Today was the day Steve had been waiting for since first discussing our trip to Italy – Pompeii!
An ancient city near Naples, largely preserved from the ash of Mount Vesuvius after its eruption in 79AD which wiped out an entire population and was for all intents and purposes, lost.
This tour was a unique look at a town frozen in time and only discovered again in 1748.
We met with a representative of Italiatours at the train station who loaded us on to a train set for Naples. We were surprised to discover what was usually a 20 person trip had only been booked by 3 of us, and 1 failed to show soooo private tour for Nat & Steve, score!
We were met on the other side of the tracks by our guide who got us comfy in an air conditioned Mercedes tour bus and commenced the 30 minute trip to Pompeii.
We marvelled at the few thousand year old ruins laced with frescas and even noted the earlier civilization from before the Roman empire. It was amazing to see two communities built on top of each other and then further covered by the growth and nature of post Vesuvius eruption. Like you could physically see two buildings on top of one and other, existing in their different eras. Thousands of years of community and life, quietly tucked away under volcanic ash.
Our tour guide pointed out a room in a house and asked us to guess its use from back in the day. Marble floors and structures, we could only guess a bathroom or kitchen, forgetting that the wealthy of those days would lounge around on marble beds as they were fed their dinner from some dangling bunch of grapes as Hollywood has shown us.
The other cool part was the small museum were they displayed plaster cast preserved bodies of the victims who got caught in the volcanic blast of heat and debris. Having been dead for over 18 centuries these preserved folks show their anguish as they lay in what can only be described as volcanic hell.
We also learned that Pompeii was once a port town, now 2500ft away from the nearest shoreline. That’ll be all that volcanic ash and debris striking again then eh? What a time.
I’m no history major like my husband, but I felt like my head was exploding with all this new yet old information. Wow.
From the lost city we were taken to a local winery who offered tasty wines from grapes grown in the Vesuvius soils. Again, a private dinner for two please haha A delectable 3 course classic Italian meal was served, paired with sparkling, red, white and rose wines.
We were also given a tour of the property and found that recent excavations had found historical necropolis below the grounds. Which could look like 1 for historians – 0 for winemakers in the coming years should they decide to excavate the entire site. Just as well we got this tasty visit in before then, and a bottle for the road haha
A short train ride back to the hotel and after many a fitbit alert, realized we are now 79,000 steps into this 3 day visit to Rome, uuuft. But hey, we had the most fantastic time and next stop, Florence woot woot.