6.26.2016

496. Pompeii

Pompeii sculptures
Visiting Pompeii was one of my favourite days during my Italy trip. Before I went, I didn't know anything about it at all and only decided to go after searching for things to do during my days in Capri. Pompeii isn't in Capri. It took us a bit more than an hour to get there. We had to take a boat to Sorrento (~30min) then a super old train to Pompeii (~30min). Going back to Capri we had to take the train back to Naples then a longer boat ride back to Capri. It was so much fun and I'm so glad we went!! To be honest, I didn't expect to enjoy it that much there. I actually thought the 4-hour tour we booked was more than enough time to see everything - to clarify, I thought this before we went. I love history but I thought it would be the type of place only huge ancient history buffs would fully enjoy...but I really loved it and wished we had a few hours more there. Because of the long and hectic journey, it would've been a lot less stressful and better if we stayed a night in Sorrento or at least went there earlier in the morning.

We were quite lucky that day though as we:
- barely made it on the boat to Sorrento (we had to run on it just before it left and we were the last two on there)
- the train came right away when we arrived, from Sorrento to Pompeii
- the forecast said rain the whole day..but it didn't rain the whole time we were exploring Pompeii. It started pouring though just when we left/got to the train station
- made it on the train to Naples just in time (did a bit of running as well and if the train actually came on time then we would've missed it. I think we were a few min late and the train was a few min later than we were)
- made it on the last boat back to Capri. Otherwise we would've been stuck in Naples for the night

Ah, good memories :D

Actually to add to the list above (though for the night before), I ran around all the shops of Capri at night shortly before they closed to look for a pair of running shoes as I didn't bring any there. I had to get them to visit Pompeii which I now totally recommend. I didn't know just how extreme it would be but they really are all "ruins" there and would be quite difficult to navigate around in any other footwear. Some parts were slippery too so you'd need sneakers with good grip. Anyways, I was lucky to have found possibly the only sportswear boutique in Capri so I bought a pair of Pompeii-appropriate shoes just in time which you can see here:

outfit Pompeii
Pompeii
Pompeii
Pompeii
Pompeii modern sculptures
For those of you who don't know much about Pompeii (like me pre-trip): it is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most visited ancient sites in Italy. It has a tragic history. Mount Vesuvius lies roughly 5 miles away from Pompeii and erupted in 79AD. The volcanic ash buried the entire city under a carpet of thick volcanic ash, ranging from 13-20 feet deep. Most people escaped but thousands remained and died. The city was lost and remained buried for over a thousand years. It was only in the 1700s when it was discovered again and excavations began. Today, much of the ancient city still has not been excavated. After the volcanic ash hardened, it left the city mostly intact. What makes Pompeii unique is that it provides a unique source of information and look into the ancient world; archaeologists are able to study their social, economic, religious and political life as the city was so well-preserved.

Those large sculptures you see in the photos above are actually not real. Well they are modern sculptures and actually just a temporary exhibit until Jan 2017. They weren't there during ancient times ;)

Pompeii casts
Pompeii body cast
Pompeii bodies
Bodies were frozen in time and in the exact position of their last moments alive. When archaeologists discovered the bodies, they found human-shaped voids in the hardened ash. The bodies inside had decayed. To preserve the shapes, they poured a liquid plaster inside each to capture the images of the dead.

Pompeii bakery
Pompeii oven
An oven, in a style of which we still use today! Some carbonized loaves of bread were found inside during their excavations.

Pompeii ruins
Here you can see the state of the ruins. We were lucky to go there before peak season otherwise this photo may have been full of tourists. It's also a completely different feeling and experience to walk around a historic site without seeing tons of modern people everywhere. While we were here I actually imagined myself walking back in time lol.
Also if I were to come here during the middle of summer when it's extremely hot and with crowds of people, I would not have enjoyed it as much. There isn't really anywhere to cool down or sit/rest. & there's only one small eating place in the whole site.

ruins of Pompeii
Pompeii Beware of the Dog
The ancient version of the "beware of dog" sign

Pompeii architecture
Pompeii ceilings
Pompeii public baths
streets of Pompeii
Pompeii brothel
brothel bed Pompeii
Inside the famous brothel! It was a small building with several rooms and small uncomfortable-looking beds. There were sexual images all around which served as a menu to order from. As many men who went there didn't speak the same language as the girls, they would point to the picture of what they wanted.

streets of Pompeii
Pompeii Isis temple
Pompeii walls
Pompeii street stepping stones
I found this to be quite fascinating. These are the roads with stepping stones for people to "cross the street", as it was really dirty and full of water, animal manure and waste in there.

Pompeii theatre
Pompeii theatre
view of Pompeii ruins
A final look over Pompeii before we left. Underneath the spot we stood on to take these photos was a part of the city still un-excavated. I hope to visit Pompeii again sometime in the future to see what new discoveries there will be.

When we visited, Anouk and I hired a private tour guide just for the both of us which would be one of my top recommendations if you are planning a trip there. We learned a lot and it really added to the experience. Normally when visiting anywhere, I would prefer to explore on my own without a guide (for example cities or museums) but for an ancient city like this I feel it is necessary because otherwise you're just walking around without knowing what you're looking at. Unless you studied it I guess. We booked our guide from a company called Emiliano's Archaeological Tours. We had a 4-hour tour but I would recommend at least 6 hours if you have the time, and maybe visit the neighbouring city of Herculaneum as well which is apparently more well preserved than Pompeii.

My other major recommendation would be to not visit during the peak summer season due to the crowds and heat. We came in April and it was perfect. Yes, I am very behind on this post hahah.

This is quite a longer post than I expected to make and it took me several hours. I don't expect you to have read everything as it's quite long but if you did..I hope you found it interesting and informative!

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3 comments

  1. So nice to revisit Pompeii through this post! Already seems like we visited ages ago.

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    Replies
    1. Yea I always feel like I'm reliving it whenever I blog about previous vacations! It was a long time ago...

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  2. Pompeii is a lifetime experience! xxx

    stylentonic.com

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