Friday, April 18, 2014

Pompeii, Italy

Vesuvius in the background. Standing in Pompeii amid the ruins I was fixated to realize with my own eyes how close Vesuvius was and zoomed my lens to get a closer view. The terrible eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D. destroyed Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae and all life in between.

Pompeii remained buried for 1600 years before the first ruins were uncovered and 150 years passed before the city could be said to have been rediscovered.
Pompeii was a thriving port city with a population of 20,000 people until that eventful day, August 24, 79 A.D.  Centuries later when archaeologists began excavating they discovered much about daily Roman life.
This pic denotes the area where they trained gladiators. They lived in tiny rooms behind the colonnaded courtyard.

This is called the Large Theater and there also is a smaller theater. Lesson for the future, take notes for your pictures daily while it is fresh on your mind. Of course, you are exhausted and here it is seven months later and I can't remember for sure. One interesting fact I learned from the book I purchased that the amphitheater ( that I do not have a picture of) was built in the year Pompeii became a Roman colony in 80 B.C. and is the oldest known amphitheater. It is different from other amphitheaters because it has no underground areas beneath the arena and the entrance ramps are all on the outside.

At the top you can see square stone poles that once supported a canvas roof.

Viewing the remains of the stage.

The sidewalks are elevated to hide the plumbing.
The higher stones were for walking across the street when the street was flooded with water. Everyday the Romans flooded the streets to clean them. Chariots would straddle the stones.
Ruts in the stone road made by chariots.

These three large stones were traffic barriers that kept the chariots out.
Entering the Forum with Vesuvius in the background.
It was an amazing experience realizing where I was and all the historical artifacts that were here.
The pedestals once held statues that are now in the museum in Naples.
Incredible detail.

Our guide in the center of the columns holding the typical tour guide symbol, the "umbrella" which is easy to see and follow as we listen to his audio presentation on our headsets.
I was overwhelmed with how large the city was. At the end of the tour I bought a book on Pompeii and realized how much we didn't see. When you travel it is difficult to have time or energy to study everything before hand. If you are planning a trip the more you research you do before hand the more you will remember and understand what you see.
I was impressed by the hand painted frescoes everywhere as we enter the Baths area.

There were separate baths for women and men. These baths were mainly intended for those who came to the Forum from outside the city.

Vivid colors were beautiful and I think at this point I was reprimanded for taking flash pictures. I guess our guide forgot to mention this before hand.
There were elaborate dressing rooms for men and women that led to the warm, cold or hot water baths. Each room was heated with hot air from a central furnace that circulated under the floor.
Ceiling frescoes were impressive.

 Lead pipes were part of the city's elaborate water system. They had three pipe systems for the baths, private homes and public water fountains. Aqueducts carried water from the hillsides to reservoirs  on the city wall. To solve the problem of water pressure they built arches with hidden water tanks that were filled with gravity.

Isn't it amazing to see the names of the streets in Latin?
I was struck with this pretty fountain in front of one of the houses or shops.

 Do you see the small white stones in between the larger basalt stones? They are small reflective bits of marble that helped people get around after dark.

The following pics are scattered relics after we had left the city wall.
 As you leave it is erie looking toward Vesuvius and realize it is Europe's only active volcano that erupted last in 1944. Our guide told us that it is utmost on many minds the vast area and largely populated area that would need to be evacuated when it erupts again. It was emphasized when not if it would erupt again.

I hope I portrayed Pompeii correctly. It is hard to be absolutely sure of accuracy. Please feel free to point out any errors not intentional on my part.

Other posts of Italy: Rome
                                       Venice and the Magic of Serenissima
                                  Isle of Capri
                                  Pompeii, Italy

Future posts:     Sorrento, Positano, Florence, Pisa

Linking to: Oh, the Places I have been.


  1. Wow Bonnie, that is an amazing place to visit I bet!! So much history. I have never been there so thanks for the tour!! Wonderful!

  2. Quite an incredible place, and I enjoyed visiting again through your photos. One has a hard time seeing all the wonders of Italy.

  3. Oh how fun to see your photos! We were in Pompeii a few years ago, and it was at a time when hardly anyone else was there! We strolled many of the streets totally alone and at times it was eerie! When we went to the amphitheater, there was a German man and woman who were singing, and it was beautiful. Such a treat to see it again through your camera!

  4. I loved Pompeii. I did a solo trip there last September and there was so much that I missed walking around and it was so confusing. I didn't see the fountain lady when I went. Did you get to see the bodies in the forum?

  5. Your photos are wonderful! My husband and I visited Pompeii a few years ago and while we were there for hours, we could have stayed even longer and still not seen it all. It was pouring rain the day we toured which was challenging but it slowed down the number of tourists that day. Didn't you just imagine how life was when Pompeii was a thriving city? There were so many moments when I would stop and try to visualize life as it was and the city bustling with activity.

  6. What a stunning place. The aged worn stone and bricks have such history and you wish they could verbally tell their story! Gorgeous photography and I definitely want to go to Italy. Thanks for sharing!
    Miss Bloomers

  7. Pompeii was one of my favorite sites in Italy! I have heard they have uncovered so much more now! I loved the recent movie just because I had been there. It is just fascinating because it was preserved so well. How wonderful for you!
    (As far as growing grass -- I always forget too, so I bought it at the store - wheat grass. Now what will I do with the bag of grass in the garage?!! ha ha!)

  8. . Your photos brought back memories as I visited Pompeii many years ago as part of a Perillo tour of Italy! I was most fascinated by the casts in the museum made of the people that died under the ash. Their disintegrated bodies left holes that were filled with plaster and then removed. It was eerie to see there last moments caught this way! I also books a few books at Pompeii to help me understand more of what I saw, and I'd love to re-visit it again one day!

  9. Hello Bonnie
    Thank you for taking us on this wonderful tour of Pompeii.
    Your photos are amazing and I understand your feeling if not having read enough before visiting - I always feel the same.
    I talk with friends later who invariably ask 'did you see such and such' - but it's impossible to see it all unless we stay for years in one country!
    When I first visited St Peters in Rome who of my friends asked 'what did you think of the Pieter'?. I immediately went hot and cold - almost panic, we were in such a throng of people - I totally missed it. On my second trip to Rome for Christmas a few years ago - I was prepared and didn't miss it!
    Travel feeds my soul as I can see it does yours too Bonnie!

    I will add your post to my "Travel Folder" - thank you!

    Following you now too!

  10. This is such a timely post as we've just decided to visit Italy, and the kids suggested Pompeii. I went there over a decade ago and still remember being amazed at how vast the city was. In all the stories I had read of it, I never fully comprehended its size, population, or how advanced it was. Just look at those white stones among the large basalt ones that you showed us. I also forgot what a popular attraction it is until I saw all the people in your photo.

  11. It was a wonderful tour Bonnie, Pompeii has always fascinated me~I can't imagine the things you felt standing in that ancient spot looking right at the actual volcano that is still active!! Your photography is beautiful, and I think my favorite part was the bit about how they inset little reflective tiles in the roadway to guide them at night! Thank you for a magical little trip to the past!

  12. What a great virtual tour of Pompeii. Your photographs are beautiful and captured what must have been an unforgettable tour and experience. We haven't made it to Pompeii but I have always wanted to tour. Those details are amazing and I especially like that fountain too.

  13. The pictures are beautiful! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  14. Oh I really enjoyed this tour! I shared these pics with my husband too. He loves history and we watched the story of Pompeii in a movie recently. I bet it was fun to tour that in person.


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