Our travel agent booked this day trip for us so we had private transportation from Naples to Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii. I would suggest going this route because you don’t have to navigate the subway system. Plus, you get dropped off higher up the mountain so the hike is shorter. Considering the first part of the hike up Mt. Vesuvius is straight up I was happy to be given a head start.Growing up in the Great Smoky Mountains, the fog cover made this part of our trip feel like home. There were times when I felt like I was hiking Charlie’s Bunion.
The craters left by the eruption that buried Pompeii and Herculaneum were overwhelming. No pictures are going to do them justice.
When you hike to the elevation that is available to public tour groups you are rewarded with wine, lemoncello, and meloncello. What’s more Italian than a wine bar on top of a mountain? I couldn’t help but smile… and try the wine of course! Lacryma Christi (the tears of Christ) is a wine made from grapes grown in the fertile volcanic soil. That wine is going down in history as the best white wine I’ve ever had in my life. Maybe it was because I was making oxygen choices and sucking wind for 30 minutes before hand but who’s to say?
Artists carved pieces from the magma and sold them as well. Those dragons are badass.
After a short bus ride from Mt. Vesuvius we arrived at the entrance to the city of Pompeii that was buried in ash around what is know believed to be October of 79 AD. Walking the streets of Pompeii was humbling to say the least. After almost 2,000 years dust and ash are still thick in the air. Surrounded by thousands of fellow tourists from around the world we explored the baths, the city center, temples, the amphitheater, and even a brothel. We could easily have spent an entire day in a place with so many stories to tell.
The picture above shows the lockers in the baths where men and women (separate parts of the baths) would place their belongings the same as you and I would do today.
You can see in the photo below that the mountain in the background has 2 peaks: the larger is Mt. Vesuvius and the smaller is Mt. Somma. Before the infamous eruption in 79 AD there was only one peak.
Impressions of the bodies were preserved in the ash and plaster of paris was poured into them like molds. Here you can see a woman, most likely a slave due to the belt around her waist, with her face down and mouth covered in an effort to protect her airway from ash. There are no bones inside this body but standing in her presence made her very real to me. Being in the presence of so much death is palpable and harrowing.
This last picture demonstrates how beautiful Pompeii must have been before the volcanic eruption that took so many lives. I can see why people would want to live here. At one point Pompeii must have been a little piece of Italian paradise.