Monday, 1 December 2014

Roman Market Below the Streets of Naples

It is my impression that many cities seem to have an era from which they emerged. This despite historical evidence to the contrary. So, London feels to me like it sprouted in the eighteenth century, with its great neoclassical buildings that sprang up after the Great Fire. Edinburgh also feels like a product of the Enlightenment, and Stirling of the seventeenth century, whereas Berlin is more a late Nineteenth Century Wilhelminian child of the Industrial Revolution.

Naples however feels timeless, as if layer upon layer of humanity has lived and thrived and died here back all the way into prehistory. I have read that Naples is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world, and it shows in its jumble of diverse architectural styles and in the food and character of its multi-cultural and multi-timeband people.

You don't need to dig too far below the streets of Naples to encounter these layers of accreted civilisation, and the remains of a 5th century BC Roman market, the Macellum of Naples, below the mediaeval gothic church and monastery of San Lorenzo Maggiore is a good illustration of this.

Here are some photos I took of this strange time-frozen subterranean world:

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