Mediterranean Sea – Naples, Pompei and Sorrento
Naples was the next port on our Mediterranean Cruise. We boarded a tourbus after leaving the ship at dock in Naples. We did not stop for a look-around in Naples; we drove straight to Pompei – 17 miles. Mt. Vesuvius can be seen very well even though it was cloudy on this day.
Our local Pompei guide met us outside the gates and she gave us each an audio-set so we could hear her as we went along.
I had been to Pompei once before and it is still amazing to see actual houses and storefronts from 2000 years ago. Because the ash and pumice covered everything so thoroughly for so long, much of the city remains very well preserved. I learned a fact that I had not remembered from my previous visit: that the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius killed about 3,000 citizens, the rest of the 20,000 inhabitants of Pompei had already fled the city.
Here is one of the first scenes we had of Pompei: the columns in front of the coliseum steps.
Below is the site of the gladiators quarters and training area in front of the colisseum.
We viewed the storage area for excavated items. Racks of amphorae or ceramic urns were stacked up everywhere. Urns were used for the storage and transport of various products, but mostly wine. Below is a statue of a typical Pompei person with amphorae stacked up behind.
Our guide took us along the streets of stone showing evidence of chariot wear. Raised stones were placed across the road to be used by pedestrians to cross the street but permit wheeled traffic.
One change from our previous visit is that there are metal gates with the PompeiVIVA signs to keep people from entering prohibited areas. I call it the Pompei logo.
Tables such as the ones in the picture below were everywhere. Our guide explained that these were fast food shops. The customer could buy prepared food or drink here as they went about their daily business. The round holes in the surface of the table would hold amphorae or jugs for wine.
Next, we visited an area called the Forum. The Forum was the economic, religious, and political center of Pompeii. The main temples, municipal buildings, and law courts were all there.
The Basilica, a part of the Forum, was the most important public building in Pompeii and the center of economic life. The white columns (image below) were part of the Basilica. The doric columns showed the influence of the Greek culture.
Below is an archway in honor of Nero Caesar located in the Forum.
Baths were an important feature of life in Pompei, at least for the wealthy people. Water was important so an aqueduct was built to meet the needs of the city. Large lead pipes ran under the pavements carrying running water to the homes of the richest residents, to the public baths, and to the public fountains where the poorer inhabitants obtained their water.
In the Forum baths there is a “tepidarium” for warm water and a “Frigidarium,” a circular tub for cold baths.
Here is another view of the changing room area of the baths.
Close-up of the sculptures in this room:
Below is the landscape view as we walked out of the city and down the hill to where the port would have been.
Next we were treated to a drive along the beautiful Amalfi Coast. From the curvy road high above the ocean we were able to see towns and homes that dot the cliffs and hillside on our way to Sorrento – about 21 miles. The houses and roofs are colorful and the scenery is gorgeous! We were given time to photograph along the way.
In Sorrento, we had the most wonderful lunch consisting of various types of pizza in true Napoli style.
Below is a typical window balcony in Sorrento.
A few minutes to stroll through the streets of Sorrento were enough to allow us all to sample a local speciality: Limoncello, a lemony liquer. The stores and vendors displayed all their merchandise with the goal of catching your eye. One interesting fact: the lemons and limes in Sorrento were the size of grapefruits.
Notice the young man to the left enjoying his gelato!
Come back for the next city: Kotor, Montenegro