Napoli - Herculaneum

Happy Holidays from Napoli!

We were inspired to go to Napoli (before our holiday trip to Paris), which to me is a little like time traveling to a place and space I think of as an essence of Italy, the way Italy used to be before it became so cleaned up and touristic, so newly painted and pristine. Well, maybe Florence was never as gritty and disheveled as Naples (at least not in recent memory), but Florence, Rome and Venice were a lot more gritty and showed their smeared lipstick and their layers of peeling texture much more in the sixties. Napoli has its own charms and also has nearby Pompeii and Herculaneum. We convinced ourselves that we needed that rich imagery for our work and also elements for a possible wine label series (Imagery wine; Bob Nugent - thanks, Bob) and while we're at it enjoy some relative warmth, both temperature-wise and personality-wise. Neapolitans are so warm and friendly.


Flew direct to Europe, something we haven't done in a while. Lately, we've been stopping over in NY and working. We'd forgotten how jet lagged we get with a flight that long. Stayed in an airport hotel outside of CDG. It felt more like the USA than France. Got up early the next morning and took Air France to Napoli. There is no way that you could feel you might be in the USA in Naples.

Entry; Herculaneum

Staggered out of bed, bleary-eyed the next morning and caught a cab to Piazza Garibaldi to catch the Circumvesuviana to Herculaneum. The poor cab driver got into the worst Napolitano traffic jam trying to pull into the train station. Everybody in the stalled traffic was honking, but him. Bought the ticket, found the correct binario (platform), got some decent coffee, the train pulled in and everyone got on. Only it wasn't the right train. This train was going to a totally different, but parallel town, which we realized after it started stopping at strange and odd town names. Got off at a rinky-dink little Italian town, walked into town, no tourist info, no taxi cab, nothing. So we went back to the train station and waited for the train back to Naples, which showed up after half an hour on the same track. This was a one-track town. There was a very nice woman, who spoke no English, who tried to help us. In fact, everyone tried to help us. We ended up transferring at Barra, a stop before Naples, and waited for another battered train to show up with no signage whatsoever. The commuters simply check with each other to make certain the train is going to the correct location. In our case, the final stop was Sorrento.

Got off at the correct stop: Ercolano Scavi (excavations). After lunch, first things first, we finally strolled down to Herculaneum. Don and I had a little disagreement; he was pretty sure we had been to Herculaneum. I was pretty sure we had not. As we approached, walking down the hill, past contemporary housing, and looked over the railing to see the excavations, he realized that, indeed, we had not been to Herculaneum before. (Don: as usual, she was right and I was wrong…it's better that way. I was right once; she hated it.). We also realized that there was almost no one at the site. Then almost on cue, the clouds dispersed and the sun came out. It was almost thrilling as I felt the only thing that could really mess up our journey would be rainy days and resulting bad or no photos.

We seem to spend much of our time in Napoli and vicinity wandering around and getting lost. All an adventure. More later. Enjoy your holidays, everyone!


Era and Don