Driving south all the way to Pompeii!

Trip Start Mar 15, 2012
Trip End Mar 31, 2012

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Flag of Italy  , Campania,
Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day 13 - morning

Just like every other day, I got up early this morning to see the sunrise over Assisi's medieval town!    And again, I was the only one outside, with Michel of course!

Breakfast was eaten in the same banquet room as last night’s dinner, this being the basement.  And then, just as we arrived, we silently left Assisi and joined the Highway of the Sun, past the vineyards of Frascati and Castelli Romani. 

A brief stop was made at the commonwealth Cemetery located in the shadow of the hilltop monastery of Cassino.  Here, we were given fifteen minutes to pay our respects to the fallen soldiers.  I found the entire area absolutely stunning and peaceful as I wandered around the graves trying to find any Canadians.  And yes, sadly many have been buried here. 

Half an hour later, we arrived in the city of Pompeii, a partially buried Roman town near modern Naples!   By listening to a local guide, what I learned about this town of Pompeii was that it was founded around the 7th-6th century BC and that due to a powerful volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius on August 24 AD 79, the town with many of its people was completely buried with thick layers of ash.  That due to this, the archaeological digs at the site today can provide us with a snapshot of Roman life in the 1st century, frozen forever in time.  

Sadly, I can only imagine how panic must have struck the people at the time of the eruption.  Their bodies having been preserved in plastered casts with today's technology, haunting looks of that instant moment of despair can be seen on their faces as well as positions taken as the volcano’s ashes buried them alive.

Interestingly, Pompeii was lost for nearly 1700 years before its rediscovery in 1748 and that this UNESCO World Heritage Site is today one of the most popular tourist attractions of Italy.   

With a local guide, we walked through many cobblestone streets and explored some of the shops, villas and temples.  Not surprisingly, they even had brothels back then.   Well preserved mural paintings detailed explicit scenes of evidence. 

Looking in the horizon, Mount Vesuvius lay silent in the background having last erupted within the last hundred years.   While the view was quite amazing, it was hard to forget what happened centuries ago!

Monique   :-)

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