Wednesday, February 8, 2017


This past Sunday I visited Pompeii, an ancient Roman town that was buried under volcanic ash in 79 AD when Mount Vesuvius erupted.

It happened to be the first Sunday of the month, which meant museums in Napoli—including Pompeii—were free. (Saved me from a 13-euro entrance ticket!)

I've heard that you haven't fully experienced Pompeii unless you visit both Pompeii (the remains of the city) and the National Archeology Museum of Naples (which houses the artifacts that have been found in Pompeii). Well, if that's the case, then I have an incomplete experience of Pompeii—as I never made it to the archeology museum.

But what I did experience were five hours of walking around this ancient city (and still not getting to all the sections—there's a lot of ground to cover!).

It was amazing how organized the Romans were. As you can see below (and in many photos to follow), sidewalks were raised so that people had an easier time avoiding water when it rained and animal droppings from the road.

Following this sentiment, there were high stones where pedestrians would cross streets.

It was also interesting to consider how many ideas from our current society came from or were influenced by the Romans. (I don't know very many yet, but what I did learn and see has piqued interest for more. I watched a documentary on YouTube that night back at the hostel. Oh, how I might have turned out if my high school Western Civ class hadn't been mere movies and packets of textbook worksheets...)  

In Pompeii, water was available to every residence—no matter their social standing.

The amphitheater was built near the edge of the city, so that when neighboring villages would come to watch gladiators or any other events, traffic didn't have to get through the city. 

This is a corner "snack bar" where people could buy things to eat.

This patch of green grass below was once a swimming pool. It was located just outside of the baths, where Romans enjoyed relaxing.

Ovens above, and loaves of bread below.

Here's one of the best preserved wall paintings from Pompeii:

All of the art (paintings, mosaics, etc.) was especially thought-provoking, considering how old it was. 

Which human(s) painted these? Who had the ideas for the images? What do they tell us about life in that period?

It was also incredible to be connected to this act of creation that humans have been doing since their existence on Earth.

Later that night I sketched from the above picture:

Despite the awe of walking these streets and touching these walls, after a few hours my surroundings did feel a bit monotonous.

As Greg from my hostel jokingly said, "Seen one street in Pompeii, seen them all."

The streets are definitely not all the same, but I did reach a point where I wanted to spice up my visit...

... so I did a tiny bit of planking, using my point-and-shoot's 10-second timer.

Planking in Pompeii - Rebe With a Clause

While you see no one in those pictures, this place was crawling with tourists and tour groups. Yet I was able to find a few quieter side streets where I had at least 10 seconds between passersby.

I can't imagine what this place must be like during the summer months. Have I mentioned yet how awesome it is to be traveling Italy in February?

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  1. Do you think any of the citizens of Pompeii planked? Perhaps archeologists found some planking citizens, but just didn't realize they were planking. PLANKING! I love saying the word planking and planked.

    1. Hah, I don't think so... but you never know. I have to share your idea from Twitter here: to do a verb in each city, that begins with the same letter as the city—planking in Pompeii, roaming in Rome... :)

  2. Rebecca,
    Your pictures are great! I had no idea there was so much to see at Pompeii. I can only remember walking down one street and peering into rooms of houses. I wonder if it was because we were a large group and had such so little time.

    1. Thanks Grandma! Yeah, it's really big. I can imagine that they would likely take a large group to a few pre-selected spots—there's just no way to walk every street!