My second day in Italy was Connie’s first, so I had to wake up and find my way back to the airport from Ostia Antica. I had a cab called for me, and made it to the airport with enough time to grab a cappuccino and croissant before Connie made it through passport control and got her bags. The Rome airport is not actually in Rome, but about 30 minutes outside of the city, so we had to take a train to the main Rome train station, and then take another train down to Naples for the beginning of our journey. Once in Naples, we had to take the Metro another stop to get to Giovanni’s Home, the first hostel we were staying in. This is the part of the journey where we met the other American girls. Once we made it to Giovanni’s, he had us all sit down and gave us a run-through of the city and the things we should see and do while in Naples. The hostel was really just your typical European hostel, but Giovanni really made it something special. He was such a character, and he had such passion for his hometown. His information session and map drawing really helped us a lot during our stay too, because we had so much we wanted to do and not very much time to do it in.
After talking with Giovanni and putting our bags down, we headed straight back out for the Napoli Sotterranea, a tour of the Naples “underworld.” Giovanni recommended it, so all 7 of us took his recommendation and went on the tour. The tour is literally, underground, and takes you through underground quarries from the Roman period, a Greco-Roman theater, cisterns, aqueducts, and caves that were used as bomb shelters during World War II. The underground theater was actually built inside of and on top of when the Naples population was booming and there was a law that prohibited building outside the city walls. Part of the theater was later discovered as someone’s apartment storage, so the tour takes you through the old apartment and down the cellar where it was first discovered. The cisterns were massive, and we were able to see the cuts in the rock where the “little monk” would put his feet to clean debris out of the water with his nets. Once the cisterns were abandoned, Naples started depositing garbage in the underground caves, and then at the start of World War II, they covered the garbage with rock, and used the area as bomb shelters. There was one well that didn’t get covered when turning the cisterns into shelters, and that was because the well was located inside a church. The Italians didn’t think that churches would get bombed, so they didn’t cover the well. One day the church got bombed, and everyone inside the shelters died.