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Published: October 3rd 2009
What can I say about this amazing place? After nearly 2000 years it's amazing to be able to see a city where people lived and worked. Sadly most of the items found in Pompeii have actually been sent to a museum in Naples (Napoli) so you can't see the houses as they were found, but the buildings themselves are fantastic. In some cases there are also still fresco's on the walls and fantastically tiles floors. The Amphitheatre was particularly interesting as there had been a riot there and it was closed down for around a decade. (I can't remember what caused the riot mind you and I've sent my journal back to Oz).
The city is much bigger than I had expected so I wasn't able to get around it all. One of my favourite things was the ancient food stores. Where we would go to a fast food restaurant they had their own version. They had big clay pots set into benches where food would be kept hot and you would go and buy it and stand around eating and chatting with friends. (Apparently lunch wasn't usualloy eaten at home it was a social time.)
There were only
3 of the bodies on display at the actual site but they were truly amazing and I kept them until last. I knew that the archaeologists had poured plaster into the cavities where the bodies used to be, but I hadn't known that there were still skeletons in there. You can actually see parts of the skull and finger and toe bones. It's quite eery and very moving to think these were real people in real fear and pain before their deaths. (And they're so short!)
Whilst wandering around Pompeii I met a couple who said that Herculaneum (another site nearby which had been buried during the same eruption) was smaller but better preserved so I went there too. They were right because it had many more frescos and beautiful floors and some of the buildings looked almost completely intact structurally.
I'm VERY glad I went to both sites and had a facinating day. (I'd gotten lucky and happened to visit on a day where entry to both sites was free because it was an Italian Culture weekend or something. So I spent the money on audio guides instead which is really important because there's no signage anywhere
to explain what you're looking at.) Tip: Wear good walking shoes because walking on the uneven cobbled roads all day will cause you pain by the end of it.
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