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Ciao Pompeii

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Published: June 23rd 2017

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Geo: 40.7492, 14.5007

We had lovely breakfast in the balcony and I could linger in the balcony whole day for the amazing views of Capri but we had to leave today. We really enjoyed our stay at Gocce de Capri and Claudia made us feel like home.

We walked to Termini and bought the tickets from the shop for the bus which is on the same side as the shop, opposite the supermarket to go to Sorrento station. We were relieved that the strike was called off and the trains were running but with delays at the Circumvesuviana Train at Sorrento. We waited in the dilapidated grubby train for half hour due to the delays before the train started and it stopped at few stops before reaching Pompeii Scavi which took about 30 minutes.On reaching the station we went to the little information office where they take people on a mini bus to a private road up to Vesuvius plus the entrance for 22 euros.

The History of the Volcano

In ancient times Vesuvius was covered with vegetation and vines and was just a mountain. The first person to understand its volcanic nature was

the Greek geographer, Strabo in AD 19 who suggested that its rocks had been burned by fire. In AD 79 the eruption smothered the cities on its foothills and greatly altered the surrounding landscape. Ash and debris showered the Pompeii, and Herculaneum were buried by a landslide of thick mud. When Herculaneum was excavated, they had to dig 25 meters through mud before finding the highest rooftop. Today, the volcano inspires both fear and fascination and it is constantly monitored for activity. The first eruptions began 35,000 years ago. Further ash and lava flows built up a second cone, emerging from the middle of the original cone. Vesuvius was formed out of the middle of the old crater. Inside the crater you can see a white line in the strata which indicates the 1944 eruption.Today, 2 million people live in the “red zone” of Mount Vesuvius. In 1641 there was a big eruption like the one of Pompeii which killed 4,000 people in the red zone. Mount Vesuvius is the most dangerous and most monitored volcano in the world. Last year, magma was discovered at 3 kilometers. On the slope of the volcano is the Vesuvian Observatory which was established

in 1845.

There were about 25 people in the bus with few standing to go to Versuvius; it is not a bumpy ride but the driver drove like crazy making it bumpy. He dropped us at the car park where we were transferred into the small land rover type bus and taken to the neck of the crater. The walk is on a fairly steep incline of about 0.7 km on slippery ash with loose pebbles so wear very comfortable shoes. If you need to go to the bathroom go before as there are no toilets up there. You can rest at few points if you need to catch your breath; we took our time and the views were breath taking. On the top there is a free guide there, who explains about the chemical reactions that make the heat, steam, and lava. The volcano is desolate; the Fumaroles and the rock formations are lunar like, some of the rocks are hot but we did not see the steam in the crater vent. Vesuvius is the mainland Europe’s only active volcano which has been sleeping restlessly since 1944. One can walk the entire crater lip for the most interesting

views; but we gave it a miss as we did not have much time as we had to return back, the far end of the rim overlooks the Pompeii. The walk back was easy and it was really good experience of going up to see the Crater and the panoramic views of the bay of Naples were amazing. After we were back from our Vesuvius trip we headed to Pompei.

Pompeii is enormous and well spread out so do get the audio guide, or a guide to tell you more about each of the places, houses and buildings you visit. We found that many of the house and villas were closed off for restoration which was disappointing. Pompeii was once a thriving commercial port of 20,000 which grew from Greek and Etruscan roots to become an important Roman city. Being near the Sarno River it became a Commerce City with stalls, business and a resort for the rich Romans, who built luxurious villas, houses made of brick, stone and cement which were ornately decorated; with indoor plumbing, so you get to see the ancient architecture.

When Vesuvius erupted in AD 79, it engulfed the city

of Pompeii and its inhabitants with a terrible storm of cinders and ash leaving them under 4 to 6 meters of ash and pumice. When the remains of Pompeii were discovered around 1750 it looked as though a spell had been cast to freeze all life. The bodies of people were unearthed along with their houses, temples, works of art and everyday objects. Some of the streets, workshops, bakeries, theatre and villas are still in good state of preservation; Pompeii also has few preserved fresco’s and Pompeii’s best art and treasures are in the Naples Archaeological Museum which is a shame. We saw intricate Mosaics which were on the floor on the entrance of house of the wealthy as a welcoming to visitors.

The forum is a rectangular paved area of open space which was centre of the public life, Hub of Pompeii, where there were speeches, elections and other social events. Forum is the oldest part of Pompeii built at the highest spot with marble columns and floors. There is a view of Mount Vesuvius, adding glamour to its background which unfortunately was the same mountain that provoked its complete destruction. We also saw the casts of

victims which add to the human dimension to this site. The Forum is a good place to reflect on the past glory of a once thriving city.Do not miss the famous Pompeii’s many brothels, the house of the prostitutes, they entertained on the stone beds and stone pillows which on the day did not look inviting.

The public baths are an integral part of the visit to Pompeii; the public baths were available to all Romans, which was a form of discussion and socializing. The majority of buildings in Pompeii are insignificant, unimportant dwelling of ordinary Roman families but the baths or the “spa” as they worked almost 2000 years ago was interesting. There were pools for the cold water, hot water and the rooms were heated by hot air pumped between the walls and in under-floor cavities, with a furnace located between the men and women’s room. The changing rooms for men and women were separate and the shelves where they put their clothes are well preserved. The rooms were decorated in painted stucco and some of these decorations are intake

The Temple of Apollo is located right at the entrance on the left hand side, this

temple has not been preserved well apart from column here and there which is being restored, but at one time this might have been a beautiful temple where justice was administered, graffiti has been found on the walls inside of this building. On the other side of the temple is the site of the Temple of Venus, the goddess was the protector of the city, but in tandem with the fate of Pompeii, her temple was badly damaged in the earthquake of AD 62 then totally devastated by Vesuvius in AD 79. There is the bronze sculptures of Apollo and Diana which are reproductions of the originals on display in the Naples National Archaeological Museum.
I tried to picture the bustling city with Bakers, shops villas with grandiose structures, the slaves and the wealthy lived their daily lives and dropped in its tracks by the raining ash from the volcano.

Tips

* Take the Audio guide if not then at least the sight Map, please remember to take the map when you buy the tickets as it will be useful to navigate the places.

*Hat & also umbrella (For sun and rain)

*Emergency medication

*Comfortable shoes as lot of walking on uneven roads.

*Bottle of water.

* Food if you are going to be there for long time as there is only one food place on sight which is very busy, expensive and does not accept credit cards. A bottle of water is 3.5 euros.

* Wet wipes.

Our taxi came to pick us up to go to airport which was only 20 minutes from the Pompeii, we had lovely time in Amalfi Coast.





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