On our way to Sorrento, we stopped at Pompeii to discover the highlights of this once thriving Italian city. If you don’t already know, Pompeii is famous for its sudden and complete destruction from neighboring volcano, Mount Vesuvius. The city was buried under 6m of volcanic ash, but not before its residents were suffocated to death due to toxic volcanic fumes. The eruption occurred on the 24th of August, in 79AD.
The ruins have been almost perfectly preserved, and there are many mummified remains of Pompeii citizens on display – their figures are encased in glass.
One of the most popular features of Pompei is the brothel. There are “Crown Jewels” (tiny phallic carvings in the roads) that lead you directly to these rooms. Within the brothel, there are many frescoes that serve as a kind of menu indicating specialty of each woman. Interestingly, one can still see remnants of Russo Pompeii or the red of Pompeii – a colour that Pompeians loved and used frequently in their frescoes.
Our guide at Pompeii emphasized features of the city that elucidate ancient Pompeian life and its sophistication and organization. Along most streets are aqueducts that conveyed water to the cities inhabitants. These lead-lined pipes remain largely intact and are still visible today. Moreover, our guide stressed the organization of the city in a modern grid pattern to help city life and commerce flow. The town was divided into quarters and streets that were marked by signs. There were even marble reflectors in the road to indicate the important areas of town. (We knew we were in an important part of town when we happened upon an ancient abode of nearly 30,000 square feet.)
Ultimately, the central point of the city was the Pompeian Forum. The forum contained many famed Roman gods: the bust of Jupiter, a sculpture of Apollo and a bust of Diana. The Temple of Venus (Aphrodite) once stood prominently, but is no longer in tact.
If you’ve any desire to visit such a wonderfully preserved historical city, I recommend that you do so presently. Mount Vesuvius is “a ticking time bomb” according to BBC, and its next eruption is predicted to be devastating.