"Everyone knows the more you wear pearls, little by little they become real....And isn't it the same with memories?" - The Madwoman of Chaillot

Thursday, April 8, 2010


First views from the breakfast terrace

Was going to label this day "another old ruin, another pretty church" since we were going to Pompeii and figured we'd seen it all.
Pompeii is amazing. For those who don't know, Pompeii was a thriving commercial port city for several hundred years until Aug 24 in 79AD when nearby Mt Vesuvius blew, burying Pompeii under ash and rock. It was no longer near the sea and undiscovered until the 16th century. Some people escaped but others remained or returned for their belongings and died of the poisonous gasses. Where bodies were found they were able to fill in the spaces where decay had taken place under the ash and debri and get a plaster cast of the people complete with an outline of clothing.

About 2/3 of the site has been excavated so far.

Ok, this is not just another ruin or old building. This is partially at least a picture of a city that just went to sleep one day. Artifacts found in each store or house identified what they were- we can see bakeries, fast food stores, public baths, wool merchants, fish sellers, even the identity of the owners of some houses. It was a town of 20,000 and with such "modern" conviences as running water, sliding doors, reflective pieces in the road to illuminate the road at night, system of weights to regulate and establish standards for weighing. They did run waste water to the streets but they were flushed daily and stones at "crosswalks" allowed people to avoid stepping in the sewer. Baths were taken daily and these people lived to be 80 yrs old if they survived childhood - much like us. Statues found here rival the best of the Renaissance - so much was lost in the dark ages!! Think where we might be had that not intervened.
So two pictures but the best are coming. One point - at the time of the eruption, buildings were all covered with Mable facade and often adorned with paintings and statues - much of this was removed by early scavengers who used the marble for new buildings.

This excursion took us 25 min to walk to the Circumvesuviana train, 15 min wait for the train, 30 min ride, 2 hour tour, maybe an hour more on our own (seeing everything would have taken 6-7 hours), 30 min back and probaby an hour to walk back UP to the hotel including a gelato stop and one for some groceries - we just had wine, cheese, meat and some bruschetta crackers and relaxed watching the sea. Then there were big fireworks in Sorrento - again other camera worked better on that.

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