One of the beautiful dioramas on display at the Festival Pane, Amore, e Fantasia The Chiesa (Church) di San Vincenzo all Sanità below which lies the catacombs of Catacombe di San Gaudioso. Who would guess that below the exquisite décor of this church lies the dark, grey, cold chambers of death. True it’s part of life and history but it’s one thing I don’t appreciate being reminded of. But life is for the livings so on to one of the most luxurious and special hotels--the the Hotel Vesuvio. This is luxury without intimidation. The Caruso Suite requires $1900 a night. Of course the balcony has a view of Mt. Vesuvio. Everything is of the finest quality, from exquisite pink Murano crystal lamps and chandeliers to the finest granite in the bathroom, and beautiful woodwork. Pavarotti also stayed in this suite. It is said that Enrico Caruso died here but I distinctly remember my friend Judy, when we were in high school at Music and Art, telling me Caruso was her Uncle and he died on stage, I think at the Met! Be that as it may, I’m sure Caruso stayed at this hotel, even if he may not have died there, and I would stay in a heart beat (perhaps an unfortunate metaphor in this case). The dignified but friendly Maitre d’ at Ciro a Santa Brigida where we enjoyed fabulous pizza for lunch. lovely wine and label Clams Posillipo I’ve ordered mussels Posillipo in NY never realizing that the name derived from a region in Naploli!
Special noodles called paccheri from the town of Gragnano linguini with langostino & pistachio at Grand Hotel Parker’s where we had the pleasure of staying. Their restaurant, on the top floor, is first class and has a great view of—you guessed—Vesuvio! In warm weather one can have breakfast, lunch or dinner on the balcony. Christmas time is a great time to visit the area called La Sanita where there is shop after shop, many of which offer displays of amazingly detailed Xmas crèches for sale. A store front in La Sanita display of crèche figures This store specializes in silver representations of body parts. They are designed to bring to church as an offering to the saints to cure the specific part of one’s body that is ailing. This marble sculpture of the Veiled Christ “Il Cristo Velato” (1753) di Giuseppe Sanmartino, is the most amazing marble work I’ve ever seen. The Museo Cappella Sansevero does not allow photos to be taken so I purchased the post card of it and photographed that.