Tag Archives: italy

pompeii: what we did on our holidays (2)

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.

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amalfi: what we did on our holidays (i)

We stayed in a small, family-run hotel that clung to the cliff face hanging directly over the sea. We slept to the sound of the sea gently slapping against the rocks beneath our windows.

The hotel was, in parts, literally hewn out of the rock face. It was quite a surprise to walk  down the stairs and come across this:

It was as though carving the last bit of rock away was just too much trouble!

We spent a lot of the week pottering up and down the coast to various small, beautiful fishing villages, where we drank a lot of coffee and ate a lot of seafood and pasta.

One day we hired a speedboat. The skipper took us along the coast from Amalfi to Naples, exploring the dramatic coastline with its little coves and grottos. We disembarked on Capri, where we walked the coast path and had lunch before leaving the island in style and being taken back along the coast. Rather than loading this post up with photos, I put together a slideshow of this day. Click on the arrow below to start the slideshow.

Next time, I’ll share photos of our day in the extraordinary ancient cities of Pompei and Herculaneum.

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