In the ruins of Pompeii for a day 

November 16, 2015

Hey Friends! Ryan Bauer-Walsh here for Prospect Theater Company!

We had the day off for an adventure! A group of us rented cars and drove the beautiful drive to Pompeii to see the ruins of the city beneath Vesuvius. Now, most of us know a good bit about Pompeii and the tragedy that occurred there. What I don’t think any of us understood, was how incredibly MASSIVE Pompeii was and is– or how nearly perfectly preserved this 2000 year old site is today. It is so massive that they haven’t uncovered it all and Archaeologists have been uncovering the town since the 1500’s — more properly since the 1850s.

Pompeii was an ancient Roman city near modern Naples in the Italian region of Campania, a good drive from where we are in Gesualdo. Pompeii, along with Herculaneum and many villas in the surrounding area, was mostly destroyed and buried under 13 to 20 feet of ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD– preserving the city in amazing condition.  By the time of its destruction, its population was estimated at 11,000 people, and the city had a complex water system, an amphitheatre, gymnasium, and a port.

The eruption of the volcano destroyed the city, killing its inhabitants and burying it under tons of ash.

An account of the destruction originally came from a surviving letter by Pliny the Younger, who saw the eruption from a distance and described the death of his uncle Pliny the Elder, an admiral of the Roman fleet, who tried to rescue citizens.

Pompeii has been a tourist destination for around 250 years. Today it has UNESCO World Heritage Site status and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy, with approximately 2.5 million visitors every year. Today we got to be some of those tourists! Check out a few of our photos!

Below is the main piazza where the temple of Jupiter was. The center of politics, religion and social society in the city. 

This was one of the avenues leading to the large Arena and athletic training centers. The trees are epic…
  

The theater! It could hold 5,000! And it was under a facade reconstruction and the time of the eruption.

Here…. below… we see some folks engaged in some hanky panky. The Lumpinares were the brothels of Pompeii- and the art- and graffiti are nearly perfectly in tact.


  

There had to be over 100 archaeologists working on site while we were there. There may have been more of them in certain areas than there were of us tourists!
  

Inside this are the actual remains of some of the victims of the day Pompeii was buried beneath the ash of Vesuvius. Do not continue scrolling if it makes you uncomfortable to see human remains.
  

Archaeologists discovered these empty air pockets with bones in them and discovered that if they filled them with plaster they could make an exact mold of the person who used to occupy that space. The terror of that day is so very present in their body language. It was very upsetting to look at.

Below is the courtyard of a family home. The artwork is incredible. The entire town is just beautifully painted. To have lived here must have been truly wonderful. Mountain surround the entire city and create a gorgeous view in any direction.


  

After 4 hours (which truly isn’t enough time) we had to head back. But not before we got some snacks for the car!

Group photo on our way out!12227043_10153121912926286_5850029287249274165_n

Cara in a 2000 year old Theatre.12243274_10153130807881286_765653467618096591_n

Pete and Cara outside the ancient arena that houses the pyramid of casts. 12279027_10153130807081286_1265317903275844741_nTomorrow we head to Avellino to do our last performance on this trip in Italy. It will be a long day, so I’m signing off for now!

See you tomorrow!

-Ryan

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