08 September 2017


We prioritized a visit to the National Archaeological Museum during our short time in Naples. We had heard this museum is considered one of the most important museums in the world for ancient Roman archaeology, and we wanted to see the artifacts on display from Herculaneum and Pompeii since we had already visited those ruins.

We mentioned before that our approach to museums is to prioritize the works highlighted on the floor map and then linger in the areas that catch our interest; our approach to Naples' National Archaeological Museum was no different. Photos below include a few of those items listed on the map as well as a few other favorite finds.

Takeaways: 1) The museum is smaller than expected. 2) We expected to see more artifacts on display from Herculaneum and Pompeii. 3) Not all descriptions are written in English. 4) Many of the Farnese Marbles were impressive in size. 5) There's a model of Pompeii that puts it's dimension into perspective. 6) The Secret Cabinet contains some unusual items. 7) It's not the best idea to visit a museum at the end of a long day.

^^ Hall of the Sundial ^^
^^ Farnese Atlas, the oldest surviving depiction of Atlas from Greek mythology ^^

^^ Flora ^^

^^ Sappho ^^

^^ Blue Vase ^^

^^ Blue Vase ^^
^^ Statues of Runners ^^

^^ Cave Canem ("beware of the dog") mosaic ^^

^^ Dancing Faun ^^

^^ Alexander Mosaic, floor mosaic depicting the battle between the armies of Alexander the Great and Darius III of Persia ^^

^^ Alexander ^^

^^ the Alexander Mosaic is made of about 1.5 million tiny colored tiles ^^
^^ the Secret Cabinet contains a collection of erotic art from Herculaneum and Pompeii ^^
^^ Aphrodite Callipygos ^^

^^ Farnese Hercules ^^

^^ Farnese Bull, considered the largest single sculpture recovered from antiquity ^^

1) Plan to spend about two hours here.
2) Spend some time reading about the collections before your visit.
3) Use the museum map to prioritize the works on display.

01 September 2017


After our visit to Herculaneum and a stop for lunch, we traveled to the archaeological site of Pompeii. Pompeii was another ancient Roman town that was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Unlike Herculaneum, which was buried in mud, this town was buried under tons of volcanic ash, preserving the city that lay beneath. Plaster was used during the excavation to fill the voids in the ash layers that once held human bodies, which allowed the final poses of the victims to be preserved.

Takeaways: 1) Pompeii was a very large city. It's not possible to see all the ruins in one visit. 2) The mosaic floors are impressive works of art. 3) Graffiti still remains on the city walls. 4) The lupanar (brothel) is worth a short wait in line. It reminded us of the Red Light District in Amsterdam. 5) The carriage tracks in the street! Pretty cool. 6) Phallic symbols were symbols of fertility and success. They were carved on street corners and entrances to homes.

1) Visit in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.
2) Sign up for a guided tour. It's helpful to have someone point out the important details.
3) Wear comfortable shoes.