gNaples April 14
Before Mount Vesuvius got all angry and erupted in 79 AD Pompeii was considered the Las Vegas of its time. Wine, prostitution, olives, anchovies and olive oil were the main industries. Herculaneum on the other hand was considered the Beverly Hills where the rich and chic lived in beautiful homes. We went to Pompeii.
Our guide Carmine, from Mondo Guide, met us at the port of Naples (Napoli). There were 17 of us on the tour so we had a tour van and we were off.
First was a stop at a cameo and coral factory. We had to watch a video about cameos so we could use the free toilets. I had no idea cameos were carved from shells. The toilets were nice too.
Pompeii is incredible. Before we left for the trip we watched a program about the eruption so we knew that the lava didn't kill/cover the city. The lava didn't even reach the city. It was buried by about 20 meters of ash and lava/pumice stone pelting down with toxic gasses.
We only walked through a small portion of Pompeii. It's huge! We walked the streets where there were stores of all kinds, homes, gymnasiums, bath houses and we visited one of the 25 brothels. There were sex menu board frescoes painted on the walls so the men could choose what they wanted. There were 35 bakeries in Pompeii and they found 81 pieces of carbonized bread. They stopped excavating in the 1980's there are still two large areas in Pompeii that are buried. They are leaving them because things will stay well preserved the way they are underground for future generations. Or maybe until someone pays for the excavation?
Mount Vesuvius is still an active volcano so it will erupt again. The last eruption was in 1944. Our guide lives in Pompeii and he said with modern technology they should have enough notice to leave Pompeii before it gets dangerous. I stress the word SHOULD. Everyone in Pompeii has volcano insurance. Pompeii was bombed in WWII and we saw the remains of a shell today.
We had pizza and beer for lunch. The pizza (Margherita) was delicious. Lots of places in Italy still have siesta from 1-5 pm. We did not have a siesta although some of our group fell asleep in the van on our scenic drive.
After a scenic drive of Naples we toured the archeological museum. In the museum are the artifacts recovered from Pompeii and Herculaneum. There are the most amazing mosaics that would have been on floors, bronze statues, marble statues and lots of every day tools (cooking, vanity set, jugs, vases) and instruments for doctors and dentists. It is really fascinating to see these things from almost 2000 years ago and how many of them look the same as what we use today.
The marble mosaics are outstanding. The pieces of marble are so tiny and some of the finished pieces/pictures are huge! We could have spent a whole day in the museum, but we had to get back to the ship.
Sail away was beautiful as we toasted Mount Vesuvius in the distance.
Today we learned that Italian gesturing with one hand means - what do you want?Gesturing with two hands means -what the hell do you want? It's always good to learn a new language.
We've also learned that in Italy wine is food. And a meal without wine is called breakfast (sometimes).