We started the day by taking train from Rome to Naples. While on the train, most of us took a nap to prepare for the first day in Naples. After about 1 hour, we arrived at our destination. In the hotel, each one of us received a Neapolitan Typical lunch box that contained five products: Pizza di Scarole, Timballo, Sfogliatella frill o riccia, Mela Annurca (an apple). Among all the four different kinds of food, Timballo impressed us most because inside it was pasta. After finishing our lunch, we walked about half an hour to The Greek Roman Aqueduct, which was underground. This aqueduct was about 40 meters below the city of Naples. During the Augustan Age, Romans dug and later created a 400 k long aqueduct. During the 17th century, the aqueduct was enlarged because of the growing population. However, people stopped digging and abandoned the 200 million square meter aqueduct. Neapolitans used this aqueduct again during WWII, and we saw few military relics there. We also saw some passageways above us. These long paths were used by cleaners to come down and clean the aqueduct. The most fun part of this underground tour was to hold the candle and walk through the passage way that led to the place where water was stored. The passage way was pretty narrow and low so we had to bend down. Also, the University of Naples even started a science program that scientists planted plants in the underground world. The high humidity let the plants survive and people use lights to act as sunlight.
Through the crowded lanes in the local neighborhood, we walked to the Greek-Roman Theatre, which is hidden underneath a ‘basso’, a typical Neapolitan home. The theatre was built about two thousand years ago. Accessed from a trap door under a bed, we entered the backstage of the theatre. The backstage corridor was connected with several arches. The bricks of the original wall was built with two different arrangements. One is horizontal and the other is grid. This technique is used to protect the theatre from earthquakes. After exiting the basso, we entered a carpentry, where we saw another fragment of the theatre. The Greek-Roman theatre covered by a huge residence of 40 families. The corridor was even once used as a parking lot for motorcycle. Therefore, on the ancient walls, there are several wooden windows. It is so common in Italy to see an ancient architecture on any corner.
Before dinner, we went to a bakery to learn how to make typical Neapolitan cakes (Sfogliatella frills o riccia), which have a history of more than 400 years. There are two different kinds. One is made in the shape of triangle with wheat flour, animal fat, honey, and sugar. It taste is more crispy. The other is made in the shape of round with normal flour, egg and sugar. Both of them are stuffed with cottage cheese and a little cinnamon. While waiting for the cakes to bake in the oven, the chefs made two traditional pizzas for us. Finally, we enjoyed the cakes and the pizza made by ourselves.
Right after we learned how to make some Italian desserts, we took the subway back to hotel. It was actually funicular which is also known as cliff railway. It has a cable attached on the top of the coach and also there are two cables on the railway to help the vehicle move up and down. The coach of the funicular is kind of similar to a tram, but it has stair shape when you see the inside. It was a really nice experience with this infrequent transportation. For dinner we had typical Neapolitan pizza. As Anna had told us before, the pizzas from different parts of Italy are different. The pizzas that we had were really thin and soft. It was really good, and the topping and cheese for everyone is different as well, it’s also my first time seeing a pizza that had French fries as a topping!
Written by Amy Guo, Selina Qiu, and Lucy Wu