All it takes is a volcano erupting nearby to ruin an absolute wonderful city filled with every mod con and all the cultural niceties that the Roman Empire could offer.
Our day was spent exploring just a fraction of this amazing ruin, and we share the awe of the millions who have been touring it for 250 years. While it may be ancient, this was far from a primitive culture. The rich lived well, the shopkeepers were busy, the brothels were hopping, and trade was good. Politicians played their games, and their followers benefited – or at least had a few gladiatorial contests or poetry readings as a reward.
The rich did live extremely well, as evidenced by the house of Menander.
This house and many others we saw were ornamented with frescoes and mosaics that just begin to hint at the beauty of Pompeii.
There was definitely a sense of life just interrupted here. You can imagine the waiters in this once-bustling cafe, with pots of delicacies ready for the lunch crowd, and with lazy dogs still lounging on the cool cobblestones, and a nice drink of water available just outside.
A decision was made to introduce some modern art into the town. The pieces can be very dramatic, but it seems peculiar that someone thought the place needed spicing up…
The setting of the city was gorgeous – until it wasn’t. Now it is haunting and haunted – one of the most special ways the ancient world has to communicate with us.
For us, it was back on the Circumvesuviana to shake, rattle and roll our way back to Sorrento, after admiring the gargantuan lemons they grow in this part of the world. Guess it’s just the perfect climate – some days.