Friday, March 15, 2013

Travel: Pompeii

Directions for those at NSA Naples: Take the local bus to Aversa train station, and then take the local or express train to Napoli Centrale. Once there, go downstairs to Piazza Garibaldi station, and follow the signs to the Circumvesuviana line. Take the train headed to Sorrento/Pompei on platform 3. Get off at Pompei Scavi Villa dei Misteri and walk to the entrance of the excavation on the right.

Many people were part of guided tours, but we opted for DIY exploration.

The site is quite large, mazelike, and deserves three to four days rather than three to four hours to properly tour. Each cobbled road leads to frescoes, pottery, statues, forums, bath houses, theaters, gardens, temples, mosaics, houses and barracks, gymnasiums, graveyards, fast-food restaurant equivalents (thermopolion), and even a brothel. The amount that has been excavated and restored so far is remarkable, and work continues.

Cole may be an archaeologist in the making. He was fascinated with the ruins, wondered about the purpose of each found article and space, and energetically led our tour. He was particularly interested in the Necropolis and the bodies found under three meters of ash and stone.

For me, the paintings, sculpture, mosaics and architecture were most appealing. Unfortunately, the memory card on my camera was full halfway through the tour, which was most disappointing. But I was able to capture some of what we saw. I'll have to photograph the rest on our next visit.

Total travel time: 3.5 hours

Time on excavation site: 4 hours

Cost: 60 Euros (transportation, entrance fees, and lunch at the Pompeii Cafeteria)

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