Pompei and Sorrento

Sorrento Travel Blog

 › entry 26 of 41 › view all entries

Ari, the Mekenzies and I went to Pompei to see the ruins. This was essentially why I came to Sorrento, and I've been looking forward to it for a long time. I was not disappointed! I was amazed at how well preserved everything was. The city, as some of you may know, was completely wiped out by Mount Vesuvius' fury in the mid 3rd century A.D. The people of Pompei led very decadent lives and were some of the only people in Italy to wholly reject the coming rise of Christianity. Many in Italy viewed the volcano blast as God's anger with them.

The blast happened early in the afternoon, and was first only a small earthquake that not many payed attention to.  Then came the real destruction.

Vesuvius launched it's lava high into the afternoon sky, sending fireballs that rained down on the city. The people started to panic, running out into the streets in confusion. Then came the massive river of magma, flowing through the streets, instantly killing everything and everyone in it's path. Pompie was destroyed, utterly wiped out in less than a few hours. There were only a handful of survivors.

However, out of the carnage came beauty. The volcanic soil was rich with nutrients and plantlife began to flourish. Soon the ruined city began to look like a Garden of Eden, rich with fruits, plants and animals. Some of the land in old Pompei is still used to this day as gardens and orchards for fruit and vegetable growing.

The interesting thing about Pompei's destruction is the instant preservation of it's victims.

The lava encased people, essentially locking them in tombs of solid rock. When the city was excavated, archeologist were amazed to find that the bodies were esentially fossilized and not just bone, but the entirety of their selves were wholly in tact, although they were niow rock instead of flesh. It's intersting to see some of the positions the bodies were in when they died. One that I saw was sitting with his/her knees tucked to their chest, face pressed against their hands, almost as if in prayer. Very powerful stuff.

A highlight for me was the auditorium. In the early seventies, Pink Floyd filmed a performance there, titled "Live from Pompei". It was really awesome to be standing right in the same spot as the band. I know it has nothing to do with the actual history of Pompei, but it was a highlight none the less.

After Pompei, the girls and I went out to dinner to celebrate our last meal in Italy. Once again, I fell ion love with Italian food. I'm going to really miss it a lot. You just can't get pesto in the states that tastes like pesto in Italy.

I went to bed that night with a full belly and memories of a great and beautiful country that I will miss dearly.


p.s. I will have pictures up soon, but the cafe I'm in right now blocks from uploading them, so they are coming, I'm just not sure when.

jeffgarris says:
I agree with Aunt Janet, you have a great style of writing, Justin, it's really a pleasure to read. Pompei, how I would love to visit there. And I don't blame you one bit for thinking of being where Pink Floyd had been as a highlight. History of the world and rock music together in one place, great stuff!

- Jeff
Posted on: Apr 17, 2009
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Ari and one of the Mekenzies
Ari and one of the Mekenzies
standing in the exact spot Pink Fl…
standing in the exact spot Pink F…
sunset loooking out from the roof …
sunset loooking out from the roof…
the nicest hostel showers ever!
the nicest hostel showers ever!
photo by: hellenica