Saturday, 14 September 2013

Pompeii

Pompeii, Italy

The archaeological site was less than a five minute walk from our campsite. I could hardly believe that we were actually at Pompeii, one of the best preserved (and probably most well known) ancient towns in the world. 

There were a few bath complexes on the site. This room was a changing room - you would put your discarded clothes into those alcoves on the wall and change back into them later. Between each of these was a carving of a strong little man holding up the top of the shelf. You could see the different textures of clothes they were carved wearing. Some looked like cloth, some fur, and some scale. 

And I thought the curbs in Wellington were tall. 
The roads were used partly as a drainage system. At intervals there were stepping stones so nobody had to get their feet wet crossing the road. 
At the edge of the site, we saw a couple of ambulances in case of emergencies. They had been designed with tall thin wheels so that they would be able to manoeuvre around these stones. 

A villa on the outskirts of town. 

The Villa of Mysteries. Parts of this building were roped off due to renovations, but what we did see was incredibly well preserved. 
There were stray dogs sleeping and roaming all over Pompeii. A sign at the entrance advised against any contact with them. This one was in a roped off area - lucky dog. 

The town had two theatres and an ampitheatre. It was definitely of a decent size in its day, which I wasn't expecting. I had imagined it to be quite a small town, but it had the population for several baths as well as several theatres. 

This fresco was in the House of Menander, so called because of this guy. The paint is still very discernible, showing a reclining man with a scroll. 

Most of the houses had impluviums, which is where rainwater is collected from a hole in the ceiling called compluviums. The audio guide told us this for every single house we visited (except the sole house that did not have an impluvium). 

A ray of sunshine in through the compluvium. 
Many of the houses were gated off, probably for renovations. We stared longingly in through the bars, the audio guide up to our ears listening to all the great things that were in the room right around the corner and out of sight. Despite the roped off and gated parts, we still saw so much and it was well worth it. I just hope to return one day when more is on display. 

The Romans liked their hot food. They would eat lunch out of their homes, often in places called a Thermopolium. In the holes in the counter were clay pots holding food and drink. The audio guide told us that Romans liked this thing described as a "pickle made of fish". Sounds yummy. 
We needed sustenance ourselves, as we ended up walking around Pompeii for eight and a half hours. Prosciutto sandwiches do the job. 

Mount Vesuvius behind the temple of Jupiter and the forum. It is a tragedy that the volcano erupted and killed so many people. At least the ruins were preserved. Thanks for all the ash, Vesuvius. And the mud, but we'll get to that later.