Thursday, 29 December 2016

Veronica's Visit !!!

We had such a spectacular time together, and did so much !  I have posted a bit on Facebook about our time in Rome...the Coliseum, the Forum and the beautiful Caracalla Baths, so I think I will try to do some justice to our time in Pompeii and Herculaneum.

I think we were both amazed at the sheer size of the ruins at Pompeii. We spent two full days there, and could easily have done twice that.  What has been uncovered, having been buried 2000 years ago, after the eruption of Vesuvius, is astounding.  There is the arena, where gladiators fought, and sporting events were held, which was decreed to be closed for 10 years after a riot broke out between opposing fans!

There are two theatres, with box seats for dignitaries, and the first few rows reserved for council members and the groove where the curtain rested before the performance still visible at the front of the stage.  The smaller of the theatres is well known for its superior acoustics...which was brought home to us as a group of Chinese tourists tested them out with an impromptu song!

There are many street side cafes, with their marble counter tops in almost pristine condition, and some with the large terra cotta containers that would have held the food they sold, still imbedded in the counters.  It is really unbelievable!

There are countless houses, with roofs missing, (they collapsed under the weight of the ash), but many walls still intact, and some extraordinary wall frescoes still visible, (although many of the frescoes, art work, and incredible mosaics have been relocated to the Museum in Naples).  Veronica and I spent a fabulous day at the museum, and I will post some of the pictures....its hard to believe the artistry of the mosaics done in the 3rd century BC!

And, last but certainly not least, there are the bodies, that look  * frozen* in time.  Although you know they have been dead for 2000 years, it is hard not to be affected by them...some look like they just went to sleep, but others appear to be fighting their way out, one is sitting with knees drawn up and hands covering his face, and the most heart wrenching appears to be a mother playing with her child...holding him above her.

Unlike Pompeii, the people who perished at Herculaneum died very quickly from intense heat.  Many of the inhabitants had escaped by boat, and almost all of the skeletal remains were found in the boathouses along what was, at the time, the shore.  They were presumably waiting for the boats to return to rescue them. Again, it is a touching sight, with many seeming to be embracing in their last moments.

There are pictures....

Photos: December 20
Photos: December 21
Photos: December 22
Photos: December 23
Photos: December 24
Photos: December 28
Photos: December 29
Photos: December 31