I studied Pompeii at school and have always wanted to see it for real. It was every bit as interesting as I thought it would be. It’s incredible how much they have managed to preserve, it really does give you an insight to how people lived back in those times. And to finally stand on the actual streets and touch its buildings, all you can think is Wow!
Pompeii was an ancient Roman City near Naples, Italy that at its height had a thriving economy based on trade and agriculture. It is said that the city had a population of some 10k to 20k inhabitants. Pompeii along with Herculaneum and Stabiae were destroyed in 79 AD in the volcano eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which blew its top sending poisonous vapors, volcano ash and debris for miles and wiping the town. It covered the entire city of Pompeii in 23 feet of volcano ash and debris.
All of the city’s roads were paved using blocks made from the lava of Vesuvius, and most of Pompeii’s roads included pavements or sidewalks. We were absolutely fascinated with the grooved ruts of the streets’ cobblestones. In some places the grooves were 4-5 inches deep. You can imagine how many years it took for the stones to be worn down from the passage of carts and chariots rolling through.
One of the things we noticed was this symbol (below) on some of the buildings around Pompeii. Cover your kids’ eyes when you take a peek inside the Lupinar, the best preserved brothel of ancient Pompeii. There are a few original wall paintings in the building, demonstrating the lustful activities that occurred there. My guess is the pictures were a sort of menu so that customers could make their choices by just pointing. One of the largest brothels that we visited consisted of ten small rooms with stone beds to serve their customers. Pompeii turns out to be a city known for hedonistic pleasure seeking that was filled with wine bars and prostitutes.
The plaster body casts of the bodies of the victims from the eruption are everywhere in Pompeii. It reminded us that the Pompeii ruins were the final resting place for thousands of people who were unable or chose not to leave when Vesuvius erupted. Each body tells a story: some show the absolute horror on the faces. While others show sorrow as if they were waiting to die.
The Pompeii ruins are a must-see, plan on spending at least three hours or the whole day wandering through the ruined buildings. Take your time and revel in the glory of the past. It is truly amazing that these ruins were unearthed and in such good conditions. Most tourist don’t get to see everything. Only half of Pompeii has been excavated, so you never know what new things will be uncovered for your visit.