Naples gulf and the Vesuvio

Posted by – 31/05/2008

While we were in Sorrento we decided to go north, around Naples gulf, up to Vesuvio and Pompei. We made the trip in two different days, so we could better appreciate what was there to see.

Pompei remains are certainly something worth seeing. The city was large and apparently well organized and the remains were somewhat more preserved than similar sites by means of the volcanic material that wrapped it. The most impressing, though, were the human bodies preserved in ashes we found there:


We observed the Vesuvio from Pompei and thought “how come they were unprepared?”. Most of the people seems to have been caught sleeping or hiding, but not running away. Then we found out that they were not killed by lava (though some covered the city afterwards), but by the pyroclastic cloud that came before the lava. Apparently the volcano had been blowing for one or two days before Pompei were affected, but then if blew a hot cloud of ashes and dust traveling at 80 km/h, leaving no chance for Pompei inhabitants to escape.

The ashes ended up preserving beautiful things, like this mosaic of a battle:

As usual, I went after some building of interest and look what I’ve found! They had a doctor’s office (actually a temple devoted to Aesculapium – god of Medicine – but the description in the booklet imply that people went there to get medical treatment).

The next day we went climbing Vesuvio. This is the second volcano I climb (the first were mount Fuji, in Tokyo), and I always am amazed to walk in the edge of them. Vesuvio has a path protected by wood limits that goes all around the cone. It’s hot near the cone, and there’s a noise always coming from the crater. People refer to it as “volcano humming”. It reminds everybody that Vesuvio is just asleep… not dead.

From up there we can see Pompei. What a pity it was a cloudy day so the pictures were not as good as it gets, but here is the best one I got when pointing my camera to Pompei:

See you next post… Ciao.

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