Capodimonte, Naples, Italy
The first time driving up to Capodimonte (Translates to top of the hill..which in fact it is!) you notice that it doesn't seem as large as you imagined. Don't be typical westerner, there is no parking lot for it and Capodimonte is an area not just the museum (museo) but also the entire park complex, and museum, and astronomy dome...
Parking your car near an entrance can be difficult. If you are approached by some guy in a white hat, don't be alarmed, he'll take your money to watch your car...so it doesn't get stolen.
The gates of the park of Capodimonte are large iron gates that a carriage could pass through. Naples is humid and Capodimonte is no exception. The road to the palace is of stone blocks (not cobbles, blocks). As you walk closer to the building, you realize how massive it really is with its stone trim and pompeian red walls, it's very striking.
A double courtyard is inside the palace building, a gift store, and surprise, an Italian coffee bar. An espresso is a must before you tackle the museum. Then to the huge two story polished marble stairway. The Museum is of three floors and they are tall floors, very tall. Purchase a "Biglietto" (ticket) from the totally disinterested museum cashier, who is more interested in talking on her cell-phone and asking her mother what's for dinner.
The museum itself is composed of a number of art and ob
Many collections will be closed and for that thing you really wanted to see, don't despair. Its always personnel shortages and they are mere State workers any way....So...Find a custodian nearby, and feel out their intentions as you explain that You are an American and you came only to see this and you'll never be back, and you'll pay ten euros...(try 5 euro first, some bribes are cheaper)
And the door is magically open, he tells you that you must hurry as he pockets the Euro. And in my last visit - he allowed me to take photographs, always hurry hurry, "Vai Vai fai presto". It was strange as we visited and he kept other people out while I was looking (Hey it was my bribe, pay your own bribe, its a fact of life in southern Italy and some of central Italy too).
wandering around the galleries and on the marble floors, suits of armor, the kings dinner ware, and the Capodimonte room...everything ceramic, except for the electrical lighting...
Plan a day to visit the museum minimum...and the park, theres a lake with paddle boats (yucky water) and beautiful pathways beneath the huge century old trees. overgrown and vandalized statuary peeks forth from the underbrush along the miles of paths, and there's a childrens palace for the kings children.
Time to go, if you are Italian call momma and have her "Butta la Pasta" (throw the pasta in)... or if you are now a tourist like me, go eat in some of the greatest trattoria's in the world.