Monday, May 22, 2006
Other major attractions near Naples are the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, both of which were destroyed when the dangerous Vesuvius volcano erupted in 79 A.D. Pompeii was an Italian city and Herculaneum was a Greek city. I was enamored by these city’s stories after I saw a special about the eruption on the History channel a few years ago. I only visited Pompeii, because after seeing one ancient city buried by volcano ash, it’s enough, trust me.
Here are a few fun facts, Pompeii was almost completely preserved by the volcanic ash from the eruption in 79 A.D. Lava didn’t play a factor its demise; the rocks which rained down on the city and the volcanic ash suffocated and preserved all the objects, both animate and inanimate, in the town.
When the excavations began, one of the anthropologists discovered odd shaped air pockets containing human bones. They had a stroke of genius and decided to fill the air cavities with plaster of Paris. When they extracted the plaster, human forms appeared. The images were of people in the throws of agony. Some of the statues are truly horrific! Some of them show the folds of the dress; some of the statues even have their dogs with them, but they all reveal the people of Pompeii were caught completely by surprise.
That being said, Pompeii is a truly amazing place. If walking through a museumized city is something appealing to you, then this is the place! It really is an entirely preserved city. The mosaics and paintings on some of the walls are completely intact and even some of the floor mosaics still exist in places. The city’s coliseum and the theater are completely preserved as well as the military training area.
One word of advice, if you decided to go to Pompeii, make sure you plan for an all day trip. Take loads of water and bring food because once you are inside the city walls, there is none to be found. I spent about 5 hours in the city and didn’t see all of it. I only left because I got hungry and tired.
I am so glad I got to visit Pompeii. It has always been on my “top ten places to visit before I die” list.