Pompeii in central Campania, was founded in the 6th to 7th century BC by a group known as the Oscans. The Etruscans lived there and it was a main Roman city until that fateful day in 79 AD when Mount Vesuvius blew its top. The mountain provided a fertile soil that allowed people to this day grow wonderful crops.
The early mountain was much larger than what we see today. The entire center vaporized and was blown out leaving what looks like two smaller mountains. Vesuvius is impressive from wherever you see it. It dominates the Naples landscape. You can clearly see it from parts of Sorrento and Capri.
We pass right by it on the A3 Autostrada as we pass by on the way south to our condo. We always feel humbled by its presence. Nature is awesome. Today you can climb Mount Vesuvius and walk up to the rim.
Beaches as far away as Positano have lava rock on them. The soil in the entire central Campania is fertile because of this mountain. It was a fantastic destructive power but it also gave back tasty crops and a soil that made farming easy.
As we walk Pompeii we feel the ancient civilizations pulling on us. Imagine you are on streets that they walked in their daily lives. You can enter businesses where they ate or bought bread. You can enter hotels and bars and even homes that showed the beauty of life before 79 AD.
These people had a great civilization. They were sophisticated and life was fun. It was a rich city in culture and money. They didn’t even have a word for volcano. It must have been horrible on that day when the huge mountain nearby suddenly exploded. People were caught and killed in their daily routines. The nearby harbor was filled in. Suddenly so many were dead and the landscape changed forever. This is very revered grounds.
If you find yourself in Rome, Naples or the Amalfi Coast take a side trip to Pompeii. You will be glad you saw this wonderful city fully preserved by the ash that covered it. When modern man found it there was only a field of hardened ash. As they dug they began to find the remains of Pompeii. Soon whole buildings were uncovered. Except for missing roofs, which were probably wooden, everything was preserved as it was on that day in 79 AD. A large part of the city was soon uncovered. Today they are still uncovering Pompeii. This is history and this is Italy!
George & Jo Anne