Today we took the regional train out of Naples which was stuffy and hot. But it got us to Pompeii.
Pompeii was a resort for wealthy and powerful Romans (senators on vacation!). After the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, the city was covered by volcanic ash for 1700 years until excavations begun in the mid 18th century.
Inscriptions in the steam tub
Some locals who never got to leave – the people were most likely knocked out by the poisonous gasses from the volcanic explosion before they suffocated on the clouds of ash that descended from the mountain.
Mount Vesuvius, the cause of all the troubles.
We were a bit heat stroked at this point so we headed to Hortus Pompeii Cafe for lunch. Kris and Eric found some fruit slushies that were awesome. As was the gluten free bun.
After lunch it was back on the regional train to Ercolano to see Herculaneum – a city of 4000 – 5000 people, possibly named for Hercules (making it of Greek origin?). Fewer human remains were found here, unlike Pompeii, so it was assumed that many inhabitants were able to escape toward Naples prior to the destruction of the city. It is however better preserved and way less crowded.
When we were in the Monteray Bay Aquarium we saw a photo of the octopus mosaic from the tepidarium in the common bath. And we found it.
Crazily well preserved. Although it did need a wash.
Another bath house
Thermoplium – 'stoves' in the kitchen
Yet more mosaics. Amazingly so perfect after so long
I knew the name of this guy but I can't remember it for the life of me. Google is failing me too. He was some important guy. And I know it's not Marco Polo but it's something like that.
As Herculaneum is farther away from Mount Vesuvius than Pompeii, the inhabitants may have had some warning about the eruption. These people tried to hide in lower storage rooms in hopes of surviving the blast – alas, they did not.
After thoroughly enjoying the experience but being completely cooked and heat stroked, we headed back to the hotel. After a cooling shower and some rest we headed out for pizza again. Once again we needed the gf noodles for Eric but they were happy to charge us full price to cook them. But hey, we got a gf meal for our celiac kid and we got great pizza. I'll call it a win.
Tomorrow we are off to Mount Vesuvius. Eric asked what happens if it erupts while we are there. I said we'd get a great show for a very short time. Thank goodness it's dormant.