Pompeii was one of those places that I knew I wanted to visit as soon as I learned I had gotten the internship in Rome. Everything I’d heard from friends who’d been to Italy before was that it was somewhere I needed to go — and that furthermore, if I didn’t go now, I might never have a chance, as it’s not the most well-preserved site.
After spending the previous day in Naples and liking but not loving it, I decided to take the one-hour train on to Pompeii.
So was it everything I dreamed?
Actually, not really. Admission was steep, and that didn’t even cover the cost of a tour — and so I didn’t get a tour. As it turns out, that’s not a wise idea. It’s a huge space that’s easy to get lost in, and if you can’t read the signs in Italian, there’s not much to indicate what you’re actually looking at. Thankfully, I was there alongside a set of friends who spoke Italian and a set of friends who’d studied Classics and Latin in university, and so together, they were able to piece together what we saw. Without them, though, I would have been completely clueless.
Despite being a history major, if I’m honest, ancient Roman history is just not my wheelhouse. I like modern history — anything post-French Revolution is exciting to me (though 19th century imperialism can be a little dry.) In terms of history, cities like Budapest or Prague or Berlin are the most fascinating to me. I appreciate visiting places like Pompeii and Rome because I appreciate their history — but while I appreciate their history, it doesn’t inspire me like other histories do.
The best part of Pompeii was probably its most morbid element — the casts of dead bodies in their final positions before their owners succumbed to the smoke and ash. I’m not going to post any pictures here because it may be disturbing to some, but I would highly recommend a Google search of the plaster bodies of Pompeii. Through the plaster casts, you get a sense of what these people’s last moments were like before they died. It’s creepy and humbling.
That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Bloglovin, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!