Let’s try again…Here are a few photos from my Pompeii visit (hoping the photos are worth all those words they’re rumored to be worth…).
A model of the city in the Naples Archeology Museum, just to give you and idea of how big it was – 20,000 people’s worth. I never expected it to be so crazy huge.
The museum has a room dedicated to Pompeiian “erotica”. (Keep in mind, however, that for them there was nothing dirty about sex. The phallus was a good luck symbol of prosperity, to the point that many houses had wind chimes depicting the theme and the only sign recovered from one of the bakeries featured a phallus, basically as the logo of the store.) I think this lady’s metal “bikini” is pretty rockin’- I can only think of Princess Leah!
From “the Villa of Mysteries” – perhaps the best preserved upper-class home from this time period. It was located in the “suburbs” of Pompeii and has to be seen by anyone with more than a passing interest in this history/archeology. There are gardens, frescos galore and even a couple of recovered bodies (see below).
One of the recovered “bodies” of Mt. Vesuvius’ victims. Whenever a cavity was discovered during excavations plaster would be poured in and left to dry, filling the space left by the body as it decayed. Pompeii has few bodies (nearby Herculaneum, a smaller and wealthier town, had many more) since most inhabitants evacuated to the beach, thinking they’d be safer there. In the villa above, a slave was found in one of the downstairs rooms where you could see where his teeth were, as his mouth was open when he died. These “bodies” are a heavy hit of humanism, so rare in archeology sites. It makes the place feel rather intimate.
The brothel. Five rooms opened off the ground floor hallway, each containing a stone bed (a mattress would be placed on top). The walls were covered with – ahem – inspirational paintings. There was a 2nd story with several more rooms.
A street with many store fronts and some swank houses. The walls are covered with political graffiti (as well as frescos). The raised stones you can see across the road were a pedestrian crosswalk – so the people could cross traffic as well as avoid the flow of water, waste and whatnot that might be gushing down the street.
We spent 4 1/2 hours there and had to hustle in order to just hit the highlights. I would totally go back again – this is a 2-3 dayer. This will tide me over at work for a while. I’m sure to be all smiles for a good bit.