Monday, June 05, 2017

A Tour of Italy Installment 8 Pompeii and Arriving in Rome

After leaving Sorrento we drove to Pompeii

These trees are called Mediterranean Pines.

Amazing frescos still exist.

Some original mosaics too.

The ruins are huge and its mind boggling to think how old they are - they were buried in 79 AD. We were told they are not doing any new excavations right now due to the cost, they are concentrating on preserving what they have already uncovered. Why are the ruins still there having nothing built on top of them? It seems because throughout history since the Volcano eruption people knew where Pompei was supposed to be there was just no interest in uncovering it until around 1750. 

The ash was 28 feet deep in many places. While bodies rotted away under the ash, the ash created a hard shell around the body. They knew a body was there because the bones were there, they injected cement into the cavities and got a cast of the body. Some of these I’m told are touring around the country.

The hike through these ruins is not easy, and it did some of our people in. Many people developed rashes on their ankles. I read about it and its called Golfers Vascaulitis, from too much exercise and heat combined. I got it for the first time ever and I’m used to walking till I drop. 

The we arrived in Rome…. I never expected to like Rome but as it turns out I LOVED it. Everything is so big, and because of that even with a ton of tourists the city can accommodate them all and there are lots of out of the way streets and alleys where all you might see are a few people.

Our hotel was just 8 or so blocks from the Vatican.

There are lots of fabulous museums and of course Vatican City. By being on a tour we got to enter at 8 am and there weren’t more than a hundred people in the Sistine Chapel when we were there and not more that three hundred in St Peters Basililica - a building that can hold tens of thousands. 

The reason you can take photos in the Basicilla and not the Sistene Chapel is that in the Basicilla the artwork is done in mosaic and in the Sistine Chapel the artwork is painted. The Chapel was cleaned about 25 years ago to show the beautiful colors, up until then the paintings were almost black from the soot from candles and torches through the years.

The Swiss Guard.

Trump was visiting the next day so we were lucky to get in and out easily. That afternoon I walked the 6 blocks to cross the river into the downtown. 

And walked for about 5 hours looking at all the beautiful fountains, shops and ruins. What a beautiful city.


On the Piazza del Popolo I had lunch and people watched.

Just two short blocks from our hotel was the Castel St Angelo, built in 124AD. While it doesn't look like much from the outside the museum it holds is fabulous, there is a restaurant on the top, and a brick walkway between it and the Vatican in case a Pope was deemed in danger, he would have a quick way to get to its safety.


Next post, more wandering in Rome!

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