York & Borgorose

Ah, Venice Pompeii
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So. Pompeii. You've probably heard of the place. I certainly had, and have been itchin' to visit it for some time.

In AD 79 nearby Mt. Vesuvius erupted and buried the city beneath several meters of ash, perfectly preserving the city for a couple thousand years. Archaeologists have been excavating here for a couple of centuries. They've found a lot of cool things, the most notable (IMO) being empty cavities in the ash that can be filled with plaster to see what used to be there.

In many cases the casts come out in the shape of people who could not escape the volcano's fury. Some of them have enough detail to make out facial features revealing death wasn't peaceful. Other cavities reveal animals, and others preserve wooden furniture or carts, and things of that nature.

Pompeii is most impressive, but in a completely different way from St. Peter's in Rome. The latter was built to BE impressive. That's its point. Pompeii, on the other hand, is impressive because there's so much of it, and it's so well preserved. It's just a normal Roman city caught in a catastophe and has no pretensions.

My four-and-a-half hours there weren't enough to see all of it, although it was enough for one visit.

Thankfully the sun stayed behind clouds most of the day, so the warned-of heat was not a detraction from enjoying the place. The brilliant frescoes, fabulous mosaics, poignant graffiti, and multi-storey buildings require another visit.

An overview of a small portion of Pompeii, with Vesuvius in the background.

One of many steets with standing shops, houses, etc. running its length.

Another random street in town.

Some of the famous ruts worn by ages of carts and wagons driving through town.

A mosaic at the entrance to one house; out of frame it says Cave Canem (Beware of the Dog).

One of many gorgeous frescoes (painted plaster) that looks like it could have been created last week.

A fresco from a brothel, which has several small rooms and stone beds.

Remains of a very large statue. This foot is perhaps six feet long.

Cast of a person killed in the eruption. You can see a decent re-enactment of the whole event (including this specific person's demise) on DVD by watching Pompeii: The Final Day, which comes on Colosseum - A Gladiator's Story.

Animals died in the eruption too: here's a cast of a dog.

Just an artsy shot.

Much of anicent Pompeii still lies buried; here's a building faced with modern stone to preserve it.

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