Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Blast to the Past

After checking out of our Sorrento hotel, Chris and I headed about an hour north to visit the ancient city of Pompeii. I, personally, love visiting historical sites, so I was really excited for this day of the trip.

Pompeii, for those of you unfamiliar with the city, was partially destroyed and buried under 13 to 20 ft of ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Pompeii was lost for nearly 1700 years before its rediscovery in 1748.

The city was preserved extremely well so visitors get a great feel of what life was like prior to the eruption. Many buildings, their wall paintings and floor tiles, sculptures and other artifacts are still intact so you could definitely feel the life of the city as it was.

For how long ago this city was built and inhabited, it was surprisingly large.Chris and I did not expect to spent more than a few hours there, so we unable to see every corner. Luckily, we were able to squeeze in all of its top sites; the homes, restaurants, both theaters and the bath house.

Chris and I both experienced a really powerful moment when we visited the plaster casts of the victims. Seeing how these people were positioned when the city was buried and just imagining yourself in that situation, really put things in perspective.
In the Forum of Pompeii
We hated to leave Pompeii, but we wanted to visit the volcano responsible for the city's demise before it closed. It was time to visit Vesuvius.

The drive to the semi-top of the volcano took roughly 45 minutes from Pompeii. Vesuvius is now a National Park so you can drive and park fairly close to the peak. Once we parked, we had to climb the steep path up to the top (which is about 220 feet high from the parking area).

To be honest, Mt. Vesuvius was a tad disappointing. The crater was much smaller than we expected and it was filled with dirt. However, knowing what this powerful volcano did all those years ago (and apparently what it's still capable of doing) made it a worthwhile trip. And Chris got to see steam coming off of the rocks (something he talked about from a video we found on YouTube), so that was a win. ;)

As I said, I enjoy seeing places of historical significance, so to be able to see two major sights in one day really was an experience. All in all, this was, personally, one of my favorite days of this trip. If you're ever in the area, I would definitely make it a must-see excursion.

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