Today started with one of those episodes which only serve to prove the stereotype. My 10 minute walk to the entrance to the ruins turned into half an hour because I had my map upside down. The day got better though :)
Scavi Pompeii, the Pompeii ruins, cover a huge area: it was a city in its own right back in the day; up until 24th August 79AD when Vesuvius erupted and covered the town with ash and other nasties.
I started at the amphitheatre end of the ruins. You know, the one where Pink Floyd recorded Live At Pompeii. It's nowhere near as big as the Colosseum of course, but more intact I think. I wandered round it for a while with Echoes and other Floydisms running round my head.
From there it's a case of wandering up and down streets looking at the remains of the houses and whatnot. Most of them are closed to the public and you have to look through metal gates. Some are open though and it's interesting to wander through them trying to work out what the various rooms and spaces would have been used for. Some walls have the remains of frescoes still. How they survived is a marvel.
The gardens have been replanted with the same sorts of plants, vines, trees, etc that were originally there. These were all burned away, as were the people, but archaeologists found that were they'd been was now empty space. So they filled the spaces with plaster and got casts of what was there originally. From the casts they could work out what sort of plant to regrow. As far as possible, they've replanted in as close to the original position as possible.
There are also casts of people who were caught in the eruption. I only saw one of these. That was enough.
As I said, most of the houses are closed off and so are many of the streets. In some cases that's because the structures are unsafe but it's also to try and minimise damage. Areas have been progressively closed off since the 1960s when a lot of damage occurred.
The theatre was interesting. It's pretty much intact as it was always an open arena. I had a real Monty Python moment as I looked across at the small groups sitting around on the steps: the Judean People's Front, etc.
From there I came across the remains of the forum and the main temples. Vesuvius can be seen lurking in the distance. However, shrouded in cloud as it was today, it didn't look very threatening.
I've got hundreds of pics from the day but haven't posted many yet. The houses all start to look the same after a while, particularly the closed ones. However, it's a fabulous overview of life in Ancient Roman times.
I walked around Pompeii for about 6 hours but only saw half of it. I was really hobbling by the time I got back to the hotel - which I managed to get to without going the wrong way! But it was worth it.
And it didn't rain!
Tomorrow I think I'll go for a drive. I'm done walking for a while. The Amalfi Coast is just down the road.....
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