|The Sirens of Surrentum|
We get a SITA bus, then the Circumvesuviana, then the metro to Cavour. We have got the artecard which allows us free travel and free entry to a few museums and sites, plus discounts. We use it to gain entry and for a discount on the audio guide.
One of the things I want to see are mosaics and/or frescoes of cockfights, which symbolise violence and decadence. The first room we enter, on a kind of mezzanine half way up the sweeping marble stairs, has two superb mosaics of cockfights from the House of the Painted Columns in Pompeii. One (below right) shows two cocks facing off with a table behind them. On the table is a pouch of money for the winner, the palm branch of victory and a caduceus, the symbol of Mercury, god of commerce, thieves and gambling. On the other mosaic (below left) a dwarf hands the palm of victory to the victorious cock. The loser lies dead, beak impaled in the sand!
|Two mosaics from the Museum in Naples|
The famous Alexander mosaic was there, too, taking up one entire wall, and some wonderful frescoes of ducks and hippos. The famous secret cabinet was open, too, so I saw lots more cocks! Apotropaic of course.
There is also a fascinating exhibition on Roman food, though I didn't really learn anything I didn't already know. We run into some Welsh tourists who got a tour from Sorrento which took them to Solfatura, the bubbling volcanic mud, and then onto the Naples museum. If I had it to do over, I would definitely book that tour. The coach is as quick, if not quicker than metro, train and SITA, and a whole lot easier, I imagine.
But the National Archaeology Museum of Naples is superb... so get there any way you can!
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