On the road to Sorrento : first stop .. Pompeii

On the road to Sorrento : first stop .. Pompeii

“Andiamo”   let’s go …   a coach full of excited travelling companions looking forward to an adventure around Italy, experiencing new sights, tastes, an insight into history, fun and laughter!!!   That’s exactly what we got !!

Antonella, our Tour Director, always said ‘andiamo’ once we were all seated and ready to go, everytime we got on the coach.  By the end of the holiday, we were saying it for her 🙂  🙂  🙂

The beauty of organized travel is the luggage … you don’t have think about it!   On arrival at each destination .. it’s taken from the coach and brought to your room.  On departure from each destination.. all you have to do is leave your suitcases at your hotel room door.  They’re collected, gathered together and put on the coach!!


On the road to Pompeii ..


“…. the hills are alive with the sound of   sight of marble  ” …


Mt Vesuvius through the coach window ..

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Pompeii .. a UNESCO World Heritage Site

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Researchers believed that the town was founded in 7th or 6th century BC by the Oscans, a people of central Italy .. captured by the Etruscans in 5th century BC .. captured again by the Greeks in 4th century BC and finally in 80 BC Pompeii was captured by the Romans and became an important passage for goods that arrived by sea and to sent to Rome, or Southern Italy.

It was hard to imagine a port nearby, as Pompeii now stands far from the ocean.  It was also hard to imagine the entire town being buried under 6m of ash and pumice-stone …   (those who know me well, know I often bring home stones … weird but I do!!  I have stones from the beach at Nice and Biarritz in France, Bryan brought me stones from the Ville Franche sur Mer beach, and these are from one of streets in Pompeii, and I have a beach stones from Positano   !!!!!!  )  (btw .. I also have stones from the southern-most point in Africa and our Natal and Eastern Cape coastline.  Elaine brought me back two stones from the lake in Sweden where she studied for 6 months!!)    🙂  🙂  🙂            .. back to Pompeii ..

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Before the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in AD 79, Pompeii was rocked by many minor earthquakes – one major quake in AD 62 – rebuilding had to be done many times.  ‘Although Pompeii was discovered in the 16th century, serious excavations began only in 1748, revealing a city petrified in time … ‘

It was extremely hot on the morning we walked through Pompeii with our local guide (whose name I cannot recall sadly).  The bleak grey streets and ruins of stone and brick buildings made it even hotter !!

This was our starting point .. a bit of shade and lawn ..




Most walls were a mixture of building techniques … which I found fascinating !!!  Just as I had done in Rome, especially in the Forum and Colosseum.    I loved the walls and couldn’t help touching the ancient brickwork, as old as time itself,  as I walked.  An unbelievable experience !




Teatro Grande – originally built in 7th or 6th century BC.   Completely rebuilt in 2nd century BC and later restored several times.  A theatre used for comedy, mime and pantomime and seated 5,000 spectactors (hard to imagine as it’s actually quite small)              Our local guide … chappie with white umbrella ..


Horse-shoe shaped with the stage on the right (behind the green umbrella) …




Large blocks allowed pedestrians to cross without having to step into the road which doubled up as Pompeii’s drainage and sewage disposal system.  The spaces between the blocks allowed horse-drawn carts to pass along the road.   Grooves left by the wheels …



IMG_5002 A tavern : above and below –  large terracotta urns in which food and wine was stored underground at a constant temperature, with only the tops showing.  They were close to the road for ‘take-aways’ 🙂

IMG_5003IMG_5007 A bakery …





Fountains were built at crossroads (if I recall there were 25 fountains) and next to the fountains were water towers (square tall structure) on top of which, originally, was a lead tank for storing water ..



Water was freely available for the people at the fountains – as it is today, where we replenished our water bottles with lovely fresh cool water.  Water was distributed throughout the city in underground lead pipes, but only the wealthy had it supplied to their homes.   Not bad for a lead pipe laid in 80BC!!!!!!!


There were wells …


… but as the city is elevated, they were expensive to build and there again, only the wealthy had wells or cisterns.  The cistern would have been in the atriums, where rain water from roofs was channelled into the cistern, below which was a reservoir.

I’m sure our guide said this was a cistern and not a well  ..



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Next post … Roman baths on Via Stabiana, a brothel and more .. in Pompeii

…. Trafalgar Tour : Best of Italy : June 2013

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