Rome may not have fallen in a day, but Pompeii did – literally! It took just one day – 24 August, 79 AD, for it to get buried for the next seventeen centuries, under the volcanic ash of the fierce Mount Vesuvius. The disappearance of this city reflects irony of sorts as the time when the disaster took place; there was not even a Latin word for ‘volcano’! Plus, so much debris was thrown out that it apparently blocked the sun rays. An estimated 2000 people out of the 15,000 population died, and the rest shifted to the neighbouring cities. If you believe Pompeii was just another Roman city with its myriad tales of warfare, gladiatorial fights, historical monuments and grandeur? Think again. During the first century AD, the city developed into a sprawling tourist destination with luxurious resort for its wealthy visitors, Roman villas, an amphitheatre, several temples, brothels and highly mechanized waterway systems. Facebook may have given us the concept of wall posts as a form of social-networking, but Pompeii residents knew it aeons before Internet even came into existence. Think of it as the earliest version of the same Facebook wall post, except that the residents of the city revealed their social networking skills by writing on actual walls! They scribbled literary quotes, wrote greeting to friends, drew graffiti about political campaigns and advertised their products on the walls of their own houses and on other’s walls for which the message was intended. When the excavation work began in 1748, many of the buildings of Pompeii uncovered by archaeologists were in remarkably good condition and many of the walls were still covered with frescoes. Hundreds of well-preserved artifacts were also found. The volcanic ash completely covered the city, thus preserving the buildings and infrastructure of this lost metropolis. It was also witnessed that the eruption of Vesuvius was quite sudden, and many of Pompeii’s inhabitants lost their lives while going about their daily work. Off to the past and on to the present, Pompeii is now a major tourist attraction. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it attracts more than 2 million visitors every year. If the above facts intrigue you to explore Pompeii, then get, set to travel back in time and experience the city like never before!
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259 Kms from Pompeii
(f) Rome, our last destination was in our head infamous because of the scammers and pick pocketers warnings that one reads about. However, Rome, pleasantly surprised us by proving all this wrong. We were told 'bus no. 62 to Vatican is an abode of pick pocketers. Keep your bags in front of you'. It was exactly in the same bus that we met an immigrant from Senegal who got us an early entry into Vatican through his tourist guide brother and didn't ask for a dime. All he said was 'Be safe, Sister'.
262 Kms from Pompeii
Rome 3 days Youth Hostel: Des Artistes This hostel is clean and close to the train station. Their roof terrace and buffet breakfast is a favourite among the travellers. Hotel: Tuscolana This is a value for money hotel five minutes from the metro line and half a block from the city bus line. There are some graffittis that spoil the neighbourhood's ambiance, but don't let that get to you. It is situated in a safe middle class neighbourhood.
133 Kms from Pompeii
Sperlonga is a beach town that is about halfway between Rome and Naples. It is easily accessible via the slow train line towards Napoli and get off at Fondi-Sperlonga and then you just take a quick bus ride to the main city. It’s only an hour and a half from Rome or Naples so many Romans and Napolitanos spend July and August here. It is close enough to either city so that if god forbid they have to work during their holidays it’s an easy commute. Sperlonga has a long beach promenade lined with restaurants and shops and then the soft sand beach runs parallel to it. The beach is mainly covered in a blend of colorful beach umbrellas and most Italians will spend all day on the beach, not leaving until around eight thirty or nine when the sun goes down. The town is also great to explore and is located on a hill that you can climb that gives sweeping views of the Tyrrhenian Sea.