Forty minutes on a packed local train from Naples and we arrived in Pompeii, the ancient Roman town that was destroyed and buried under ash, when Mt Vesuvius erupted way back in 79 A.D.
The remains are close to perfect, and you actually walk around the streets, where supposedly 20,000 people once lived with the huge volcano looming in the background.
I, being the savvy traveller I am, and loving to save a Euro or two, walked straight past the tour guides, and with the assistance of Rick Steves led my own walking tour.
Wandering from the market place, through to the largest home in ancient Pompeii which encompassed 40 rooms. Stopping at the towns largest baths, seeing beautiful frescos and intricate mosaics. You can also view casts, that were made by filling the voids between ash layers, that depict the positions of people as they died, caught by the eruption.
For me, the most fascinating things:
The mosaic, at the entrance of one home that says beware of the dog, the fact this phrase dates back so far is astonishing. The giant stepping stones, in place to allow people to still cross when the streets were flooded for daily cleaning, very innovative.
The marble benches that were once counters for ancient fast food restaurants, complete with circles where the pots of food would have sat.
The final stop on my tour, walking along a small alleyway, and without expecting it, arriving at the theatre, a huge stadium that once sat 5,000 people. The huge tiered seats, perfectly in tact, was a stunning site.
We spent close to three hours walking around, finding unforgettable sites and getting lost multiple times, had the heat not of been so extreme, we would of spent longer. Pompeii is a true insight into ancient Roman life and it’s easy to see why this town is Italy’s biggest tourist attraction, definitely worthy of the day trip.