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Pompeii; The Lost City

A Lost City Unearthed

In 79 A.D, a seemingly peaceful Roman city was shook by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that interred the city for many centuries until its rediscovery in 1748. Pompeii's significance to the understanding of Roman's lifestyle, routine and architecture can be attributed to its well preserved foundations.

From the ashes and pumice of Mount Vesuvius, its destruction has, paradoxically, provided historians with a 3D visualization of an intact ancient Roman city and clues to how ancient Rome had evolved. Pompeii has attracted tourists for over 250 years and continues to allure art and history aficionados as well as mystery seekers.

Getting there from Naples

A day trip to Pompeii from Naples is feasible as the distance is only less than 45 minutes and there are many ways to get to the excavation site.

1) Bus

I do not recommend this mode but so happened that when I visited Pompeii the trains were on strike and I had to use the bus to get to Pompeii. Walk from the cruise terminal to Nuova Marina where you will find the SITA bus station. One way ticket will cost 2.80 euros. Make sure you get off at porta marina or Mazzini 6 stop or else you will find yourself walking for one hour back to site as the bus drivers do not announce the ancient ruins stop.

2) Circumvesuviana

This is the most convenient way to get to Pompeii. Take the Napoli/Sorrento line and get off at Pompeii Scavi stop. The Porta Marina entrance is just 50 metres away from the station. The ticket costs 2.90 euros and it goes all the way to Sorrento!!

POMPEII & THE WRATH OF MOUNT VESUVIUS!!

Pompeii has 9 regions which is further divided into insulaes.

Pompeii's topographical layout is as complex and vast as its history. Touring the whole complex will take up one whole day, so be prepared for lots of walking. As you enter Porta Marina, you will see the entrance booth and the full admission fee costs 12 euros.

The quadriportico dei teatri (above) was initially used for the audience to stroll between acts and later as a barracks for gladiators.

Teatro Picollo Odeon (above)

Villa Stabiana (above)

Stabian Spa (above) is one of the oldest thermal spa in Pompeii and is composed of three parts:

1) The rooms in the north section contain a series of latrines.

2) Private baths situated behind the northern colonnade.

3) Changing rooms, a vestibule - with magnificent plaster decoration - rooms for the cold bath (frigidarium), for the tepid bath (tepidarium) and for the hot bath (alidarium).

Just around the corner of Stabian bath is Vicolo del Lupanare, where the brothel ruins are located.

At the end of via del abondanzza, lies the core of the city (above). The Forum of Pompeii is considered the city centre and is the heart of political, economic and religious growth in Pompeii.

The tempio de Giove Scavi is located at the end of the forum (above).

Well preserved ancient potteries unearthed (above).

Approximately 1150 bodies have been excavated and above is a body cast of a human victim as well as a dog with its teeth and collar still preserved (above).

The Cave Canem 'Beware of dog' mosaic at the House of Tragic Poet, is akin to the modern day signage placed at the gates of home owners as a warning to outsiders (above).

House of Menander

This lofty status townhouse, is a perfect fusion of wealth with the social language of the elite through its architecture.

The tablinum pictured above is located at the entrance and it opens to the atrium and peristyle.

The peristyle at the centre is bordered on all 4 sides by 23 ionic columns forming the porticos (above).

Private bath suite centred around 8 columned atrium (above).

The central panel shown above depicts the Punishment of Dirce (above).

The house is named after the painting of Greek playwright Menander found in the niche at the back of the peristyle (above).

House of P. Casca Longus

He was one of the Emperor Caesars's assassins. Although it can be verified if he ever lived here, the house was named after an inscription that was found on a marble table tripod that is on display.

The atrium is decorated by blue panels separated by a black ornamental bands thats sits above the red frieze (above).

This marble table tripod is formed by lion's foot supporting its head and topped by an entablature (above).

House of Paquius Proculus

The most striking feature of this house is the brilliant fauna mosaic design covering the entire floor of the atrium. This house has a standard layout, comprising of an atrium, courtyard and a tablinum (below).

As we move on to the eastern periphery of the city, the extensive palaestra of the ‘Iuventus Pompeiana’ consists of a central space for gymnastic exercises and a swimming pool. Around it, runs a portico of 118 columns in brick covered with stucco (below).

The amphitheatre is one of the oldest theatre known to have been built of stone after the Colosseum and it also served as the venue for gladiatorial combats (below).

Villa dei Misteri is one of top tourist spots and be mindful that is located at the outskirts of the city. Walking from Porta Marina to the villa can easily take around 45 minutes. This villa allows us to visualize ancient Roman painting at its best as most of the details are well preserved. The brilliant red panels adorned by depiction of religious and marital rites allows us to picture what it must have been like living in a civilization that has long gone.

Thoughts on Naples & Pompeii

My thoughts began to whisk away from the misty mountain and the stillness of a ruined city. My arms rested against a stoned wall that was lined towards Castel Sant'Elmo, and as I leaned over the barrier, my eyes rested on a mountain that stood aloof on a bay that seemed infinite.

The grey horizon, though casting a ghostly silhouette on the shores of Naples, was offset by the glimmer of a city that continues to expand despite its neighboring imminent natural threats.

To a certain degree, knowing the perils that lie ahead of this historical city creates a deep sense of appreciation and gratitude towards the effort of conservationist to preserve a significant part our ancient civilizations. I looked back on my journey with a sense of elation, intertwined with the city's air of mystery and deeply rooted historical values that create a sense of longing in all visitors

 

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