30 Days in Rome: day 12 in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius

On day 12, we headed out of Naples bright and early to tour the spectacular archeological sites of Herculaneum, Pompeii and Oplontis. It was a long, hot, dusty day but it was so worth it! The site of Herculaneum was found first, but largely abandoned after Pompeii was found because while Herculaneum was buried in hot mud from the volcano, Pompeii was buried in ash and pumice, which made it much easier to excavate. Herculaneum is much smaller, and fewer tourists visit there. It was our first stop and we spent about an hour and a half, led again by Santiago, our guide from Naples, before heading on to Pompeii.

In Pompeii, we entered the archeological site at the arena, which we had never visited before. In the center, they had erected a giant pyramid which housed a display of some of the human remains uncovered at the site. Since the people of Pompeii were buried in volcanic ash, their body positions at the moment of death were preserved. Seeing them really makes the disaster incredibly real, and it is heartbreaking and difficult to view. There was a mother cradling two small children, a couple curled up together.

After Herculaneum and Pompeii, we had lunch at a great little shop in Oplontis complete with local sparkling red wine and homemade lemoncello. Then on to Villa Poppeae, the villa of Nero’s second wife, unique for it’s many frescoes remaining in situ. Lola Gray should have been exhausted, but she ran from room to room photographing everything she saw! She was particularly taken by the numerous and varied birds found throughout the paintings and made it her mission to photograph them all. Fletcher, meanwhile, stuck close to Santiago to make sure he could hear every bit of information. We ended the day dirty and tired, but with big smiles all around.


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One response to “30 Days in Rome: day 12 in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius

  1. Hi Ashley! I took Maggie and Emily to see the casts of the people from Pompeii when they were in Charlotte. The way they had the exhibit set up you had to turn a sharp corner, after viewing a huge volcano, and while you were listening to classical music that swelled over and over. The whole area was bathed in red light. Maggie was very young-maybe 6-and she found the whole thing quite terrifying. Not knowing what you were going to see when you turned that corner was really a masterful bit of exhibit design! I can only imagine what seeing the site itself must be like!! Your trip sounds absolutely amazing!! We lived in Italy (San Casciano-near Pisa) for almost 3 years. I would go back in a heartbeat. Mark too…pizza, bicycles, pasta… what else is there in life? I’d add wine but he doesn’t care much for it…mores the pity!! 🙂 Hugs to you all! Thank you for all these posts! I devour every single one of them!!!! Beth

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