During our time in Rome, we decided to take one day to visit Pompeii. I wasn’t quite sure if the two hour trip to Pompeii from Rome would be worth it but because two friends of mine said it was their favorite part of Italy and because Maddie had just studied Pompeii in school, we decided to take the time to visit, and I am so glad we did. On the day we left for Pompeii, we ended up arriving at the train station about half an hour before the train we had reserved and were lucky to be able to change our ticket to an earlier train for free in what turned out to be a first-class cabin! This meant our first train ride in Italy on the fast train from Rome to Naples was luxurious with free snacks, drinks, and nice seats in a quiet cabin.
Once we got to Pompeii, we met up with our tour guide who was incredibly knowledgeable, but unfortunately, wasn’t great with children which meant John and I had to find ways to entice and engage Maddie to follow along on the tour (or just let them play in the streets of Pompeii).
We also had to remind both girls multiple times that Mount Vesuvius wasn’t going to erupt during our visit. Below is a picture of me pointing out Mount Vesuvius to Ada and another one of our family in the forum at Pompeii in front of the Mountain.
After talking about Mount Vesuvius, of the first stops on our tour was the area where the pottery from Pompeei was stored. When archeologists dug up Pompeii, there were areas in the layers of volcanic debris that was completely hollow. They soon realized that they were hollow because that is where Romans or animals who hadn’t been able to escape had been buried. They were able to recreate their final resting poses by filling in the empty spaces with plaster. These were the most touching parts of our tour:
Aside from seeing these plaster casts, my favorite part of Pompeii was learning about how Roman’s lived in AD 79 when Pompeii erupted. I loved seeing the intricate tilework on the floor of a wealthy Roman home and the decorations preserved on the walls of this Roman laundry business:
I also loved this motif which was in front of a Roman temple:
It was also neat to find out how public fountains were created. Below Maddie and Ada were able to put their hands on the portion of the stone fountain worn down by Roman hands almost two thousands years ago.
I also was reminded how deeply patriarchal Romans were. Roman women had no power. They could not vote and were deemed property of their husbands or fathers. In this theatre (and most in Rome), women were required to stand in the upper sections while men were able to sit in the seats. No wonder we still have so many problems today with gender equity when this society had so much influence on the western world!
Overall, it was a great day trip from Rome and one of the more educational days of our year abroad.