of Nero.



                                            Julius Caesar                                                                                 bust of emperor Antoninus Pius



                                                                                                             Bust of Nero



In addition to the sculpture there are many objects on display from the excavations of Pompeii. These include examples of fine jewelry and household items.


                         Examples of fine jewelry                                                                     Examples of household items  



                                                                                            Examples of  household items




                                                                                    Delicate glassware  and fine silverware


 Included in the Museum collection were a number of Roman mosaics recovered in Pompeii.





                                                                                       Roman mosaics recovered in Pompeii


                            surgical instruments found in Pompeii                                                 wall hanging from Pompeii
                                                 photo by Rich Steo                                                                                      photo by Rich Steo




 Included is a section of mosaic floor which includes the oldest depiction of Alexander the Great.



                                                                                       Oldest depiction of Alexander the Great



 I have refrained from including the erotica exhibits from the Museum which demonstrate different social attitude existed in ancient times.


From the Archeological Museum we drove to the Capodimonte Museum which as previously written started OUT AS A Bourbon summer palace exterior of the museum


                                                                                          Exterior of the museum 


 The museum has one of the finest collections of 16th-18th century art in the world. However we were not allowed to photograph the paintings. There also were many fine pieces of furniture and several rooms devoted to armor and swords. We were pressed for time and I did not have an opportunity to locate the jeweled sword, a naval dirk, and silver breastplate that were on display and were gifts from San Fele to the Bourbons.


                                                                                       Rooms devoted to armor and swords


Mid afternoon saw us leave Capodimonte and arrive at Pompeii. The weather was overcast an added to the somber and foreboding sense one gets walking through the excavations knowing so many people died here almost 1,900 years ago.



                                                                                                    Gladiator training area






                                                                                                       Interior of Roman Bath



                                                                                                 Exterior of multi story residence



                                                                                                                 Major city roadway




                                                                                                  Ancient Public drinking fountain




                                          Floor Mosaic of dog and cast of dog caught in its death agony during the eruption






                                                                     Casts of victims in death agony as eruption occurred




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