Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Ancient City of Pompeii

So we had the pleasure of having our first guests visit us! Joe and Lori (Jon's parents for those who don't know) made their way from New Jersey to Tuscany and then down to Napoli for a visit. We were so excited for their arrival and so sad when they left :(

Joe had arranged for the four of us to have a private tour guide for 10 hours on Saturday. He took us to Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast, which also included the towns of Amalfi and Positano. Our driver picked us up from the hotel and whisked us away to the ruins of Pompeii. Here, we met Gaetano Manfredi for a private tour of the ruins. This guy is the best of the best and has been on numerous television travel shows including Rick Steves. We were able to tour restricted areas that other people and other tour guides were not allowed to enter... not bad at all!
While walking through the town we were amazed at the lifestyle the people of Pompeii lived. It looked relatively modern with bars, shops, small restaurants, food markets, theaters, bathhouses with steam rooms, and brothels. The city was very lively in its time! It was also an efficiently planned and technologically advanced city for this time period. Among other things, water was able to get to different parts of the city with several leveled pipes and water towers, drainage systems were built into the ground, they had one-way and two-way roads, and they had built large stones for pedestrians to cross streets so they would not dirty their feet. Houses served both for the private family as well as the master of the house's office. Skylights served as water collection basins as well as to light the rooms. Streets were designed in a grid with a central plaza for gathering. It was a port town where a lot of travelers would come through in order to rest and use the facilities for a fee, while also making trades for their future travels up to Rome.

The Basilica
Original mosaic tile and wall.

A mold of a person.

Stepping stones to cross the street.

We couldn't believe the preservation of the city after all of this time! When Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, Pompeii was buried under ash and pumice and it was lost for nearly 1700 years until it was discovered accidentally in 1749. The eruption preserved the city exactly how it was on the day. Incredible. I remember watching "Pompeii: The Last Day" a long time ago and thought the same thing... incredible. But this time we got to experience it in person:)

In front of the waterfall fountain.

In the forum.


  1. A small correction - the guide's last name is Manfredi.

  2. Very interesting story about the city of Pompeii. Great pics of all of you!
    Can't wait to visit! 6 weeks to go!

  3. That was a terrific day. We had such a fabulous time visiting these amazing sites and sharing this with Jon and Cheryl.