We spent a day of our Italian holiday visiting the ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
In 79 AD the volcano Mount Vesuvious erupted. On that day, the surrounding area, including these two cities, were covered with nine feet of burning gas and rock.
When Pompeii was excavated in the 1920s, holes that had once contained organic matter were discovered. The ash had solidified before this matter had disintegrated. And of what did that matter consist? Well, wooden objects such as doors:
And, more hauntingly, the bodies of many people and animals who had died in the ash. The archaeologists found that they could fill these holes with plaster and recreate the forms that had once taken up the space of the hole. The remarkable and poignant casts created from these voids speak of the last moments of these peoples’ lives.
Because of the way Pompeii was buried so completely, and the nature of the solidifed ash which covered it, the city remained incredibly intact. I thought I’d share some pictures of Pompeii and its sister town, Herculaneum, also buried in the volcanic ashes. Click on the arrow below to start the slideshow.
wow – just amazing.
thank you so much for that. It’s a real treasure, isn’t it?
Amazing – beautiful pictures – thanks so much for sharing!
You’re a great tour guide. I love the pictures. Italy is just beautiful and really old.
Very cool! I would love to see Pompeii someday!
They must have been stunning places before the eruption. Looks like you had a fascinating time, and good weather, too.
I think these places where you are suddenly placed in someone else’s life, despite 1000s of years between you, are amazing. Even though your photos are poignant (and the real thing even more so, I imagine), I find the continuity of existence strangely reassuring…
Jasmine, I completely agree with you. There were details I didn’t mention before, like fast food shops, which just brought home how little things change, even over such long time periods. And the body casts are somehow out of time – they could just as easily be contemporary.
We went to sorrento last year(late honeymoon) and visited all around there it is amazing isn’t it. The only stressful moment of the whole trip was when Elenya rang us when we were on the top of Capri. She wanted us to ring granny to find out if she could go to afterschool club. Don’t you just hate mobile phones.
The mosaics and paintings just take my breath away. Thank you!
Wow. I would love to go there some day. I’ve been two Italy several times, but never Pompeii.. I find it fascinating to see what it looked like back then. And most of this isn’t replicas, it’s *the real deal*. It might sound strange, but I find it amazing that this is what it really looked like – you’re so used to seeing in movies and such what it was like, but it always seemed ‘fake’ because it was produced in our time. Pompeii is real, that’s what it *looked* like. So amazing.
Thank you for posting so many pictures!
Brick and stone heaven.
Wow! what a wonderful trip and a great opportunity you had. Your pictures are beautiful. Thanks for stopping by my blog…it’s nice “to meet” you.:)
I love how history can come alive in these beautiful photos.
I’m stunned to see how incredibly civilized and modern these cities were at the time of the eruption.
i have travelled extensivly in italy except the amalfi coast and have never been in pompei… i hope one day i will make it there!
your photos are beautiful!
thanks for taking us along 😉
I loved Pompeii when I went – absolutely fascinating. Great photos too!
oh…what a fascinating holiday…and beautiful photos…
What an interesting place to visit. The cast photograph of the person (weeping?) is touching to see. What a wonderful holiday.
The cities that time forgot… Thank you for the photos, they are breathtaking. Especially the one with the slumbering giant of a volcano in the background. And the casts of the people. Wow.
You look like you had some amazing weather there too!