Monday, June 3, 2013

RC3: Pompeii

Upon awaking in Naples, I had my first few Italian espressos, followed by the hotel breakfast, before we set off to secure a picnic lunch to take to Pompeii.  The guy at the front desk directed us towards an international market, which didn't really have the fresh ingredients we had hoped for (but lots of salted fish sitting out in open containers).  So we ended up wandering around for a few miles, checking out the Naples Duomo and lots of residential streets before finding a large and awesome 2-story grocery store less than a block from our hotel, but in the other direction (thanks, buddy.)

With a baguette, scamorza cheese (smoked mozzarella--Will's favorite), coppa salumi, a local orange, and a giant water bottle, we hopped on the train from Naples to Pompeii (stealthily avoiding the not-so-stealthy pickpocketing teenagers on the train station escalator).

Pompeii's Forum with Mount Vesuvius in the background. Imagine those two slopes used to meet at the high point!

Listening to an audio-guide, we meandered the old streets of Pompeii, noting the stepping stones across the streets, which allowed the townspeople to cross the roads, even when they flooded the streets every night to clean them.  The deep grooves were carved over the years by chariot wheels, which had a standard axle width wide enough to clear the stepping stones.

Not surprisingly, I was excited to see the mill to grind grain, and the pizza oven for cooking.
Mmmmaybe they cooked other things besides pizza in those ovens ;)

The ancient water fountains still exist, and they have been preserved and updated with modern water pipes.

The famous "cave canem"--"beward of dog"--mosaic, that we had learned about in middle/high school latin class!

An aquaduct to carry water across town:

One of the most unexpected sights were the large number of fast-food joints.  The audio-guide explained that many people didn't cook in their tiny Pompeii kitchens, so they frequently ate at quick restaurants such as this one below, which had holes in the countertops to sink the large serving bowls of food.

This is the interior of a men's bathhouse.  While part of the roof caved in from the weight of the volcanic debris, most was preserved, including much of the carved ceiling and walls:

The preserved bodies from Pompeii were crazy.  Plaster was poured into the cavities left behind in order to create casts of the bodies; you can see all the imprints of their clothing, and even the details of their sandal straps!

We picnicked in the shade by the amphitheater before finishing up the tour.

Everybody loves a good tavern!
From Pompeii, on to Sorrento!

Mount Vesuvius


  1. Pompeii was pretty awesome. It's crazy to see how they had lots of the same amenities that we assume are more modern.

  2. So they're to blame for our fast food problem?? Nice! What a cool stop on your trip! I remember some of this from middle school Latin and art history class. But they never showed us the awesome views from there!

    1. Haha! I LOVE the thought that we can blame our obesity epidemic on the Pompeiians!


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