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murrayskinner Pompei - A travel report by Murray
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Pompei,  Italy - flag Italy
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murrayskinner's travel reports

Pompeii - The best Archelogical Site in Italy

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We visited Pompeii on a day trip from Sorrento in May of 2006. We brought along our Son (25) and Daugter (21) and their boyfriend and girlfriend for a 2 week vacation to Italy. Our visit to Pomeii was a highlight.


Thw wall and Porto Marina
Thw wall and Porto Marina
Pompeii is a vast archeological site easily reached via train from either Naples or Sorrento. The commuter train (the Circumvesuviana) runs at least every hour throughout the day. Pompeii is approximately 30 minutes by train from either city and the train stops right at the main entrance to the site. Do not miss Pompeii if you are in the area. Later on in our trip we visited the Coliseum and the Roman Forum in Rome and we all agreed that both sights, although impressive, fail by comparison to Pompeii. The ruins are in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius that was the culprit the originally covered Pompeii with ashes. The city was covered and undiscovered for hundreds of years. Some of the ruins record back to the 5th century BC and construction continued until a violent earthquake struck in 62 AD. Massive rebuilding took place for the next 17 years until Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, burying the entire city under ash and rock. It remained buried until late in the 16th century but the restoration process did not commence in earnest until 1748, and continues until this day. The site included residences, businesses, courtyards, public paths, several amphitheatres and an arena that held 20,000 spectators. Because of the fact it was covered under ash, the place is in remarkable shape after being painstakingly uncovered. Frescoes, paintings, roads, cooking appliances, and thousands of urns remain intact. They were also able to inject plaster into vacuums left behind replicating some of the inhabitants that had agonizing looks on their faces with the prospect of being covered by vesuvuius's ashes. We strongly recommend that you spend at least half of a day here and hire a guide if at all possible. We hired elderly gentlemen named Chiro who was fantastic and had a great sense of humor. Coincidently, there is fear that Vesuvius may be ready to roar again. As a result, the Italian government is offering residences 30,000 Euros that decide to relocate its shadow.

Favourite spots:
The arena held 20,000 people
The arena held 20,000 people
We enjoyed the entire complex. As I stated earlier the complex is massive. Some highlights were the Porta Marina and the city walls. You pass through this when you initially enter Pomeii. Another interesting site was the Basilica that was built in the 2nd half of the 2nd century BC. The building was were legal and business matters took place. The stabian baths were also interesting. This was the most modern bath at Pompeii. You could see how that the floor was supported in such a way that furnaces that achieved the warm water required for bathing could circulate warm air under it. It is claimed that the Amphitheatre is one of the oldest ones in existence. It held 20,000 spectators and even had an awning that shaded spectators from the sun. There were also several theatres, the largest of which is called the great theatre. It took advantage of the regular slope of the land and could hold 5,000 patrons that would visit to watch plays, and listen to music.

What's really great:
Phallic symbol pointing to women of the night!
Phallic symbol pointing to women of the night!
Some of the intriguing things that left a real mark were the cart grooves that were cut into the stone roadways over hundreds of years that are still very visible. We also got a chuckle out of the phallic symbol carved into one of the road stones that pointed the direction to the area where the prostitutes conducted their business. There is also a fresco portraying various sex acts that one could order by pointing to the frescoed act that appealed to you. With Vesuvius in the background, it also made it all the easier to imagine what must have happened to the inhabitants of this city with such a massive volcanic eruption. The numerous remains of inhabitants with the look of fear and the grimace of pain in their dying moments also left a real lasting impression.

Sights:
See the pain in his face!
See the pain in his face!
THe mummified remains of preserved victims!!

Other recommendations:
The ruins of Pompeii
The ruins of Pompeii
The archelogical Museum in Naples has a vast number of relics from Pompeii. In fact some of the statues at Pompeii are actually replicas of the originals that are housed in this museum.

Published on Wednesday June 7th, 2006


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Thu, Nov 30 2006 - 09:38 PM rating by lolaney

Excellent report on Pompeii! Although I felt that I should inform you that the "mummified remains" aren't mummified or remains. Actually when Pompeii was covered in ash & pumice, people were buried and the form of that person was preserved inside of the ash that solidified. When excavations began, one archeologists discovered that he could drill small holes through the ground into the cavity of where a person had been buried. He then poured plaster into the cavity, that when hardened took the complete shape of the person that died there. The bones- the only thing left of the person are sealed in the plaster and can be seen sometimes protruding out of the cast. Anyways, just thought I would add my 2 cents! I live in Naples and have been to Pompeii 6 times in 2 years! I am going again tomorrow on a field trip with my son's class!

Sun, Jun 18 2006 - 02:31 AM rating by gloriajames

Thanks for the nice report. It brought back memories for me!

Sat, Jun 17 2006 - 07:50 AM rating by downundergal

This is one place definately on my list. I really enjoyed your report.

Fri, Jun 09 2006 - 06:34 PM rating by st.vincent

Good information and a good read, interesting photos.

Thu, Jun 08 2006 - 12:52 PM rating by marianne

Interesting read and some good photos

Thu, Jun 08 2006 - 09:14 AM rating by davidx

An interesting report with an unusual selection of photos. It brings back memories [from 1976!]

Thu, Jun 08 2006 - 07:00 AM rating by rangutan

A bit short, surrounding area? (3,4*) Anyway an amazing historical site and not to be missed when on Sicily. A good tip!

Wed, Jun 07 2006 - 08:27 PM rating by quikflikchiq

Very interesting! Love the photo of the mummified person

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