Italy. Oh where do I start with you? Well, how about Pompeii. Once we flew to Italy from Ireland, our coats went away and our sunglasses came out. It was sundrenched and gorgeous. We spent the first couple of days in Southern Italy with Reid’s cousin who was living in a city called Trani on the eastern coast. Our first stop after getting of the plane in Naples was the incredible city of Pompeii.
According to Wikipedia:
The city of Pompeii was an ancient Roman town-city near modern Naples in the Italian region of Campania, in the territory of the comune of Pompei. Pompeii, along with Herculaneum and many villas in the surrounding area, was mostly destroyed and buried under 4 to 6 m (13 to 20 ft) of ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.
The eruption was cataclysmic for the town. The site was lost for about 1500 years until its initial rediscovery in 1599 and broader rediscovery almost 150 years later by Spanish engineer Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre in 1748. The objects that lay beneath the city have been well preserved for thousands of years because of the lack of air and moisture. These artifacts provide an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of a city during the Pax Romana. During the excavation, plaster was used to fill in the voids between the ash layers that once held human bodies. This allowed one to see the exact position the person was in when he or she died.
The last bit about the plaster and the bodies was incredibly tragic and surreal to witness. We took a few photographs, but couldn’t bear to do more than that. There were so many plaster casts of bodies that some of them were even placed on shelves in the open-air warehouses along with thousands of other artifacts (vases, statues, etc.) uncovered over time.
Pompeii was such a surreal experience. I don’t always go for the big tourist draws, but I’m very glad we didn’t miss this buried, tragic city.