Thursday, July 14, 2011

Exploring A Lost City

UNESCO World Heritage Site

  of Pompeii

It was a summer day in August 79 A.D. when  Mt. Vesuvius rumbled, an ominous cloud formed, residents fled to save their lives, and a city was lost in a sea of ash. For nearly 1700 years, the ancient Roman cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii would lay hidden under 75 feet of volcanic ash until their accidental discovery and subsequent excavation.

Pompeii was known as a vacation community for high society before the eruption; it had a forum, amphitheater, gymnasium, shops and an aqueduct that delivered water for irrigation, fountains and private baths. Some of the ruins are remarkably preserved with elaborately detailed mosaics and colorful frescoes decorating the interiors of wealthy homeowners' villas.

What was life like under the volcano? What exactly did happen that summer day in A.D. 79? 
The Discovery Channel takes a look into the latest findings.

Fast forward to current day...   we exit our motorcoach and walk along the path to the entrance of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Shortly after entering the site we see evidence of remarkably well preserved buildings from the Lost City.

Our guide, Mama Nancy, is very knowledgeable about the history of Pompeii, and leads us through the various streets of the excavated city.   After a short walk we are in the amphitheater where we sit and listen as several of our group experience what it was like to stand before the crowd and speak.   Sound carries extremely well in the well-designed theater.   Modern theaters have taken their design from ancient Romans.

We explore the various regions of  Pompeii.  One of the highlights was the Forum which was the heart of the city's religious, economic, and municipal life.   It was raining from the time we left the amphitheater until shortly after leaving the Forum.  Mt. Vesuvius could be seen in the distance casting its shadow on us.   Imagine if that was lava instead of rain.   All of a sudden we understand what it must have been like that fateful August day.

Much research has been done since the discovery of this lost city.   Here are just a few that you might find interesting:

Besides the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii is one of the must-see destinations while in Napoli (Naples, Italy).
We have posted several photos on our Facebook Fan Page:  Exploring Pompeii

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