Naples's classical sites


Paestum, South of Naples

Naples's classical sites
Naples was a perfect place to land to see some of Italy's classical gems : Pompeii, Herculaneum and Paestum ! On our first day in Europe, we made it through Naples and its crazy drivers. Crazy drivers ? Surely, if you've made it through India, Teheran and Cairo, you can deal with Naples ? The difference is in Naples they go 3 times as fast ! Troopie was frightened and had trouble keeping up. But there was an even better surprise for us : that week was "Culture Week" in Italy with ALL sites and museums free !


Before there were too little directions, around Naples there were too many ! Notice the 3D Vesuvius !


"The 79 A.D. eruption of Vesuvius was the first volcanic eruption ever to be described in detail. From 18 miles (30 km) west of the volcano, Pliny the Younger, witnessed the eruption and later recorded his observations in two letters. He described the earthquakes before the eruption, the eruption column, air fall, the effects of the eruption on people, pyroclastic flows, and even tsunami. Volcanologists now use the term "plinian" to refer to sustained explosive eruptions which generate high-altitude eruption columns and blanket large areas with ash. It is estimated that at times during the eruption the column of ash was 20 miles (32 km) tall. About 1 cubic mile (4 cubic kilometers) of ash was erupted in about 19 hours." (University of North Dakota, This eruption obliterated the ancient Roman resort towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum as it covered them in 3 meters of ashes. 


Herculaneum : an interior courtyard and indoor mural paintings


Walking through the streets of a Roman city with so many of the buildings up and so fine details remaining is an amazing experience. That day the natural development of cities that occurs with time stopped. Buried under several meters of ash, fragile items such as paintings or furniture have been remarkably preserved. As in many other surviving Roman cities, the streets are marked by ruts left by the passing of carriages.


A Herculaneum mosaic : Neptune et Amphitrite in the House of the "Mosaico di Nettuno e di Anfitrite"


We headed South for the very scenic coast of Amalfi for our next stop. Paestum must rank amongst the most breathtaking remains from classical antiquity. It boasts a collection of stunning Greek temples. In contrast to many city temples, Paestum's gleaming white marble temples are set in a park near the blue Mediterranean Sea.  


Paestum's Temple of Athena, 500 B.C. (left)


Paestum and the Amalfi coast is where the 2003 Pirelli calendar was shot ! Would anyone like to know more about this ?


Check Christian's sunglasses out (left), a local souvenir shop (right)


Our last stop was famous Pompeii. After having circled around the Mediterranean from Turkey to Tunisia and from Lebanon to Libya, these are going to be our last Roman ruins for some time. Lafayette, Indiana anyone ?



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Naples's classical sites

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