This morning we piled onto our bus again to begin our journey to Southern Italy. Mum and I were thankful that we would spend most of the morning on the bus, as we were a bit tired and sore from a trek to the Colosseum the day before. Our first stop in the south was to be the famous city of Pompeii, which is located near Naples and stands in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, the volcano who destroyed it. I’d always been quite fascinated with this city so I was looking forward to actually being there and seeing all the things I’d only seen on tv and in books for years. But before we began our tour of the city, we had a little time for lunch. There is a little eatery/restaurant near the entrance to the city (along with lots of little stalls selling various things). In the eatery, there’s a pizza place that makes your pizza right before your eyes. The dough is pre made but they stretch it into a base, put sauce on it and whatever topping you ask for. Then it’s popped into a wood fire oven for a few minutes and comes out cooked to perfection. It was the nicest pizza I’ve ever had – and I’ve eaten a lot of pizza! So if you ever go to Pompeii, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to have one of these pizzas. Be prepared to wait for around 10-15 minutes though, as the amount of people ordering is crazy, but the wait is definitely worth it.
After lunch we met with our tour guide, Francesco, who was the best tour guide you could ever ask for and was constantly spouting words like “fantastico” and “mamma mia”. He obviously loved what he did. He also had the funniest laugh I’ve ever heard and whenever he laughed, we all laughed. It definitely made the tour more interesting having someone that knew and was passionate about what he was saying.
I learnt a couple of things about Pompeii that maybe I knew, but according to my memory, was fresh information. I was surprised to learn that what I had thought for years was actual mummified bodies, were really plaster casts. When the city was first discover in modern times buried under metres of ash, archaeologists also found large pockets of air in the hardened ash (I’m guessing they did scans) and they realised that the pockets of air had once held human bodies, which over time had decomposed leaving nothing in their place. This acted as the perfect mould and they filled these gaps with plaster which ended up being the “statues” of the people we see today. I also learnt that the world’s oldest “beware of the dog” sign is in Pompeii and that they had something similar to a food court set up where you could go to a shop and buy some hot pre cooked food which was begin kept warm in basins. All very modern! The city of Pompeii has provided vital information when it comes to discovering how the Romans lived in Ancient times and even if you aren’t interested in that side of things, it’s an amazing place just to walk through and has remained virtually untouched by modern man.