Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Trip to Italy, Part IV: Pompeii & Sorrento

Photo source
Photo source

Pompeii was lost for nearly 1700 years before its rediscovery in 1748. Since then, its excavation has provided an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of a city during the Pax Romana (Latin for "Roman peace").
The excavated town offers a snapshot of Roman life in the 1st century, frozen at the moment it was buried on 24 August AD 79.The forum, the baths, many houses, and some out-of-town villas like the Villa of the Mysteries remain well preserved.
Details of everyday life are preserved. For example, on the floor of one of the houses (Sirico's), a famous inscription Salve, lucru (Welcome, money), perhaps humorously intended, indicates a trading company owned by two partners, Sirico and Nummianus (but this could be a nickname, since nummus means coin, money). Other houses provide details concerning professions and categories, such as for the "laundry" workers (Fullones). 
The large number of well-preserved frescoes provide information on everyday life and have been a major advance in art history of the ancient world, with the innovation of the Pompeian Styles (First/Second/Third Style).
At the time of the eruption, the town may have had some 20,000 inhabitants, and was located in an area in which Romans had their holiday villas. Prof. William Abbott explains, "At the time of the eruption, Pompeii had reached its high point in society as many Romans frequently visited Pompeii on vacations." It is the only ancient town of which the whole topographic structure is known precisely as it was, with no later modifications or additions. Due to the difficult terrain it was not distributed on a regular plan as most Roman towns but its streets are straight and laid out in a grid in the Roman tradition; they are laid with polygonal stones, and have houses and shops on both sides of the street.”
Besides the forum, many other services were found: the Macellum (great food market), the Pistrinum (mill), the Thermopolium (sort of bar that served cold and hot beverages), and cauponae (small restaurants). An amphitheatre and two theatres have been found, along with a palaestra or gymnasium. A hotel (of 1,000 square metres) was found a short distance from the town; it is now nicknamed the "Grand Hotel Murecine".


My personal impressions were overwhelming; it’s pretty different than seeing Pompeii in a tv documentary. I could breathe the local air, touch the remains of the small houses and villas, see and feel the daily lifestyle of some thousands of people that lived 2000 years ago. I never could imagined how well developed Pompeii was in the ancient society. I admired their perfectly built houses (some details are still used today), they knew how to have a beautiful lifestyle (hired talented Greek artists to decorate their homes and gardens) and organized the village in a great and intelligent way. Most importantly, I felt somehow connected with the lost ones transmitting to me a good vibe; not to be sad about their tragedy... it was such a positive atmosphere kind of a friendly welcome; despite being about 42C at 3pm when I was there, every few minutes the air was pleasantly blowing, bringing comfort.

I fully enjoyed my visit to such a beautiful ancient village; it was an unexpected true pleasure!

The baker's house:

Modern Oven
Modern Kitchen in a Residential District

Beautiful decorative elements:


Photo source

The train trip from Pompeii to Sorrento lasted about 1h. It was very hot and unpleasant but when I reached Sorrento it felt like a refreshing oasis! The village explodes of good spirits, charm, animation, flavours and... lots of yellow :) Sorrento is the land of lemons! It has a tourists abundance in comparison to Pozzuoli and I admired how clean and organized the village is! I loved the pedestrian streets filled with mini shops from local artisans and food vendors. Good to know: Sorrento is pretty pricey!

Singing Bus (incl. the Driver)
Mini Beach
Original Limoncello
Delicious Cannoli

local supermarket:

No comments:

Post a Comment