December 26, 2005

After seeing the artifacts from Pompeii at the Archaeological Museum and getting a brief history lesson from our mp3 audio guide we were ready to see the real thing. Today we visited the ancient ruins of Pompeii. Pompeii was first occupied in the 8th century BC. The Etruscans soon dominated the region and Pompeii was no exception. The Etruscan occupation lasted throughout the 5th and 6th centuries BC. After the Etruscans came the Samnites. The Samnites turned Pompeii into a pure Greek town. Their reign ended when the Romans took control of Pompeii around 200 BC. The Romans retained control over Pompeii until the end... a fateful day in 79 AD when Mt Vesuvius unleashed its fury on the 20,000 inhabitants of this thriving Roman city. Although this tragic event ended the lives of 20,000 Pompeian residents, the ash that buried the town served as a sort of mummification for the entire city. The eruption of 79 AD which buried the town in ash actually captured a moment in time. Under the ash everything remained as it was at the time of the eruption. Artwork was preserved. Buildings were preserved. Several important clues were left behind. These clues give us a little glimpse into the past. These clues are the silver lining that can be seen when you visit the ruins at Pompeii.

During our visit we were surprised by the size of the Pompeii area already uncovered and they are finding more and more every year. After four hours of touring the ancient city we felt like we had seen enough. We took the 30 minute train back to Naples and packed up for our journey back to Rome, but not before grabbing our last piece of Neapolitan pizza. Hopefully, we will be able to fly to Spain in the next day or so.

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