To the east, just around the bay of Naples, a 25 minute drive, you will find Pompeii and Herculaneum. These two cities are the most completely preserved cities of classical antiquity along with their nemesis, the volcano Vesuvius. The volcanic ash and lava from the eruption on the morning of August 23rd, AD 79 of Il Vesuvio preserved these towns almost exactly as they were on that day. This left them not just archeological ruins but precise replicas of daily life in this ancient world. Our family enjoyed a two hour tour by an informative guide who unveiled the mysteries of this ancient ruin.
This once bustling commercial center with a population of 10,000 to 20,000 covers 160 acres. Approximately one third of the ruins have been unearthed. Our family walked along the tracks of chariot wheels cut in the pavement. The rings where the horses were tied still remain near the sisterns which allowed them to drink the fresh mountain water while their charioteers enjoyed a beer. Pompeii’s frescoes which are painted in vibrant reds and orange have remarkably retained their vibrancy. You could feel the presence of the people as we wandered past what once obviously was their home.
Our entire family stood in awe of the plaster casts of those overwhelmed by the eruption left in situ. The Orto dei Fuggiaschi (Garden of the Fugitives).
The temperature was around 86 degrees but the gentle breeze made the two hour walking tour seem short. Even the children enjoyed this part of our Italian adventure.