Sunday, August 23, 2015


Pompei (I'm using the modern spelling)

I’m sure I’ve known about Pompei all my life. I can remember learning in elementary school about the ancient city that was destroyed by an eruption from Mount Vesuvius. I thought it was fascinating that the sudden cover of volcanic ash burned wood and other things, but the structure of the city itself was preserved. After our lovely dinner and the scenic drive on the Amalfi Coast, we headed back toward Naples to visit the Pompei site. Our guide was Rossanna, a loud, boisterous woman, who was perfect. She seemed to know almost everyone we met and knew much about the city. We learned that the ash was twenty feet deep and that the city itself wasn’t discovered until 1599 and again in 1748. It was an old city founded in the 8th or 7th century BC. It was taken over by the Romans in 80 BC and the eruption was in 79 AD. The tour was fascinating and we could have done much more, but we saw some of the highlights.

Stone bed in brothel

Pompei was quite a large city and it was difficult to find one's way around. People were illiterate. So each section of the city was designated by a sign (the area below is the rose). Each fountain was a different sculpture, so you could tell your friend "meet me at the goat fountain in the area of the rose". The Roman inscriptions were added later. This is Region Eight, Ins. Four (I'm not sure what Ins. stood for).

The Forum, central square area

One of the fountains

Plumbing! A lead pipe still in the wall

Plaster cast of one of the victims

Rossanna in front of one of the side streets that is blocked off

Amphitheater stage

The roads show the original stone work. The stepping stones at the top of the picture were to enable people to cross the street during the rainy season when the streets were flooded. You can also see the wagon ruts in the stones and how the stepping stones were divided for the wagon wheels.

One last picture from the cruise. This is Miguel, the bartender at the Molecular Bar where we usually stopped before dinner. He made me a Lucky Cat cocktail every night, but without the alcohol. It is topped off with liquid nitrogen, which evaporates, leaving the top of the drink frozen. Not to be drunk while it is still boiling! We became very friendly with Miguel (from Dominican Republic) and his associate Igor (from Macedonia). The entire staff of the boat was from many different countries.

Tomorrow I’ll write about our experiences visiting the Sistine Chapel on Saturday. 

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