Luisa from our limo company, Sorrento Silver Star car services, suggested we take in Pompeii on the drive from the airport rather than return there another day which would save us both time and money. She also recommended an excellent guide Lucia whose knowledge of Pompeii and general Italian history was exceptional. We had a very good 3 hour tour of the ruins.
It was amazing to see this city which was caught in a moment of time when mount Vesuvius erupted in the year 79 and buried the city in lava and ash. Pompeii was originally founded in the 7th or 8th century BC. It came under the rule of many different regimes.
Touring Pompeii a number of different things strike you. Firstly and perhaps most obviously is the devastation caused by the eruption. People and animals are caught forever carved in the positions that they were at the time of the eruption and the agony and fear can be seen in their poses as they tried to protect themselves from the instant devastation that was forced upon them. You can see how they tried to breath in the all encompassing ash that was falling around them that was probably burning them and suffocating them at the same time.
The city was covered in over twenty feet of ash that solidified over time and Pompeii was forgotten until more than 1600 years and excavations began to uncover the city. These excavations have gone on for over 150 years. Many of the artefacts were stolen or are displayed in the museums in Naples or around Italy. However enough of the ruins and frescoes are left to show the majesty of the former city.
What strikes you then is how sophisticated society and civilisation was at the time of the eruption. Beautiful houses and mansions, theatres, gardens, frescoes, pavings, aqueducts, sewerage systems, the baths, the forum, basilica, temples, hotels, shops, markets, brothels and the cobbled streets. The architecture and engineering was incredible and ordinary life was not all that different than today. There were traders, farmers, shopkeepers, slaves, soldiers, politicians, and even the equivalent of what you might call fast food restaurants. In fact you can see the counter tops where the food was stored and served from little shop fronts to those passing by.
A truly amazing experience which was brought to life for us by our guide Lucia, thank you very much!
Some more Photos from Pompeii here.