Most Americans have heard about Pompeii and its burial under the lavaflows of Mount Vesuvius in the times of ancient Rome. But what one hears second hand about the insights to life in Roman times fails in comparison to seeing it in person. The advancements of Roman civilization -- with its technology, organization, art, and decadence -- are all on display, and it's absolutely fantastic.
The city is so remarkably well-preserved it is astouding. Many of the buildings are intact, although the below photo shows that some restoration work has been done. The cobblestone roads (with the gutters pushing sewage down both sides) were in excellent shape. And of course, Vesuvius continues to loom in the background, standing tall and proud over the destruction it caused so long ago.
Guided tours include visits inside a number of buildings -- ancient bakeries, houses, bathhouses, and villas where the nobles lived. One of the villas provides some great insights into the Roman version of luxury. Visitors can see a dining room where three couches would have laid -- the diners merely picked food off plates and tossed the garbage onto the floor, which was slanted so the servants could easily sweep the garbage into a gutter. Visitors can also see (if they choose to) rooms filled with erotic art, which was quite commonplace in those days.
The public bathhouse, shown below, was very fascinating and consisted of several rooms, each very artistically decorated (and thankfully much of the decor preserved).
Visitors will also pass by a warehouse filled with smaller artifacts, such as clay pots, urns, and other items. Also on display are several human remains, fully encased in volcanic rock, such as the 16-year-old pregnant lady shown in the next picture.
Pompeii was a great place to visit... definitely a unique experience. Be sure to include it in any visit to the west-central coast of Italy.
Trip taken 3 September 2000 -- Page last updated 01 September 2006 -- (C) 2001 Tom Galvin