Shae and I knew we had to make a stop in the ancient city of Pompeii while visiting Italy. In 79 AD Mount Vesuvius erupted, covering the city in ash and preserving the ruins. What is left brings you back to a time in history barely imaginable. There’s a sadness that clouds over Pompeii when seeing the city’s fate first hand, yet somehow it is so fascinating and beautiful at the same time. The old amphitheaters, cobblestone roads, homes, the city center; You get a glimpse inside the lives of some of our ancestors and how they lived their day-to-day lives. Incredible.
We took the self-guided path, exploring and walking around the unknown, making up our own stories and piecing Pompeii together like a puzzle. You can take a guided tour, but I feel like wandering and getting lost on your own makes you feel a part of it all rather than just a spectator. There’s something so different and special about exploring a historical site that way. You can always look up the facts later.
I won’t bore you with the history of Pompeii like your world history professor, but I will share some of the images that brought what I once read in a textbook to life.
Walking on the cobblestone with indentions from carriages from over 1000 years ago, observing the mosaic murals and art, remains of the streets they once walked to get to the markets, amphitheaters where they used to enjoy entertainment, and worst of all, seeing the chilling plastered human beings in their last moments of life made the story of Pompeii all too real. It’s hard not to imagine yourself as a part of their world before this disaster struck.
The art throughout the city was so captivating. Art is what made up Pompeii. The architecture, the designs, the mosaics, the statues all brought a little bit of light into this story. Seeing the mosaics and artwork on the walls brought an element to the ruins that changed the whole experience. Knowing that art like this existed well before art classes and modern art supplies absolutely blows me away. The imagination and talent you must have to construct such astounding pieces is unfathomable at such an early time on this earth. Think about it: In and before 79 AD people were arranging stones and glass to create pictures and patterns, painting walls and street art, using clay to make pots and sculptures, and building stone tubs. No DIY YouTube video. Just creating something from imagination. Wow.
I am so glad we took the short trip from Benevento, Italy to train into Pompeii. I had no idea the impact it would have as the story unfolded before our eyes. If you have the chance to visit Pompeii, do it, and give yourself a whole day (or 3) to walk slowly around each region and soak up all the feelings the history around you may bring.
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