Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Italy part 4 - Visit to Pompeii

We decided to take a guided tour to Pompeii, and duly went to the bus station for our 8.10 am pickup, where we joined the other 50 or so people on our coach!

Then followed a very long drive to Pompeii during which we were told about lemons being the local crop, and lemons, and lemons and I think that there might have been something about some kind of fruit, wish I could remember what it was called.  Oh yes, lemons!!

Finally we arrived at Pompeii for our tour!

These are part of the old city walls.



Then we moved inside to start the tour with our guide.




Our first real stop was the amphitheatre.  The first couple of pictures are of what remains of the stage.



These show the seating area.  The white marble stones are the originals.  Apparently the rest was rebuilt some years ago to allow plays to be put on here.





This is the passageway up to the highest seats.


Some ancient graffiti - it is everywhere in Italy, so why not here!


The streets were not named, but at a lot of the junctions, there were fountains with a water tank, all of the fountains were carved with a different face or motif, so you could say to someone I will meet you at the fountain with the whatever on it.



The streets have pavements (sidewalks) either side which are raised up so that you would be out of the water and whatever else (everything else!) that was thrown out into the streets.


The stepping stones that you can see on the road allowed you to cross, but also allowed the carts to pass through.


This hole in the kerb stone has a dual purpose.  It allows water to drain off the pavement and you can tie your horse to it!



The walls inside and out were originally plastered, so the odd mix of stone and brick didn't show and it didn't really matter how you built the walls.


Here you can see a rut that has been worn into the road by many years of passing carts.


Now, if you are of a delicate disposition, skip on a bit.

If not, read on.

We then moved to the red light district and went to visit a brothel.  Apparently the pictures showed the different services available, and you just pointed to what you wanted.





Now, I cannot imagine why you would want to stay for any length of time, as this stone bed is where the deeds were done - it must have been pretty hard on the back!


Another fountain and water tank.



This is a part of the original pavement surface.


A lot of the buildings were in a very higgledy piggledy state.


This road led to the Forum.



This fountain was a lot more elaborately carved.




We got some great views of Vesuvius from the Forum, but it was packed full of people so we didn't really stay there for long.




These square holes are where the beams for the upper floor would have been slotted in originally.







We saw very few mosaic floors at Pompeii, but this is one of the ones that we did see.


We moved on to the bath house.  These little niches are where you would have left your toga and sandals.


Some of the ceilings remained in place and were amazing.







This is one of the plunge pools.


This little chap held up another set of niches for you to leave your bits and bobs.


Some of the heating system embedded into the walls.



This is a fountain for washing your hands on the way into the baths.


This was the deepest of the pools, and the biggest.



Then it was time for a snack - not for us, for the Romans.  This is apparently the equivalent of your local takeaway.


The holes in the countertop were the top of a large pot which had a fire in it, and then you cooked on top.






This was a bakery.  The black things with the square holes in the foreground were used to mill the grain into flour.


It was then on to the woodfired bread oven for cooking.



Apparently 80 carbonised bread rolls were found in this oven.



Then it was on to the storage areas.  We only saw a very small part of Pompeii on our tour, and we went round at breakneck speed.  Never mind a walking tour, this was more like a run.  There is an exhibition about Pompeii travelling around the world at the moment, so a lot of the famous plaster casts of the bodies of the residents of Pompeii are not in place at the moment.  We saw some in the storage areas though, along with lots of pots and other items.











These casts were amazing and very moving.  They are not skeletons or mummies.  Archeologist's excavating the site discovered that the bodies had left a void and so they could fill these with plaster before excavating, and this is what the casts are.  A cast of the void, not a body in any way.





Then we were off on the move again to the final part of the tour to a temple.  Lots of questions were asked by some of the other people about where the churches were, they didn't understand that this was before any churches were ever built or even conceived.




This is a sundial.









This street with the little white stones between the large black stones was the main road up from the original port.  Apparently at night the little white stones would have lit up with the moonlight so that you could see your way.  An early version of cats eyes!


Then it was back outside the city walls and on our way.









 
As I said above, our tour was more of a run than a walk, and with such a large group it was hard to see anything or ask any questions.  It was worth the visit though, but if you are planning a trip, and if I was to go back, I would recommend going by yourself so that you can take your own pace as it can be a bit rushed otherwise.

Having watched many television shows about Pompeii over the years it was very interesting to see though and we did enjoy our visit.

Herculaneum is still to come.  We really enjoyed that and visited on our own, so my pictures are rather different from that visit.  Herculaneum will follow tomorrow!

Amy

5 comments:

  1. We did a cruise around Italy, and although we booked tours for many of our daily outings, Pompeii was one place I didn't want to be rushed. We took a train to the site, and spent the entire day wandering around the streets ... still didn't see it all! But we bought a book and read about things as we walked along. Sometimes gleaning facts from guided tours that were rushing past us ;) Such a marvelous place, I just LOVED it, and hope to go back again. A lot of these photos are spots we saw as well (missed the brothel!), and that delicate sundial which my husband exclaimed aloud "and it still works to this day!!" to which surrounding people rolled their eyes. This post has brought back very fond memories! Wendy xo

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    1. I think you definately made the right choice to go on your own Wendy. We liked it, just didn't get to see much of it and it was too quick a tour for us! Glad that the post bought back some good memories for you. xx

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  2. Wow, this must have been amazing to visit. I've been fascinated by Pompeii since I was a child, when I first read a book about it. I think the graffiti was one of the most intriguing aspects. I have since read that it's very similar to things you'd read today. Someday I would really love to visit.

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    1. I really do hope that you get to Europe one day Jennifer, I think that you would really love it. I didn't know that the graffiti was likely to be the same sorts of things as you see now, very interesting! Thank you for telling me that. I am just about to post the pictures from Herculaneum which have lots of frescos and are more colourful, so check back later if you are interested.

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  3. I thought I made a lot of pictures at Pompeii but you made more than I did. It was amazing how crowded it was. The thing I realized is we didn't see it all by a long shot. I bought a book there and saw things in the book we didn't see. It is very large so for time sake I guess you could not view it all. They really push a lot of people through at one time.

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