lørdag 28. september 2013

La Floridiana, Castel Sant’ Elmo and the Bay of Naples

Tortoise pond in la Floridiana
On this fine Saturday morning we set out to visit ‘La Floridiana’ in the Vomero quarter.

La Floridiana was once the summer residence of Lucia Migliaccio, the Duchess of Floridiana, hence the name.

The surrounding garden is now a large park from which there is a splendid view over Napoli and the bay. The villa itself has been converted into the Duke of Martina National Museum of Ceramics. It has one of the largest collections of Italian decorative arts and works of manufacture - dating from the 12th to the 19th century.

The collection was founded by Placido de Sangro, Duke of Martina. Born in Naples in 1829, the Duke moved to Paris after the unification of Italy. Here he began to acquire objects of applied art.The entire collection was inherited by the duke’s grandson who donated it to the city of Naples in 1911; and so these treasures are available (at least to see) for common people like us.

View from Castel Sant' Elmo
In the afternoon we visited the Castel Sant ‘ Elmo, once a medieval fortress near the previously mentioned Certosa di San Martino.

We have heard of St. Elmo's fire, the weather phenomenon that causes a bright blue glow, appearing like fire from lightning rods, masts, spires and chimneys. It is explained well in Wikipedia:

St. Elmo's fire is named after St. Erasmus of Formiae (also called St. Elmo, one of the two Italian names for St. Erasmus, the other being St. Erasmo), the patron saint of sailors. The phenomenon sometimes appeared on ships at sea during thunderstorms and was regarded by sailors with religious awe for its glowing ball of light, accounting for the name.Because it is a sign of electricity in the air, which can interfere with compass readings, some sailors may have regarded it as an omen of bad luck and stormy weather. Other references indicate that sailors may have actually considered St. Elmo's fire as a good omen (as in, a sign of the presence of their guardian saint).

On this site where we now find the castle was once a church dedicated to Sant’ Erasmo, whose name through the years has been altered to Sant’ Elmo. Today the castle serves as a museum, exhibition halls and offices. The panoramic view of Napoli from Sant’ Elmo is spectacular.

View of Castel dell'Ovo and Vesuvius
from the Bay of Napoli
In the evening we embarked on a coastal tour —this time by boat— from the port of Mergellina along the coast of Posillipo to the islet of Nisida, returning to our starting point after a scenic cruise past Castel dell’Ovo.

Images from La Floridiana, Castel Sant’ Elmo and the Bay of Naples