Faun Memories of Pompeii

Europe 329
Mr. Faun Dancing in Front of His Elaborate Residence

“It was such a leafy wilderness; a place for fauns and satyrs, and where bats hung all day to the rocks, and at evening flitted over the water, and fireflies husbanded their light under the grass and leaves against the night”  Henry David Thoreau

The little Faun under the volcano.

When Mt. Vesuvius blew her top in 79 AD, ash rained down on the city of Pompeii for two days. The entire city was buried under 20 feet, encasing and preserving the many buildings and artwork of this fascinating port city for 1700 years. Archaeologically, this enabled the city to remain mostly untouched and encased in its original state.

One of the most unusual finds was this small bronze faun.

Faun Dancing
He Looks Alive!

This faun appears to be dancing lightly on tiptoe, possibly as part of a Bacchic celebration or one of religious ecstasy. His movements and form are strong and sure, his eyes fixed directly upward. I was drawn to the realistic twisting of the chest and shoulders and his controlled energy. He looks like he could awaken at any minute.

Faun Front Museum
Swaying Gracefully in Perfect Form

The fauns home was the largest and most opulent residence in Pompeii. It took up an entire city block and has been named “The House of the Faun,” after his charming self. He was the showpiece in the elaborate pool, standing as the focus of the grand courtyard. The artist is unknown, but this refined workmanship in bronze, with the muscular physic, has been traced to the Nile Delta, most likely Alexandria.

Faun House
Possible Composition of Faun in his pool called the Impluvium

Spirits of the untamed woodland, fauns were understood by the literate and Hellenized Romans to be connected to Pan and Greek satyrs, or possibly the wildflowers of Bacchus, the god of wine, theatre and revelry. They are mostly depicted in the pose of lilting gracefulness. Yet they are mischievous characters in Greek and Roman literature.

Faun National Archaeological Museum
Today he lives in the National Archeological Museum in Naples

The National Archeological Museum is full of Roman and Greek antiquities, many from Pompeii and nearby Herculaneum. You will find several sculptures and mosaics, including one of Alexander the Great also found in the House of the Faun. Be prepared to spend a good part of the day as there is much to see. I found it very well displayed, organized and intriguing. Most of the artifacts from Pompeii are housed here.

National Archeological Museum, Piazza Museo 19, 80135 Napoli, closest underground station, Piazza Cavour, Hours: Wednesday – Monday 9-7:30pm, phone (0039) 081 44 22 149

Pompeii Hours: April-October every day from 8:30am-7:30pm, November-March 8:30am-5pm every day

Pizza, Napoli Style

Naples Side Street- Searching for Good Pizza
Pizza and Naples are synonymous! 

We had just spent the day exploring the National Archeological Museum of Naples. A  big task. I loved taking in all the fragments of art and history, from ancient Pompeii to the early Romans. Although it consumed a lot of energy, it left me in a state of bliss.

Afterwards, winding our way down the Via Tribunali, a major byway through Naples, we found ourselves overcome by a colossal hunger for pizza. And of course, we all know that Naples turns out the very best.

Pizzeria-hole in the wall with people waiting...good sign!
Pizzeria hole in the wall with people waiting…good sign!

We passed several before we found this one, L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele. Founded in 1870, this pizzeria has been established here since 1930. There are only two true Neapolitan pizzas~ Marinara and Margherita.

pizza crew
Crew of the L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, keepers of “the sacred temple of pizza.”

So many can’t be that wrong! However, as I worked my way through the crowd, I found that I needed to take a number and wait. I didn’t hesitate, especially after spying Julia Roberts on a poster from her movie “Eat, Pray, Love” on the front door. Her pizza scene was filmed right here in this tiny little unobtrusive pizzeria. Julia Roberts and this many people certainly can’t be wrong. I took up my posts outside and waited patiently for 30 minutes (yes, I timed it. I was starving!).

Juliea Roberts besst
Julia Roberts inhaling pizza in “Eat, Pray, Love.”
We sat with locals
Lunching with locals is always the best! They know where to find great bargain food.

Inside were six tables built to seat four people each. We enjoyed great conversation with a young couple from Naples next to us. She spoke less english and was a bit quiet, but she had a warm and engaging smile.

Great Smiles!
Love Those Grins!

My husband Carl had a lively conversation with this young man. He is an attorney in Naples, and his English was excellent.

Happy Tummies, Great Company!
Happy Tummies, Great Company!

We did as the locals do and ordered what they did~Margherita with extra cheese. I was not disappointed. It was the best pizza ever. Since then I have been looking for the same pizza, only to come up disillusioned. Well, no better excuse to go back to Naples and gratify my cravings at L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele!

Pizza Michele sign
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele
Via Cesare Sersale,
Naples, Italy