From Vesuvius the obvious next stop would be Pompeii and that’s where we headed next. Our stop was all too brief, and the main thing I took away was that I’d really like to visit again and do it properly.
We didn’t really scratch the surface, but even so I took a huge number of photos.
Mary Beard recommends 10 ‘must visit’ locations within the city, but we only made it to a couple of those. These photos are from one, ‘The House of the Marine Venus’, now known for the fresco shown below.
It was clear that some buildings are currently under reconstruction, and I know that many have been rebuilt in the past, not least after Allied bombing during the Second World War. Some paintings too, have been, in Beard’s words – ‘aggressively restored’ – it would be interesting to know to what extent the paintings we admired actually dated back to before the eruption of AD79.
Some of Pompeii’s famous stepping-stones. Apparently the streets were often flooded and probably always filled with litter and worse. The stones may also have served to partially restrict access by horse drawn carts to certain important streets.
Beard suggests that the presence of numerous disembodied faces and hands may be because they belonged to statues which were principally wooden and which did not survive the heat of the volcanic explosion.
Although I was disappointed by our short stay at Pompeii, the feeling was tempered by the knowledge that I would spend the afternoon in Naples’ National Archeological Museum which holds many of the paintings, mosaics and best finds from Pompeii and Herculaneum. I would that is, were it open on Tuesdays. Ho-hum.
A statue found by the (locked) doors of the Naples Archeological Museum.