One night, it was all in just one night, 1000s of people were killed in an ancient city frozen in time. And the culprit was left untouched. Even today, he waits to repeat the act, but no one knows when.
Yes, it’s none other than Mount Vesuvius, the ever furious volcano. It has erupted innumerable times, but the worst is said to be on the night of 79 A.D. On this night, the volcano erupted and buried the ancient Roman city of Pompeii under the thick carpet of volcanic ash. The dust was thrown across the land like a Tsunami.
The Pompeii city was abandoned for many years since “Ash Tsunami” swallowed the life of 2000 people. Who will like to stay in such a deadly neighborhood, right?
The history was unearthed in 1748 after a group of explorers rediscovered this site. Once these explorers started to recognize the lost land under the thick layer of debris, a new history came into existence. It became a rich source of information on knowing the ways of life, buildings, art, etc of that ancient city.
Thanks to those explorers. It was all because of them, today we are gifted with this amazing history. Pompeii was a port town where the sailor’s called it their home. It had many hotels, bars, and also public baths. You will be able to revisit the Roman life of olden days in their Forum, and theater.
To visit this historical wonder, the best place to stay is around Naples or Salerno. Staying here has additional advantages. You can plan to visit the famous Capri Island and have an enjoyable drive on those Amalfi coast.
How to reach
Pompeii is one of the hidden gems of Italy. It is closer to the Naples, in the Campania region of southern Italy. It has very good connectivity with other major cities of Italy by Bus or Train. You should definitely consider this and include in your itinerary when you plan for the Luxury trip to Capri Island.
TIP: If you are looking for a budget option to reach, you can take the Flixbus. Affordable and comfortable.
Today there are two major entrances to visit this city of ruins. If you are visiting Pompei from Naples or Salerno, you can take the Trenitalia trains. This will make you reach the Pompeii train station. From here it is a short walk to reach the entrance on the east.
I prefer to reach through this Pompeii station, since there is an excellent Cathedral that you an visit on your way to the entrance of the ruins.
If you take the train from Sorrento, you have another line of Circumvesuviana that stops at the station closer to the west gates of the ruins.
Either way, you have a tourist
There are 2 more excavations nearby called Oplontis, Boscoreale. But since this was a one day trip for me (other days was planned for Amalfi & Capri Island), we do not want to overload ourselves.
So, we decided to take it easy and just visit the excavation in Pompeii alone. Also, remember that the ruins cover a vast area, so if you really wanted to visit all the places and streets, it will easily take a full day.
Entrance Tickets and Facilities
The ticket for the entrance should cost around 15 Euro for an Adult, and 7.5 Euro for the children. The ticket has no time limitations and is valid for the whole day. As with any historical places, this place also calls for a guide.
If you are making a day trip with your baggage, there are also places to park your luggage safely. It will be of very great help for people with backpacks or visiting the place during the transits. Moreover, it’s completely free.
One word of caution though, if you have parked your baggage at an entrance, it means you should come back to the same exit to pick it up. Which also means, you need to plan your visits right and come back to the starting point.
There are guides available near the ticket office, and you can rent one to learn those rich histories. If not, the other alternative is – as we did – to get the small guide book and a map. A map is a must, else you will end up roaming in the same place and miss out most of the fun.
Make sure you have good walking footwear, for you need to really walk along those streets with pebbles and stones. And be equipped with water bottles. Especially when visiting during the summer. A cap or hat is an additional advantage to avoid the sun.
Let us re-visit the History
When you enter from the east entrance, the first thing that will get your attention is the display of the dead bodies that is frozen in different positions.
As I mentioned before, more than 2000 people in this city Frozen in time, who could not escape died in that tragic event. Those people still live in this place, although in a different form. Your heart will surely melt looking at the form they live today.
A closer look at these displays will reveal the pain and shocks they could have faced during the last seconds of their life. Spend some
Look at the above picture. This is from one of the storerooms where they neatly keep the excavation things well arranged. It clearly portrays the fear and the position in which the person was sitting. I doubt if he actually had any time to even know that he is dying.
Also, the findings like the pots, fountains and the other artifacts teach us the lifestyle of those people.
Roaming in the ancient streets
You will not admire this place if you look and compare with today’s infrastructure in the country. But if you try to imagine how it could have been back in those days, you can really appreciate the Romans and their engineering minds.
One of the great examples is the streets that have clear paths for the carts and how the streets are managed to allow the flow of water even in the rainy days.
Notice the above picture where you see the 3 separate stones placed to help crossing of say, pedestrian. So, why do think these stones are placed at a distance?
For the citizens to jump and cross with joy? Jokes apart, Why cannot they place it closer like what we have today?
Good question. But, now imagine, if the path was without those gaps. What happens when a horse cart wanted to pass this path? Exactly, the spaces in between these stones made it possible for the carts of those days to move around without any hurdle.
Look more at those streets and path with the houses on both sides.
I should really appreciate the efforts put by the archeological team to reform and make the whole city stand in front of us today. You will understand this statement once you view at those old, broken, ruined house.
Ancient Houses & Public Places
Below is another classic example of the efforts from archaeological team. They have done a wonderful job of restoring the old paintings too, like the one shown here.
Not just that, they even recovered and restored the places like the public baths.
Have a closer look at the below picture. Do you notice the walls with some compartment like the current day’s wardrobe? Of course, they are. These are nothing but the lockers of the olden day’s public bath. With such a locker for keeping their clothes separate and also with changing rooms, you learn their living style of Romans.
Another interesting thing I notice here was about the circulation of hot water. In other words, olden day’s SPA treatment. The metal pipe for water is still intact and well maintained, where ever possible.
There are plenty of streets & house of the entire Pompeii ancient city to visit, which brings the olden days in front of our eyes. I was astonished to hear that these are the only portion of the ruins opened for public. There is still a lot that is still under excavation.
Once you pass those old historic ruins, you will also encounter the current decade’s modern sculptures in this city frozen in time. I tried to capture a few of those below for your eyes. You see the ancient art merging with this new modern art here.
There is also a nice amphitheater within the ancient city. This triangular Forum was the center of sports activities. The inhabitants of ancient Pompeii loved plays, performances, and games in here.
The forum is very big, with many pillars and sculptures neatly restored along with few of the modern sculptures. These gigantic pillars under the open sky remind us that the entire world is a theater under those blue skies where we are the artists participating in the drama.
It’s a big city, to cover & appreciate fully in a single day. But time flies when you keep admiring these beauties.
After roaming around the ruins, of course, partially, we noticed that it was almost evening.
So, we decided to call it a day and started walking back to the station from the City Frozen in time.
For sure, our legs were moving us towards the station, but our heavy heart was still thinking about the pains and shocks the people would have felt on that night on their last days.
The heavy heart was praying, Oh God, please do not give such pain even to my enemies !!!