We have visited and walked on some of the most famous heaps of rubble in the world in our time; starting with the truly dreadful stuff in Rome thru’ the more impressive Parthenon in Athens to the awe-inspiring Great Wall of China. Pompeii we are happy to report, is near the top-end of randomly scattered rocks that once represented something else that you should visit. As most people know Pompeii was a sizeable city in ancient times that had the misfortune to be built near an active Volcano. On the 24th August AD79 Mt. Vesuvius blew its top and rained down a heady mixture of burning pumice, ash and poisonous gas on the inhabitants below killing most of them. But every cloud; Pompeii had had an earthquake 9 years previously and a lot of residents had not returned otherwise the tragedy could have been even worse.
I do not think that you can be prepared for the size of this site that had been covered and preserved in a layer of ash for nearly 2,000 years. It is huge, and as I write this drivel I can inform you that only 44 of the original 66 hectares have so far been excavated. For those of you that are good with numbers a hectare is the size of a football pitch or twice the size of an Olympic sized swimming pool. Hi-di-Hi
Whole streets are here and it is just fabulous to walk around and stick your snout in places and wonder what. Nowhere else gives you the understanding of how Roman life must have been like this place.
Bronze in the Temple of Apollo
Temple of Apollo
The Forum with naughty Vesuvius behind
Tracy in the Forum
Boys eating sandwiches
There are also many buildings that have been recently restored and they give a great insight in to how they lived, bathed and worked. It is good to see they are restoring these great works of beauty in-place and not digging them up and carting them off to sit in dull museums around the world. These things should stay where they are found and not be moved. I am talking about every piece of ancient antiquity here, apart from the stuff in the British Museum obviously. It is also interesting to note that Italian Culture has not changed a great deal over the millennia as then like now it seems the people was only interested in food and sex. Granted the ancients also liked a bit of death as a spectator sport on a Sunday afternoon instead of a bunch of over-paid Nancy boys diving about in a football kit
Some of the new buildings restored and recently opened are jaw-dropping and if you have not been to Pompeii before or you went a while ago and thought it was rubbish then give it another go. They are doing a wonderful job of bringing history alive and it if you only have the time or money to see one Roman ruin then head for here. You will not be disappointed.
Inside the Baths
Entrance Hall with false door
Mountain tree and Wall
Road with cart wheel ruts
We spent a good four hours wandering around this place and at times it felt like a visit to the Ideal Home Exhibition where you can look around the houses and have a good old nose. You start to say things like ‘the Fresco on that wall is a bit naff’ or the mosaic is a bit cheap compared to Claudius at number 47. This place more than any other ruin sucks you in and puts you there. Our only disappointment was not being able to see the plaster casts of the dead people as they are off for refurbishment. We did see a foot though.
A couple of bits of advice before we go. If you are staying overnight then eat during the day, the options available at night are poor. It is better to do it a day trip from Naples. I have forgotten the second bit of advice. So I will leave you with some more photos of this wonderful place.
Me in my Youth
Newly refurbished House
Plaster cast of a foot, a dead foot
Bring on the Lions
Love to All