Walking Through History

Location: Naples, Italy

The body casts impressed me the most. Everyone knows the story of Pompeii: how Mt. Vesuvius erupted early one morning in 79 AD and buried the city under 20 feet of volcanic ash. Almost 20,000 people suffocated from volcanic gases, and many of the victims’ skeletons remained intact under all that ash. Archeologists have since added plaster to the bones to make casts of the people who died. We saw a dog, a young boy, a pregnant woman…all frozen in time. More than anything else about the site, the body casts made it all real.

Pompeii is larger than you might think. The site covers 125 acres, and although we walked around for two hours, we barely scratched the surface. We saw entire streets lined with the remains of old shops, including a bakery with its original oven. We saw the gladiator barracks, the forum and city hall, the law courts…and let us not forget the red-light district with its 25 brothels. The buildings in that area actually had carvings of penises on them to lead prospective patrons to the right place. Classy.

There are sites here in Naples I wouldn’t mind seeing, but I have vacation fatigue and all I really want to do this afternoon is relax by the pool. Tomorrow morning we dock back in Civitavecchia and are scheduled to fly out of the Rome airport just after lunch. I hear volcanic ash is causing problems in the Atlantic, but I’m crossing my fingers that our flight to Toronto won’t be affected. Wish us luck!