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Posted by on Nov 3, 2014 in Countries, Europe, Italy, UNESCO | 9 comments

City of Pompeii: UNESCO site & Mt. Vesuvius volcano

City of Pompeii: UNESCO site & Mt. Vesuvius volcano

City ofPompeii, the ancient city frozen in time. This was one of the most bizarre tours I did in my lifetime!

Unlike the wonderful ruins of Rome or other cities across Europe, where only the remains of a great civilizations stand, Pompeii Italy, was kept intact for thousands of years…. covered in thick layers of ashes, awaiting to finally be discovered.

CITY OF POMPEII & Mount Vesuvius

 

City of Pompeii

I took a one day trip to the Mount Vesuvius volcano and Pompeii with City Wonders Rome. This was probably one of the best tours I ever took in my life and a very emotional one as well. We can’t be indifferent to the horrible tragedy and the huge loss of lives at this very advanced Roman city. Our guide, the extremely knowledgeable and passionate Violette, was able to take us back in time and immerse into another reality.

 

City of Pompeii

Mount Vesuvius is located on the west coast of Italy and it’s the only active volcano in mainland Europe. This is also one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, mostly because of the proximity of the large city of Napoli and the villages near by.

Mt Vesuvius, as we know, destroyed the city of Pompeii in the year of 79 AD, so trekking this enormous volcano has been on my list of top things to do. I wanted to see this volcano in front of my eyes and have a moment, by myself when I reached the top of the crater.

 

City of Pompeii

Fortunately there were basically no people and I had enough time to hang out by myself. Once at the crater, you can see the smoke coming out of the volcano, which is absolutely normal and very healthy. Means the volcano is sleeping.

The views from the top of Mount Vesuvius are stunning. The nature is so peaceful, you can almost forget how deadly this volcano can be.

 

City of Pompeii

Lunch time and guess what? I have a vegan pizza waiting for me! A traditional Pizza Napolitana, with a thicker dough and thick edges. The sauce is simple but incredibly tasty, made with fresh ingredients. I had a pizza Marinara. Delicious!

 

 

City of Pompeii

City of Pompeii: UNESCO site

 

 

City of Pompeii

Time to explore the city of Pompeii. Wow, I was amazed by how well preserved the city is. No wonder UNESCO considers it one of the most important world heritage sites. For most of the time I felt I was walking around at movie set. It felt so odd… I kept on imagining myself into the year of 79AD,  living a daily life till tragedy hit.

 

City of Pompeii

 

We took a long stroll through the streets of the city of Pompeii and with the help of our expert local guide, we explored every corner of the this city.

On the photo bellow, you can see the ancient “zebra” or crossing area for the pedestrians. This system, was extremely effective when there was rain. The side walks and all the ancient infrastructures of the city of Pompeii, had already an intrinsic running water system, that absolutely blew my mind away!

 

City of Pompeii

The main road, the side walks and “zebra”

 

Pompeii had a complex road and street system, composed my the “high street” or main roads and small little residential streets. This one, was one of the commercial areas, where stores, like bakeries were located. At some point, the city of Pompeii had around 20.000 residents, which means, these streets were very busy and lively.

 

City of Pompeii

Stores at the main street

 

City of Pompeii

The pots where the soup was stored

 

By the time, the city of Pompeii was a bustling and thriving city, it was located right next to the sea.  The strategic geographic location, guaranteed an extraordinaire life standard for the population. But this was also one of the reasons Pompeii remained totally undiscovered for so long.

 

City of Pompeii

The bakery, the oven at the back and the area where the dough was made at the front

 

When the Vesuvius erupted in 79AD, and the whole city disappeared under the thick layer of Ashes, one young man, Pliny the Younger, wrote a letter to his uncle, describing the horrors of this tragedy. Young Plinny, watching from the town of Misenun, around 21km’s from Pompeii, wrote:

 “It resembled a (Mediterranean) pine more than any other tree. Like a very high tree the cloud went high and expanded in different branches…. sometimes white, sometimes dark and stained by the sustained sand and ashes.”

In Pompeii, ash blocked the sun by 1 p.m.  and fell at a rate of about 6 inches (15 centimeters) an hour.

City of Pompeii

A phallic symbol

 

The residents of the city of Pompeii, had no idea the Mount Vesuvius was actually a volcano, so they were all caught by surprise.  Although earth quakes were not unknown to the local residents, nothing predicted what was about to happen.

 

City of Pompeii

One of the many functional fountains

 

Shortly after midnight, the a wall of volcanic mud, took over the city of Herculaneum and the residents escaped to the near town of Pompeii, seeking refuge. Around 6 a.m. of the next morning, a gigantic cloud of ashes and gases flew over the city of Pompeii, covering it and turning its residents into stone, for the eternity.

 

City of Pompeii

One of the bodies in exposition

 

It’s said that most victims died instantly, as the high temperatures burned their lungs and burned their muscles leaving them in strange positions. Most of the bodies though, show how people tried to fight for their lives at the moment of their death.. Some of them were trying to cover their mouth to avoid breathing the ashes, while others tried to protect their children, embracing them against their body.  No animals were found dead, except this dog who was probably chained by the time of the explosion. All animals instinctively ran away.

 

City of Pompeii

 

From far Pliny described:

“…the sea retreating as if pushed by the earthquakes.”

 

When the Romans came to Pompeii, after the letter of Young Pliny  was read, they could not find the city, which was described to be near the sea. The sea was now far away of ancient Pompeii. The city of Pompeii remained untouched till recently.

 

City of Pompeii

One of the very well preserved houses

 

This house shows a very interesting way of collecting water. Entering from the roof, the water is then redirected for other areas.

 

City of Pompeii

The inside of the house, an incredible water collection system

 

City of Pompeii

A beautifully pained wall (dinning room)

 

 

city of Pompeii red light district

 

The Lupanar or red light district, is one of the great attractions of Pompeii, specially because of the explicit erotic paintings.

 

City of Pompeii

Erotic paintings

 

Lupanar literally means “den of wolves”, specially she-wolves, since the word “lupa” was commonly used to describe the oldest job in the world, prostitution.

 

City of Pompeii

Homosexuality seem to be absolutely normal

 

The Lupanar was the biggest brothel in Pompeii, with 10 small rooms where one can find a stone bed which used to be furnished with a mattress and a pillow.

The prostitutes used to hang out at the balcony of this brothel, while the men made their choice, of either one or more females. The red light candle lights were hanged around the house, inviting the local men to come in. The paintings reveal that homosexuality was quite common. On the painting above, we can see a man with a mustache wearing a bra.

 

City of Pompeii main square

 

City of Pompeii

The main square and the Vesuvius volcano at the back

 

This stunning main square was the heart of the city of Pompeii. No chariots were allowed in and this is where the members of the community came to discuss daily affairs.

At the back, the Vesuvius volcano, the one who dictated the destiny of this city is looking over Pompeii.

 

City of Pompeii

 

Hundreds of artifacts in perfect shape can be seen at site.

 

City of Pompeii

the artifacts found at Pompeii

 

IF YOU LOVED THIS ARTICLE, SHARE IT AND LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS BELLOW. HAVE YOU BEEN TO POMPEII YET? FEEL INSPIRED TO VISIT IT?

***

This incredible experience was a courtesy of City Wonders tours. This is probably the best tour company in Rome offering high quality destinations and highly qualified guides.  I can tell you by experience that Violette, our guide, was the most passionate guide I’ve ever met and made my time memorable!   City Wonders does welcome vegans and vegetarians and can even accommodate people with food allergies :)

All my opinions are unbiased and my own.

9 Comments

  1. I love reading about the red light district! I’ve always been on the fence about whether or not I want to see Pompeii, but now I’m really interested to go.

    • I’m so glad to know I could inspire you to visit Pompeii, it’s such a unique a strange feeling to walk around an ancient city, that was buried for thousands of years… You should definitely go and let me know how you liked it :)

      The red light districts is great. Trust me, everyone is smiling while walking around that area. The paintings are really amusing, hahaha

  2. I wish to go to Pompeii one time too! This is a great article Yara ^_^

    • Grasya, thank you so much! And yes, you HAVE to go to Pompeii, it’s such a surreal experience. Makes us meditate about how fragile life can be and how everything can change at the split of a moment.

  3. Wow what a great article! And a lot of interesting facts about Pompeii that I never knew. I definitely want to visit here some day!

    • Pompeii deserves a visit. When we were strolling around the streets, our guide made she we got really immersed into the experience. There are a million other interesting facts I didn’t include here, or this article would need 4 parts :) I definitely consider this one of a life time experience.

  4. I love this! I was in Pompeii 2 years ago and had planned to return while in Amalfi this year but didn’t make it. Your blogpost really captures the essence of this mesmerizing place. Just as I found it so hard to walk away from Pompeii, I have read and re reaad your post many times!
    Thanks so much!

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