What could be a better place to start a Roman sojourn, than Pompeii. The best preserved of all the Roman cities and towns. The curse of 79 AD has become a boon for the modern ages. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius has perfectly preserved this Roman town of about 20,000 inhabitants with all the minute details. At times it felt that the inhabitants have gone somewhere and would come back to start their daily life.
Modern day Pompeii is in the Italian province of Campania. From Naples it is reachable by Circumvesuviana Train in 37 minutes.
Day 1: 18th May, Monday
From Hannover we went to Naples with the purpose of visiting Pompeii. Naples was not in our tour itinerary and our target was to reach Rome by night, after visiting Pompeii, from Naples. We took the Alibus from just outside the arrival terminal to Napoli Centrale railway station. The ride was € 3 per person and it takes 15 minutes.
The Circumvesuviana trains leave from platform 3 of Piazza Garibaldi station. It can be reached from Napoli Centrale and is one level down from it. A return ticket to pompeii costs € 4.6. We got down at “POMPEII – SCAVI VILLA MISTERI” station and it took 40 minutes.
From Pompeii train station the excavated site is just a 5 minutes walk to the right. The entry ticket is € 11 and is valid for the entire day. A guide book and a map of the site can be taken from the information centre inside. There is a separate counter for audio guide. After taking the entry ticket we kept our luggage at the left luggage counter for free.
We had our 6 month old son with us in the baby stroller. It was very hard taking the stroller through the roads inside the site. The road was built by the Romans nearly 2000 years back with large stone blocks. There are big gaps between the stones, making it very difficult to navigate the stroller through it. It was made even harder by the mid day Sun.
Inside the ancient town walking through the streets it was evident that Romans were very good in town planning. During the rainy seasons water used to pass through the streets making it difficult for people to cross. At places there are over sized stones lined above the street level meant to be stepped on for passing to the other side, during flooding of the streets. There were public fountains at street junctions which have now been turned into taps for people to quench their thrust.
The streets are lined by houses and shops. The shops are clearly identified by the ovens inside. There are houses with beautiful frescoes on the wall and mosaics on the floor. There is one mosaic of a dog tied to the main door of a house, an ancient “Beware of Dog” notice.
In a glass enclosure there are casts of people buried under the volcanic ash. In a separate enclosure there is a cast of a pregnant lady trying to save her unborn child.
Amongst all there is the shadow of mighty Vesuvius looming large. There are temples of Venus, Apollo, Jupiter and Isis.
The other structures like amphitheatre, administrative buildings, public baths, and stables can also be found along with a garden. And amongst all, the sign of the oldest profession on earth, a brothel.
After about 4 hours we thought we had enough of hard time pushing the stroller in the Sun and called it quits. It was time to take the train back to Naples and from there to Rome. The train left Naples 1 hour late and we reached Rome at 7.30 PM.