Pompeii’s Past and Present
Here is a great account of Pompeii from Natalie Likness and her deaf friend's travels in Italy…
It has long been a wish of mine to see the ruins at Pompeii but until recently the opportunity hadn't arisen to go until my friend and I realised it was a place we both wanted to visit. Being partially deaf, he was nervous of driving abroad in spite of having held a UK driving licence for many years. We both knew that the Italian way of driving is notorious but felt that together it was something we could do. Before we knew it, we were checking flights and finding cheap car rental to help us on our Italian adventure.
We flew direct into Naples and after an overnight stay, collected our car from the airport and went on our way to Pompeii. Taking the A3 from Naples, Pompeii was well signposted and after a 20 minute drive, we followed the final sign for Pompeii Scavi which took us into the car park. Being so close to Naples, it would have been possible to take public transport out to this ancient site but we wanted to continue north afterwards to Rome to complete our journey exploring the ancient world in Italy.
Pompeii lies in part of the larger Vesuvius National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which attracts over 2.5million visitors every year. When it was discovered, it took on greatarchaeological importance as it was perfectly preserved by the ash from Vesuvius rather than being blown away. Many elements of the town are still perfectly preserved and its centre is well set up for tourists of all abilities. With many visual aids and so many great sites to see, we found this to be a wonderful place to visit for us both.
Our trip here was a real emotional roller coaster. You cannot fail to be moved by the everyday life which is preserved here for all to see. It brings home just how suddenly the explosion came from the volcano that looms ominously large over the town. We made our way along the roads through the town and found many haunting sites. In Granai del Foro, there are hundreds of amphorae and body casts which are hauntingly detailed whilst in Villa dei Misteri we explored one of the most complete structures left standing. Here we saw the Dionysiac Frieze, the most important fresco as it is one of the largest left from the ancient world. That it survived amongst this destruction is quite miraculous.
For all the heartbreak of Pompeii, there was light relief when we explored the bawdy side of the town. We visited Lupanare, a two-storey brothel with walls lined with raunchy frescos which did make us giggle. Though that was nothing compared to Casa dei Vettii. The Casa is home to the quite remarkable depiction of Priapus, the fertility God, with his gigantic phallus balanced on a pair of scales. There's a man with an inferiority complex! I don't think I've ever laughed quite so hard in public before and doubt I will again. It was definitely the highlight of my trip.
Natalie Likness' love of travel was introduced to her from an early age due to a trip abroad before she was even born! Having close family and making friends across the world, she has continued to travel ever since.