Day 1: Hotel Forum and Adventure 1 to Pompeii
The ruins of any civilization are impressive, but there aren’t many places where life was flash frozen like it was in Pompeii. For those of you that are historically challenged, or just need your memory jogged, Pompeii was buried in a Plinian Eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD, and laid undisturbed until excavations were begun in the 1860s. As of today, at least 2/3 of the city has been excavated, and it truly was the jewel of our trip to Italy.
Before we got to the ruins however, our illustrious taxi driver (of whom I shall tell more stories soon!) weaved here and there through the cobble stone streets and safely deposited
us at the Hotel Forum, 500 ft from one of the entrances to the Archeological Zone!
The Hotel Staff was wonderful – our room was ready when we arrived, there were refreshments offered to us in the hotel garden, and the staff was fluent in many different languages, including english. The garden outside the hotel was magnificent, and it was startling to see against the contrast of such an urbanized area. I was most impressed with the various fruit trees that had been grafted together to produce both lemons and oranges from the same trunk, an impressive horticultural achievement! Not only was the garden beautiful, it was shielded from the noise of the traffic and provided the Aspiring Gypsy and I a wonderful place to relax at the end of the day for the duration of our stay. In a future post, we will recount some of the food that we had at the hotel during our stay, but suffice it to say that even one blog post may not be able to do this hotel justice.
*Travel Tip* – If Pompeii is on your to-do list, the Hotel Forum is a great place to call home for a few day, and is very reasonably priced!
Walking into Pompeii is truly like walking through a portal in time. Although the buildings were not perfectly preserved in each and every case, some much of the city is just as it was on its last day that it is worth taking a moment or two to remember the loss of life that occurred there. Our modern life includes an understanding of volcanic activity that the ancients did not have, and there were plenty of reminders of that sobering fact throughout our journey into the past. No matter where your journey through the city, Mt. Vesuvius looms above you, a seemingly serene backdrop for the city in its rest. Despite the somber end the city faced, the atmosphere inside Pompeii’s walls is one of tourism mixed with an air of the scholarly, and even in an entire day, there just isn’t enough time to see all the ruins have to offer.
*Travel Tip* – Pay for one of the maps from the ticket office, as they are well made and easy to understand. They proved an invaluable resource to our wandering and helped us plan our route through the city.
The day was warm and the skies were clear when we began exploring our way from our entrance at the Piazza Anfiteatro towards the Foro, the city center. Pompeii’s Forum (foro) is pictured above, and provided a beautiful view of Mt. Vesuvius. We wandered in and out of the many different sites around the forum for well over an hour, but the Granai del Foro, which was an outdoor produce market, now showcases many of the plaster casts that have been recovered form the site, as well many different examples of the pottery recovered from the ruined buildings around Pompeii. No matter where we looked, thousands of artifacts commanded our attention. Pompeii truly provided archeologists with a treasure trove of materials
After examining so many of the artifacts, we turned our attention towards the many different structures between the forum and the Villa of Mysteries at the North West corner of the archeological site. The Casa del Forno, located at site 24 on the map, treated us to the remains of a huge bakery that had once sold its bread hot from the oven directly to those walking the streets. Walking along Via Consolare treated us to still more views of Vesuvius, but it also took us towards the Bay of Naples, and we were informed by eavesdropping on a passing tour guide that this road would have been frequented by oarsmen and tradesmen passing between Herculaneum and Pompeii with all manner of goods. As we reached the edge of the city, we walked through the Via delle Tombe, or the Street of Tombs, were prominent citizens were interred to watch over the entrance to city. Many of the tombs also featured seating areas where tired travelers and those listening to public speakers could have rested, and where family members would have met to remember those that had passed. We took a few moments to enjoy the surprisingly comfortable stone seats and rest our feet before continuing on to the Villa dei Misteri, our main target for the first day in Pompeii. The Villa has some of the most fascinating frescos that have been preserved from the ancient Roman world, and while their interpretation is still debated, noone debates their beauty. If you are interested in their interpretations, check out this link here for the wiki post, or this one here for a more in-depth, scholarly look at the frescos.
You can see more of the images from the Villa of the Mysteries in our upcoming Pompeii Photo Gallery that we are posting soon to show off many of the pictures we took that haven’t found their way into a blog post.
Our trip back to the hotel took us through a few other parts of Pompeii, including a look at the Castellum aque, the beautiful Casa del Principe di Napoli, the Terme Stabiane, and the Quadriportico dei Teatro, just to name a few. Check back soon for part 2 of our first day in Pompeii, and an exciting story about some of the best gelato we’ve ever eaten!
We hope you are enjoying our blog as much as we are enjoying writing it. Please comment and let us know what you think, we always love hearing from other travelers!
-Wander freely, and may we meet on the road as friends.
Hotel Forum PC: https://media-cdn.holidaycheck.com/w_1280,h_720,c_fill,q_80/ugc/images/472ed3b2-1490-39af-9145-1972065e7414