Friday, July 25, 2008

Visiting the ruins of Pompeii...

This was such a perfect day trip to the ruins of Pompeii. We were happy that it wasn't as hot or humid as it normally gets in Italy this time of year. It was so amazing to see how well this city was preserved. (Warning...dead bodies and naked people may appear in this post...sorry.)

Here is a little history, for those who are unfamiliar with the story of Pompeii. It was a city that was completely buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. It was buried under many meters of ash and wasn't discovered for 1700 years. Because the ruins were so preserved, it gives us a chance to look at a "snapshot" of what life would have been like in a Roman city in the 1st Century. It's really amazing to see.

Here is a photo of Mount Vesuvius. We heard a tour guide say that it used to be a steep peak and that a huge percentage of it exploded during the eruption.

My very favorite parts of Pompeii were the murals on the walls. They are painted such bright, gorgeous colors; reds, yellows, blues, etc. They painted their homes to look like they were more fancy than they really were (don't we all still do that now?).

There were many interesting places, including places like bakeries, restaurants, theaters, etc. They had this store all set up where pottery had been sold. There were tons and tons of pots; they would have rows of pots that were all the was an ancient Target. Oh, except for maybe this small fact...

There was a dead person just lying there on a shelf!! Actually there are just the bones left, with a plaster around them. When they found the bodies, the ash was so condensed around the bodies, but they realized that there was a space between the ash and bones. (Squeamish people skip to the next part) This is the part where the body decomposed and was just air. That is where they poured the plaster, as to preserve the body just like it was found in the ash. That way it would last much longer. And, we can then pretend they are statues.

These next pictures are for my boys. I know they are already thrilled about the pictures of the dead bodies, but this is just icing on the cake for boys(sorry Janessa). I thought these bricks looked like Legos...maybe they were created much longer than we think. I don't know what my boys would do without Legos. Maybe these moms thought the same thing.

These are their bath houses. It sounded like a true day spa. We all know where I would have spent my time in this city! The windows would warm the baths during the day. It was so dark in there, it was so hard to even get a picture to turn out! The city actually had a very intricate aqueduct system worked out. It moved water through the city in a priority. If there was ever a drought, the water would first cut out the baths, then the private houses, businesses and lastly, the public water fountains (that you can still fill your water bottles up with fresh water today).

Their road system was amazing. They had these stones in the middle of the road, this one with two stones meant that it was one-way traffic only. When the road had three stones, it was a two-way street. The horses and wagons, chariots, whatever they drove (help me out on this, Rick) would go over the rocks, and the wheels would fit right on the outsides. It was actually cool because you could see tracks worn into the street and sidewalks.

This was a statue in the house of Faun. It was found there and it is in amazing shape.

I really loved Pompeii. Although we were there for maybe 5 or 6 hours, we still didn't see it all. It would be nice to take two days, but one is sufficient to see what you want. I was a little disappointed to find out (after leaving the Naples area) that there is a museum in Naples, The National Archaeological Museum of Naples. Many artifacts and findings from Pompeii have been taken there to be preserved. I would have loved to spend the next day there. Maybe on my next trip...with Rick!


Stacey said...

Those pictures are so amazing! I love the wall paintings. I am so glad you are having such a good time.

Stacy said...

I am so glad you got to go to Pompeii. I loved it there. All that history and seeing how they lived SOOO long ago.

Terah said...

does going to italy instantly change you into a supermodel? you look soooooooooooooo fabulous in all these pics! maybe it's the r and r and break from kids! any way- you do look fabulous, i may have to see what airlines have bases in italy so scott can get a job and i can look like i belong on runway with heidi klum and the like.