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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Birchenough

The Ancient City of Pompeii

This might be one of the only times I talk about a city that was once on the coast but is not now, but we were so close we had to take a break from the water and tour this amazingly preserved place. If you ever find yourself in Italy and in the south this is one place you need to see at least once. Some of the crew we were with had been there before and said they had uncovered more of the city since their last visit.

A bit about Pompeii ... it was preserved by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 77 AD. Yes preserved, you see when the volcano erupted the lava went one way and the ash went another way. As a result the city was covered in up to 30 meters of ash, thus preserving the city as it was forever. The thing about this eruption is when it did happen the people of Pompeii were going about daily life and didn't have time to react, so 1,100 people have been found either just their bones or a hollow out part in the ask that a cast was made of them so we can see how big they were or what they were doing at the time. In a way you could say Pompeii is a Italian time capsule that was opened in the 1800s and discovery of artifacts are still happening to this day.

Like any city there were homes, take out food stalls, bath houses, theaters, and bakeries. And all of these are preserved to see. The people who lived in Pompeii were did not live very long because their diet was not one we would like to replicate. Only the rich at meat and the rest ate vegetables and wine. But because their water source was fitted with a lead pipe and the majority of the wine was watered down for daily drinking many died of lead poisoning.

Our day in Pompeii took us on tour of the iconic places in Pompeii. Our first stop was the ampitheatre where no high tech sound system was needed. It was designed so that all in attendance could hear what was being said on the stage below, and there was not one bad seat in the house.

The theatre in Pompeii

The next stop was to a take out food shop. We know this because of the bowl indents in the counters that still remain. The people of Pompeii didn't cook in their homes, so in order to get food they had to get take out.

The bakery in the city

After that we took a walk along a street, where their streets were not like ours. Their curbs are very hight and the streets are all rocks. But where the "crosswalk" is the stones are raised so no one had to step down and up, they just walked across the stones. This was to accomodate the wheels of the carrots and carts that were used to move people around the city.

The roads of Pompeii, with raised stones as crosswalks

My other love is architecture, and did we see some amazing things. We visited a home of a wealthy family who's home was not only grand, has frescos on almost every wall that were still vibrant in color. This house also had a lovely courtyard, that one could sit and relax, or walk around. This home was the highlight of the tour for me.

The outside of the home, the frescos and the courtyard

After Pompeii we had the privilege of having lunch in a vineyard at the base of Mount Vesuvius called Lacryma Christi. Here they make both red and white wine and paired our meal with such wine. As you would have guessed it, lunch was delicious.

Lunchtime in the vineyard

Then it was back to Sorrento to spend out last few days before heading back home.

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