During our four-day stay in Italy we were able to see dozens of different historical sites. Ironically, what was probably our best experience wasn’t in Rome at all. It was about 30 minutes from Naples at the ruins of Pompeii. Here are four things I learned while traversing the ancient city:
1. Don’t live by a volcano.
If you can avoid it, I would suggest living as far away from an enormous volcano as possible. To be fair, It isn’t likely that the citizens of Pompeii knew they were near a Volcano until it was way too late. For some perspective, here is Vesuvius (the volcano that ruined everyone’s day back in 79AD).
Imagine two lines extending from both slopes and meeting somewhere very high in the middle of the sky. That’s how much mountain fell on the surrounding area. It was a beautiful place, but throw in some skyscraper size rubble soaring through the air and I’m out. I’ll just live somewhere else.
2. Time travel is the best way to explore the past.
Books? Homework? Exams? No thanks. I’ll just go back in time. When we first arrived at Pompeii, we expected the basic sort of tour we had gotten everywhere else. You walk in with a guide book, and in about an hour, you are exiting through the gift shop. That just wasn’t the case with Pompeii. You arrive through one of a few entrances that look like this:
Basically, they hand you a guide-book and say “have at it.” We spent hours seeing all of the temples, homes, schools, amphitheaters and so on. I was absolutely blown away. It isn’t just a museum, it is the closet experience to time travel available. Yes, there are a few streets blocked off here and there, but for the most part, it is an ancient free-for-all.
3. People have always been perverts.
I think growing up as a conservative Christian (which I still am for those who are wondering) makes you assume that the world is just going down the tubes. Well, it probably is, but it’s been that way for a really long time. Exhibit 1: the perverted people of Pompeii. Many of the artifacts that were found in Pompeii have been moved to the museum in nearby Naples. There was so much perverted stuff that they have what is called the “Secret Room.” I’ll spare you the details. And by spare you the details I mean I will censor only the most graphic portion of my next picture.
So people have been perverts for a while. Other portions of the Secret Room included paintings of the various services you could buy at the largest (yes there was more than one) brothel in Pompeii as well as various phallic symbols that would be scattered around a household.
4. Don’t get caught doing something bad when you die, especially if you live by a volcano.
Stephenie, multiple times, explained to me what type of eruption was at Vesuvius. Unfortunately, rocks are boring so I don’t remember the terms. Basically, if you lived in Pompeii your body had the potential to become a permanent testament to whatever you were doing at the time.
I don’t have any other points. Here are some more pictures of our trip. We’re terrible photographers, hopefully we’ll get better as we do it more.