Pompeii, like much of Italy thus far in our trip, was a mind-blowing experience. So much of the original city has been spectacularly preserved, and the area it covers is immense. We had just two hours to explore this ancient wonder, and so had a very knowledgeable and lovely guide, Maria, walk us through.
I was so impressed by how ornately their homes were decorated — murals on the walls and meticulous mosaics on the floors. Much time, and obvious wealth, had been spent on this old port-town. Did you know the original city was much closer to the sea than it is today? The volcano re-shaped much of that coastline, adding extra land. It was a very important trade city in its day. Which explains why they went to lengths to accommodate foreign language speakers (check out pics in Pompeii gallery to see what I mean).
On our journey towards Pompeii, our driver, Salvatore, gave us a little insight in what it’s like to live in modern Pompeii today. He explained that the volcano is overdue for another eruption, and it is likely it will prove just as big of a disaster as it was when it destroyed the ancient city. There is one major freeway that leads in and out of the modern city, and it is just one lane in each direction. Can you imagine the pandemonium? I asked him if the possibly of disaster is of great concern to the current residents. He said that he has a friend who lives there, and during a thunderstorm his friend will get out of bed to look out of the window, to check the volcano. I can’t imagine living in the shadow of impending disaster — how stressful!
For those who haven’t been, I can definitely recommend visiting Pompeii — especially with a tour guide. The ancient city is very large, you could easily waste a lot of time wandering around. Our guide also added value by pointing out small details that may have gone unnoticed. Such as, smooth areas worn into the sides of the public fountains, where countless people have rested their hands for support while drinking from the flow. Crazy to comprehend!
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