No trip to Naples would be complete without a visit to Pompeii.
Standing in the main forum of Pompeii you can look directly at Mount Vesuvius, a mere 12km away, and get some sort of sense of the fear the people of this historic Roman market town must have felt when she erupted in 79AD. There’s something quite spectacular looking at Vesuvius from Pompeii, the town that was hidden under layers upon layers of volcanic ash until it was rediscovered in the late 16th century.
The forum is also where you find the museum that contains plaster-cast remains of some of Pompeii’s residents: men, children and dogs who lost their lives when Vesuvius erupted which is macabre but incredibly gripping.
I absolutely love history so the opportunity to visit this archaeological site wasn’t one to pass up. Whilst you can get a train to Pompeii from Sorrento and book yourself onto a guided tour or just meander the Roman roads yourself we decided to book a half-day trip through our travel agent when we arrived. Our guide, Ralph, was excellent – incredibly knowledgeable and so engaging.
I’d thoroughly recommend doing a guided tour if you visit Pompeii. The tour guides know all the best places to show you and they’re excellent at navigating the queues and finding alternate things to show you if you can’t see part of the site due to crowds.
I loved stopping to hear about this Roman bakery! You can see the arch of the bakers oven and the stone at the back where they would have milled their own flour. Archaeologists we’re able to determine that this baker was able to bake both brown and white bread in this bakery and that thet would have lived above the shop.
Walking into one of the best preserved villas in Pompeii and being able to see and touch this original Roman artwork was also an incredible experience. Much of the artwork was based on the theatre and whilst you can’t see it in this picture, and I don’t want to bore you will too many pictures, the boarder featured the painted faces of theatre characters. For me it’s things like this that really bring home the fact that this was a human town full of life before the eruption.
The theatres and the ‘lockers’ in the ladies spa show you what full lives people in Pompeii lived and how we still enjoy the same things.
We finished up at the Temple of Apollo where the poppies grow around the altar – such a striking sense of life in a site that was, for so long, a hidden world.
There are few places in the world where you can walk down original Roman roads and see original Greco-Roman artefacts. Pompeii really is a wonder of both the modern and ancient world.