Campania Update

Trip Start May 22, 2007
Trip End Jun 04, 2007

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

May 30-Castellammare
Just a quick update/outline of entry to come.  The last couple of days have been very full and my head is bursting with wonderful information.  I am also dropping off to sleep at any moment.  We have an 8:30 train in Naples tomorrow, which means a 6:45 departure from Castellamare.  As I am writing after midnight now, this will be a short night.
Yesterday (Tuesday): We began the day with the fabulous Villa San Marco in Stabia.  This is one of at least six major Roman villas, which lined the seaside at Stabia prior to the Vesuvian event of 79 AD.  Words simply cannot describe the site.  The villa, by comparison, is larger than a Super Walmart.  Every square inch was decorated by the best available art.
Following the visit to San Marco and lunch, Buck and I made an assault on Pompeii.  It rained, of course (I am 2 for 2 on Pompeii and rain in my life).  We worked over the Via Della Abbondanza, the House of Ceii and the Theaters, for those of you familiar with the neighborhoods of Pompeii.  For a historian, there are few experiences more powerful than this.  Every step, every view, every breath is packed with a direct connection to the lives of Roman citizens who lived 1900 years ago.  We found their shops, their fast food restaurants, their bakery, their courts, their houses, their politics, their graffiti, their transport, their construction, their entertainment, their corpses and even their brothel.  It is impossible not to want to reach down and run your fingers along the wheel ruts in the paving stones.  Pompeii is an experience to drink in.  I charged along like I had just been on a six expresso binge.
Today (Wednesday):  Dad and I used a combination of foot, bus and train to travel an hour south of Castellammare to Paestum.  Paestum is the remains of a small city settled by Greek colonists before 620 BC.  Between 600-420 BC it underwent a massive building campaign and has THREE complete Greek temples all within yards of each other.  Most scholars consider these to be the best examples of pre-classic Greek architecture outside of Greece.  We visited the museum and saw case after case of Greek art including black and red figure vases, sculpture and frescos.
I have nearly three hundred photos to sort through from these two days and will post more completely if my hotel in Pontedera has the internet access it advertises. 
Tomorrow begins our brief touch of Tuscany before we head home on Monday.  I bid Buck 'Ciao!' for a couple of days as he heads south to climb Etna.  We will see him in Ostia Antica on Sunday night.  I am looking forward to Tuscany.  We have a reserved entrance time on Friday for the Uffizzi and a B&B in Montalcino for Saturday night. 
Think Brunello...
Buona Sera
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