Once upon a time there was a big angry volcano named Vesivius and a lovely little town called Pompeii. Everyone knew that Vesuvius was big and angry but Pompeii and the nearby bay of Naples was so beautiful and picturesque that they decided to live there anyway. Well I hate to be the bearer of bad news but sh*t got real in the summer of 79 AD and well, the rest is history...
Before you start thinking, "I'm not even into history, do I need to go to Pompeii?". Yes, yes you do. Because my photos don't do it justice and did I mention this place is from 79 AD?! Also, the nearby towns of the Amalfi Coast are simply swoon-worthy but you'll read more about that in a post coming soon. And if that's not enough for you, it's got a lot of cool old stuff to take selfies with, for my younger crowd here.
How amazing are these statues? Incredible!
Back in the day, a massive volcanic eruption (compliments of ol' Vesuvius) covered Pompeii and its 11,000 residents in 15-20 feet of volcanic ash and pumice. It is said that ash and stone rained down upon Pompeii for 18 hours after the eruption. Intact underneath was Pompeii's gymnasium, amphitheater, homes, and people. The site was discovered in 1599 but not much was done to excavate, nor was it known the extent of the site. The entire city, even with its small items and artifacts were preserved beneath the ashes and lay still until 1748 when the site was "rediscovered" by a Spanish military engineer.
Roque Joaquín de Alcubierre was roaming the region of Campania, staking out new sites for (future) Charles III of Spain, when he stumbled upon the site at Herculaneum, and then nearby Pompeii.
Until this time, ancient artifacts were for the wealthy to decorate their homes with, not for major educational purposes. Everyone was fascinated by the preserved culture at Pompeii. As excavations continued, impressions of bodies with horrified facial expressions were discovered, demonstrating the complexity and delicacy of the site, and terror that Vesuvius inflicted.
Display of bodies found at Pompeii during excavation. Plaster was used to fill in molds left in volcanic stone and debris from where the bodies were.
So about those artifacts..
Pompeii was discovered to be a treasure trove of erotic art! Many of which feature oversize phallus or erotic scenes in the form of frescoes, statues, and even decorative pottery. The art was seen as explicit (it is!) and over the next few hundred years, the collection was locked up, opened to viewing, locked up, open to viewing, etc. In current times, the collection is held at the Naples National Archaeological Museum and minors are allowed to enter the room housing the collection only with the permission of a guardian. Anyone else blushing just from reading that? Ok, moving on...
Only including non-controversial art here, this is a PG-13 blog, y'all.
TOP TIPS TO HELP YOU PLAN YOUR VISIT
It's dusty- wear shoes and clothes that you don't mind getting a little dirt on.
While we're at it, make sure they're comfortable... you're stopping on and over a lot of rocks here.
You don't have to be a total history buff to visit Pompeii- it's fascinating even to those who aren't totally into history. Not me, obviously, I think history is fun.
Audio guides are available for purchase at the site. The system to use it is a little convoluted, IMO. Mostly because a lot of the buildings look the same and are not marked well. If you can do a guided tour, even better! Audio guides or guided tours can be purchased upon arrival.
Southern Italy is hot. Bring water. There is no shade. Bring a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses.
Bring cash and expect to pay around €10-15 for entrance.
This is one of Italy's most visited attractions with over 2 million visitors per year. Plan accordingly. PS we went in late November (Thanksgiving weekend) and ZERO lines!
Eat, drink, and potty before you enter the Pompeii site. Facilities are sparse when you consider how vast the site is! There is a little touristy village with a few shops and restaurants right outside the entrance gate.
The city of Pompeii itself isn't full enough for a weekend itinerary. Many visitors stay in Naples so they can hit Pompeii, Herculaneum, Naples, and catch a ferry to the Isle of Capri. Another option to consider is to stay along the Amalfi coast and take a car/bus/train to Pompeii, which is the perfect amount of time for a day trip. We landed in Naples and had a private driver pick us up at the airport and take us directly to Pompeii. The driver then picked us up a few hours later and delivered us to our hotel in Sorrento. I selected this option because we hit the Amalfi Coast over a 4-day weekend (coming from Germany) and I knew I didn't want to miss Pompeii. I also didn't want to waste a lot of time riding a train/bus, and a rental car was ruled out because we like to have the option to sample the local drink, but we definitely don't drink and drive. If you're interested in booking service with our awesome driver (PS he is American, so language isn't an issue), comment below or send me an email.
BON VOYAGE, BABES! xoxo