Naples:life,death &
                Miracle contact: Jeff Matthews

entry Apr. 2003

onuments in May

This weekend will mark the beginning of the "Monuments in May" festivities in Naples. It's a month-long bath of culture, an attempt to open everything in the city that can be opened—all the museums, churches, and archaeological sites. The larger ones are usually open all year round, but in May the city makes an extra effort to put the city's considerable cultural wealth on display for tourists. 

Many of the sites are separated into "itineraries," broken down by centuries, with maps and markers indicating that this or that church is part of the "17th–century route," for example. The ancient archaeological sites outside the city, such as Herculaneum and Pompeii, of course, need no introduction; lesser known ones, such as Oplontis (near Pompeii) and the excavated Roman market below the church of San Lorenzo at the crossroads of the historic center of the Naples, itself, can expect tourist traffic much heavier than usual. Unusual sites—the Bourbon Poorhouse, for example—what was to be a self-contained and self-sustaining institution for the indigent in the 17th and 18th centuries, and is today a five-story, 300-meter-long white elephant dozing in the sun at Piazza Carlo III—will also be open. This is the month you can get in to walk through the ancient Seiano tunnel beneath Posillipo from the Bagnoli entrance all the way through and up onto some wealthy gentleman's private property on the Posillipo side, which features the ruins of a Greek amphitheater that, 2,000 years ago, belonged to Vedius Pollio, a wealthy Roman gentleman in his own right.

The papers are already complaining about the confusion. A reporter from Il Mattino claims he stood in beautiful wide-open Piazza Plebiscito in front of the Royal Palace for one hour and counted 119 motor-scooters racing across and around the square, nominally a pedestrian zone. The front page featured a photo of one young punk, reared up on the back wheel of his bike and doing a "wheelie" across the square. Not a cop in sight, said the paper. Piano wire stretched at neck level might help make up for the city's lack of commitment to make Naples more visitable. The reporter didn't say that; that's just a friendly suggestion.

another entry from 2015 here

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