Sunday, January 16, 2011

Italy 2011

This past week I realized a childhood dream and visited Pompeii and Herculaneum (we also visited Rome, but I was especially excited about these two sites in particular). Pompeii was really impressive – an entire ancient city, still very much intact. Many of the frescoes and mosaics are still vibrant – the Pompeians really knew how to decorate their homes. The frescoes were one of the highlights of the city. A large bakery located in the city still has the oven and grinding stones in place and in really good shape. I wonder what kind of delicious baked goods were made there… The plaster castings of victims of the eruption were one of the more memorable and sad images. We also visited the brothel – quite interesting. J

Herculaneum is much smaller in comparison to Pompeii, however, much of it still lies underneath the modern city so excavation is currently not possible. Herculaneum seems to be in worse shape than Pompeii as many of the building floors are sagging and some of the structures are falling apart. It was still really interesting to visit this site.

We took a train up to Rome to see some of the major sites there. We only had a day in Rome, so we had to cram a lot in! The first place we visited was the coliseum. As we exited the Metro, we got our first glimpse of the structure and it was an impressive sight and a great way to start our day in Rome. We walked over to the Pantheon and got lost on a couple of charming side streets along the way which was kind of fun. Next was the Trevi Fountain where we ate some pizza and relaxed for a bit. We then walked over to the Piazza Del Popolo, which was fun for me, because it’s mentioned in my favorite book, the Count of Monte Cristo. The last stop was the Vatican. We had to practically run through the museum (a sin!) to make it to the Sistine chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. These sites were the highlight of my day in Rome. After this we ran back to the Metro so that we could make it to our train back to Naples in time. Whew!

We stayed in Sorrento, a picturesque town on the Almafi Coast. My great grandfather was from Naples, so it was also really cool to see a place where some of my ancestors originated and it added another dimension to the trip. I Wish I could have had time to visit some cemeteries to look for family names. My mom wishes I would have had time to do this too. I guess we’ll just have to go back. J

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