About Me

I am a 45 year husband and dad, currently adjusting to life back in the United States after living in Italy for a little over two years. I love spending time with my family, cycling, model railroading, mosaics and watching TV and movies.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Today we headed to Pompeii. 

First stop was a bar to have coffee, tea and pastries.  We found Antica Paticceria Bar Mimi.  They advertised the best cappuccino in Sorrento, and they were right. 

Sorry for the sideways pic.  Blogger is giving me picture upload problems. 

After breakfast, we caught the Circumvesuviana Train to Pompeii, about a 40 min ride along the coast.  

Pompeii was founded in 600 B.C.  It soon became a booming middle class Roman trade city.  Pompeii was the place for action and shopping.  It's 20,000 residents enjoyed more than 40 bakeries, 30 brothels, and 130 bars, restaurants and hotels. 

The Forum was Pompeii's commercial, religious and political center. 

Street of Pompeii.  In the background is Vesuvius.  At about noon on August 24, A.D. 79 Mount Vesuvius blew, sending a cloud of ash, dust and cinders 12 miles into the air.  The ash fell like snow on Pompeii, collapsing roofs, but leaving walls intact.  2,000 of the 20,000 residents were unable to escape over 8 feet of ash that buried the town. 

Ancient Rome was rich with mosaics

This was a typical bar or restaurant.  Most ancient Romans did not cook for themselves.  The holes in the counters held the pots for food.  Each container was like a thermos holding soup, wine and other foods.

They flooded the streets with gushing water every day to clean them.  These stepping stones let pedestrians cross without getting their sandals wet.  Chariots traveling in either direction could straddle the stones. 

Many homes had these shallow pools just inside their entry doors.  They were used to rinse feet after a dusty day in Pompeii.

2, 000 residents did not escape the eruption of Vesuvius.  Archeologists were able to capture the last eerie momonts in a unique way.  Pompeii citizens suffocated under the ash.  While excavating, archeologists detected hollow spaces underfoot, created when the bodies decomposed.  By gently filling the holes with plaster, they were able to create molds of the victims.  These plaster molds still have the ancient bones mixed inside.

Another view of the Forum.  It was dominated by the Temple of Jupiter. A few of its columns remain.

Another victim.


Original teeth and skull bones mixed with plaster cast.

Baths of the Forum.  Pompeii had six public baths, each with a women's and men's section. 

Chariot ruts in the stone road

Another Roman 'fast food' bar

Some parts of Pompeii now produce grapes for wine.  The volcanic soil is very fertile.

Amphitheater.  Here, gladiators and wild animals fought in combat.

Our train home.

Pompeii was a little different than I expected.  I thought it was located out in the valleys of Italy.  It's actually surrounded by the suburbs of Naples.  Many areas were closed to tourists for various reasons, the most notable of which, is the recent collapsing of several walls and houses.  Overall, it was very interesting and well worth the trip.

Tomorrow we head to the island of Capri. 

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