With a relatively early breakfast at 7:30AM, we packed and were ready to go, with Tom Lance and I making our presentation about Pompeii in the foyer of the hotel before we departed for the station, having a quick stop to buy water and fruit. Having caught the train, we arrived at the Pompeii station(‘Pompei Scavi’) at approximately 9:30AM.
After a short walk, we arrived to the site of Pompeii and were introduced to our guide Vincenzo, who gave a short introduction before we left for the amphitheater.
After we left the amphitheater, we walked among the streets, discussing how they were preserved so well and the techniques of archaeology in the past. We worked our way to the Garden of Fugitives, which displayed a number of preserved plaster casts of human remains.
Vincenzo led us through various side streets, discussing various facets of Roman life as well as interesting facts, and showed us a vast unexcavated and unexplored area, which composed nearly 40% of Pompeii.
Over the course of the next hour, we walked among various houses, exploring multiple rooms such as the atrium and fascinated in the well-preserved frescoes. We also navigated through specific parts of the town, viewing places such as religious altars and monuments.
At approximately midday, we entered a theatre, which is showed in the heading photo.
We then walked down the main street where we observed fountains and the features of a typical street.
We later entered into the forum, where the whole site was centered around and various collections of artifacts were situated.
At 1PM, we left for lunch and having finished our meals, we visited the lupanar(brothel) where there were interesting pictures decorating the wall and the bakery where we observed ancient Roman baking techniques.
After we viewed these, we walked among a few more houses before we left Pompeii. Then we travelled by train to Oplontis, the luxury villa of Poppaea, Nero’s wife, where we walked among the colorful frescoes and viewed the ancient pool.
Footsore and weary, we returned to the hotel where we all had a swim before going out to dinner and exploring Sorrento at night.
Pompeii, unlike any other historical site(besides Herculaneum, which is featured tomorrow), allows the casual observer to relate and empathise with their ancient lifestyle. We walked the cobblestone streets which the ancient Romans walked, admired the same monuments, appreciated the same architecture… and fascinated in the same erotic artwork.
In fact, when we closed our eyes, it almost felt like nothing changed at all.
Thanks for reading,
Stephen Chan and Tom Lance