After our wonderful lunch overlooking Sorrento, we pile in to the mini-bus and head back towards Naples. Again we pass Mount Vesuvius. That ominous mountain draws attention to our next stop…
The Roman ruins of Pompeii.
We climb down from the bus which is parked a few hundred meters away from the entrance to the ancient city. Giovanni informs us that we only have about an hour here if we want to get back to the ship on time. It’s like asking us to visit all the hotels in Las Vegas in one hour. Impossible.
Okay. Well, my Dad and I rise to the task. We both purchase our tickets and plunge back 1,932 years to 79 A.D.
The ruins of this city are amazing. Composed of giant stones, the Roman road we walk across has elevated sidewalks on each side. These roads criss-cross the ancient city in rigid lines. The ruins of buildings surround us at every turn, putting our minds inside that period of time. One can easily imagine themselves as a Roman walking home from a day of work. The place bustling with activity around you. Carts clattering by. Horses dropping loads of crap between the spaces separating the stones. Pedestrians like you heading home, just like the sidewalks of modern-day Manhattan. It’s surprisingly easy to imagine here. I could so lose myself on these streets. Each section of ruins has its own unique story. Someone’s house. Someone’s business. Someone’s life. For me, it’s cool to imagine.
We then walk into the forum, a large area of ground where the people of the city would gather. Standing in the middle of the plain, one can see evil mount Vesuvius peering over the ruins of the city’s temple.
Imagine the Romans back then, so use to seeing that mountain just standing there, being quiet, looking beautiful. I’m sure they took the volcano’s beauty for granted. Not having a clue until the blast shot off ash and fire from the peak. The people terrified, thinking the world had finally come to an end. It’s fun to think of this place as just a cool Roman city, but it’s easy to forget how many men, woman, and children parished here. But the one good thing to come from the disaster was the preservation of this Roman city under layers of lava and ash. A place where future generations can come and understand Roman culture. Hopefully by studying their world, it will help us understand our own.
Next we go to a giant house named the House of The Faun. Historians aren’t sure which rich and powerful Roman owned the place but it contained many precious works of art, many of which are in museums all across Italy. Here’s the main entryway.
Here is a replica of the small statue that was found here.
Here’s a gorgeous floor mosaic.
This floor depicts the great Alexander the Great in battle. Alexander was a hero to many Romans and no doubt the owner of this house was among his many fans. The real floor was moved to a museum. Still. Amazing stuff.
Here’s the main gate into the city. Looking back at it, I again can imagine myself a traveler preparing to enter the city beyond the walls.
Our hour is already up. There was so much we bypassed. The Roman baths. The large outdoor amphitheatre. More houses. More temples. It would take a couple of days to really explore it all.
I guess it’s a good reason to come back to Italy. 🙂
With frowns, Dad and I meet up with our group and climb up the steps of the mini bus and off we go to meet up with our ship. Overall it was a fantastic day. We just wish every day in life could be this fantastic.
Next up Rome!
For this blog entry I only used a few pictures of Pompeii. Click here to see them all!