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
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.
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.
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.
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: UNESCO site
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 red light district
The Lupanar or red light district, is one of the great attractions of Pompeii, specially because of the explicit 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.
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
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.
Hundreds of artifacts in perfect shape can be seen at site.
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.