Italy
Pompei Scavi

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39 travelers at this place:

  • Day272

    Pompeii

    March 25, 2017 in Italy

    Camping Zeus was only a few hundred meters away from the entrance to Pompei ruins. The entrance ticket only entitled us to one entry, so with a picnic in our bag and camera in hand we headed in. The site was huge, but we took it one bit at a time, looking first at the covered baths whose walls depicted erotic art deemed unsuitable for children by the Vatican. We like to think of ourselves as quite liberal minded but in this case there may have been some justification, as even Will wouldd have classed it as pornography rather than erotic art!

    There was a mixture of emotions looking round, in one sense it was amazing to see the remains of such a large Roman settlement (20,000 people) so well preserved. In another sense, the reason for this state of preservation is so tragic. Despite the majority of residents having been evacuated, it is thought that some 2000 people perished here when Mount Vesuvius erupted and covered the town back in 79AD.

    Continuing further into the ruined city we saw room after ordinary room, helping to build up the impression of a functioning civilisation, an element that wasn't present at other Roman sites where the sole focus was on a large Amphitheatre or grand temple. Alongside the houses there was a basilica, a market place and several temples, their tall columns in various states of preservation. Large smooth dark cobblestones, sometimes interspersed with flecks of white marble, lined roads between the buildings. Will was particularly interested in the 'house of geometric mosaics' where the floor of each room displayed a different design. While the high walls often obscured any view beyond the city, the assembly areas frequently had a view of the still active Vesuvius volcano that wreaked such devastation.

    At around midday we were on the lookout for somewhere to eat our picnic when Will partially lost vision in both eyes. He had experienced this nearly a year ago and it had been diagnosed as a TIA (mini stroke). It lasted for around 30 minutes and had returned to normal when the site doctor and nurse arrived to check his blood pressure and pulse. They advised we go to hospital and called an ambulance that arrived at the entrance. The paramedics checked his vitals but by this time the site doctor had left us. The crew asked whether he had been wearing a hat and had drunk water, both of which we confirmed, but because there were no lasting symptoms, they advised we return to the van and have something to eat in the shade. It was a good thing Will had his European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with him! We have been attempting to live healthier lives since last year's TIA but will redouble our efforts in light of today's sobering experience.
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  • Day271

    The Amalfi Coast and Camping Zeus

    March 24, 2017 in Italy

    Our aim today was to drive the Amalfi Coast road. We zipped up the motorway to the start of this famously stunning peninsula and set out on the route that would lead us around its perimeter.

    From this point onwards driving became extremely difficult, the road was of a width that we could pass cars most of the time if we slowed right down and breathed in. Sometimes it wasn't wide enough, so required constant forward planning about possible places to stop in order that we might fit. Towns were worse due to bad parking and people wandering into the roadway without looking or simply using it as a convenient place to stand and chat with their group of amici. Another complicating factor were the overhanging balconies or rockfaces that meant we couldn't pull over to the side of the road because the top of the van would collide with them. Not that the oncoming cars took consideration of this.

    Other places have been difficult to drive and forced us to go slow, but there seemed a real impatience and rush about the other drivers here that wasn't just directed towards us, but any vehicle in front of them that was moving at a pace slower than they thought they could go. As soon as they came up behind they would toot their horns and continue doing it until they could pass- not the easiest of things to do when the angle of the bends often necessitated us to use the other side of the road so as not to scrape the van.

    It wasn't just the car drivers that were bad, bus drivers were very stressed and were often worse at blasting their loud horns, demanding that we pull over at some bend and allow them to overtake. Convex mirrors were everywhere in an attempt to give people advance notice of what was around the bend, but many had been involved in collisions and were either smashed or skewed at such an angle they weren't much use to anyone. One town we came across had a dodgems ride which we sarcastically suggested might be a training facility for local teenagers in preparation for the real thing!

    Poor Will was at the wheel and didn't really get to admire the incredible scenery. The precipitous bare faced cliffs rose dramatically from the sea and civilisation had often been carved out of the rock. Lemon tree plantations, most of them covered in black nets, grew on sharp terraces that stepped up the slopes. Towns huddled in the bays created by narrow rivers cutting a deep course through hundreds of meters of rock until they reached the Tyrrenian. On the seaward side, a vast expanse of rich blue spread out until it encountered a mist (possibly pollution) that shrouded the base of the distant peaks, viewed only in grey silhouette. There was a unique beauty about the area that we were wowed with, despite the white knuckle driving.

    In the end, we were pulled over by the Carabinieri who informed us that motorhomes weren't allowed on the main road between 6am and midnight. They could tell by our pale, overstressed faces that we didn't know this and said they wouldn't fine us, but would escort us to an exit where we could escape the madness (our words, not theirs).

    Climbing up the cliff, the road became gradually wider and quieter and we were very grateful to the police! We stopped off so Will could buy an espresso, then found a pizzarria that did takeout for lunch. Sitting in the van eating a Neopolitan each, we calmed down enough to drive the 30km to Pompeii, where we planned to spend the night. Yet another stopover was closed down so we returned to a site called Camping Zeus, that we'd seen advertised near the entrance to the Pompeii ruins. Being so close to this historic place we were worried they would charge exorbitant prices and be overcrowded and noisy, but found that €18 was an acceptable price and were pleasantly surprised when we were able to park up on grass in an orange grove with no near neighbours. We got the chairs and Poppy's bed out and relaxed in the dappled shade until the sun went down, listening to the evening chorus as the blackbirds hopped about looking for worms and a mate. The good news is that after enforced rest, Poppy is feeling a lot better and able to get about without falling.
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  • Day4

    Avanti Experience

    November 6 in Italy

    Avanti Destinations offers some amazing excursions but one unique immersion experience we offer is dinner in a private home. This was an evening that will be cherished for a lifetime.

  • Day52

    Pompei

    May 29, 2017 in Italy

    We picked our B&B so we could visit the "scavi" at Pompeii. This is the Italian name for the excavations at Pompeii. We had previously read somewhere that Pompeii may not stay open to the public as the constant traffic is damaging the protection of the artefacts. "In June 2013 UNESCO declared: If restoration and preservation works “fail to deliver substantial progress in the next two years,” Pompeii could be placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger." (from good old wikipedia!) We had no choice really but to ensure that we made a visit.

    The place is huge.. easy to forget that it is a whole city that was destroyed and therefore we underestimated the five hours that we would be walking around! The city foundations themselves are well preserved, showing how the city would have been laid out. For the first time we purchased audio guides (gotta be careful of the budget!) to show us around. The history of Pompeii and the age of the artefacts is quite incredible but I am beginning to realise that any type of archaeology is just not for me. Stuart on the other hand finds it fascinating and therefore for anyone else who probably would be interested, it is worth going while you have the chance.
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  • Day5

    Pompeii, Italy

    October 6, 2017 in Italy

    Mim and I have taken a bus tour from Rome to Pompeii and Naples. It's a three hour drive from Rome to Pompeii with lots of farming land along the way. Pompeii is very hot and dry, the Ancient Roman city covered about 64 hectares and was buried under 4 to 6 metres of ash and pumice after the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. The city was rediscovered under the ash around 1599 and excavation of the site commenced in 1748 and has been ongoing since this time. We saw the Ancient City's amphitheater, the baths and sauna, Temples, bakery, shops and homes. We saw the brothel area of the town which was easily identified by the phallus over the doorway or pointing to the brothel house from the footpath. You could still see the erotic drawings on the walls of the brothel. It is amazing how much of the site was preserved under the ash. After an Italian lunch we headed to Naples for a Bus tour of the city. It was a shame that they were having with the audio but we still saw the Bay of Naples and the surrounding city that are still overshadowed by Mount Vesuvius. A long day arriving back around 8.30pm.Read more

  • Day90

    Pompeii: In the Shadows of Vesuvius

    October 27, 2017 in Italy

    In order to beat the crowds and maximise our time at the Pompeian ruins, we left the apartment just after the crack of dawn (well, maybe not quite that early but early enough). The first challenge in our amazing race was to navigate the Italian train system once again. Italians don't believe in providing signage and this includes letting people know the platform number at some train stations. The first sign letting commuters know the platform number is only available after descending into the depths of the metro system, into the bowels of the earth, on the platform. There were no signs indicating which trains were arriving and we blindly jumped on what we thought was the correct train. Google Maps said so. It was the correct platform, the correct time (although it did seem to leave two minutes early) and there were no other trains scheduled for the same platform. Who would have guessed that the Italian railway system experiences such long delays that the train scheduled for 40 minutes earlier had finally arrived. Fortunately, we realised the error of our ways before it was too late and were able to steer back on course. And luckily the train we needed to catch was also delayed, getting us to the gates of the archaeological site shortly after the opening time.

    For almost eight hours, Ricky made Jason trapes across Pompeii, checking out everything and anything that was open for inspection. Similar to the train system where trains sometimes don't arrive, not everything in Italy is open. Even in Pompeii, some of the houses weren't open for inspection – Ray White or Raine and Horne property managers were obviously not available to provide their services.

    From the moment we entered the grounds of Pompeii, we were on a mission to get past the tour groups and the tick-box tourists, as we headed straight to the Villa of Mysteries, one of the better preserved villas. Our strategy was successful and we were the first to arrive at the villa. Most other tourists hung about in the Forum or went straight to the brothel, by-passing the villas, bars and restaurants. While Pompeii hasn't exactly been frozen in time, there are certainly a lot of remnants of what life was like during the first century C.E. The plaster casts of many of the victims of Vesuvius, some still on display, portray the final eery moments of that fateful afternoon on the 24th of August 79 CE. Thankfully Mount Vesuvius didn't erupt while we were there, but the slightest tremor and we were on the first ship out of there.

    Next stop: back to Napoli.

    For video footage, see:
    https://youtu.be/rwfygnFJlHY
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  • Day17

    Day 13 - Pompei coffee shop

    April 25, 2017 in Italy

    Note on tour company
    World tours

    They were where they said they would be outside the port entrance.  While it seemed to take a long time, we were in the bus and on the road at the time they indicated.

    The tour was provided as a gift and the necessary paperwork was given to us ahead of time. However, the "necessary papers" did not include the information that entrance fees were not included. Someone on the tour had the original email and buried in the tour information section it informed the buyer of that information.  We just happened to have enough Euros to cover but others did not have the needed cash.. Close to 50 euros per couple. The tour company should correct that and make sure it's in the voucher.  Many months can pass between the booking and the actual trip, we should have been reminded. The best way to do that is to have it on the reservation voucher.

    Our guide was Irena. She was happy and friendly, with nothing to dislike.  The archeological guide in Pompei (Susy) was good as well - she knew her information.  A little more dialogue from Irena while driving would have been appreciated - information about the neighborhoods, day to day life in the city, for example. When asked questions, Irena answered happily enough with one or two word answers, not what you are looking for from a tour guide.  For example, we asked what sort of people lived in a certain neighbourhood, to get an idea of the economic demographic.  She replied, "Italians" and left it at that.  At the end of the day she was quite talkative when asking us to give her and her driver a good Tripadvisor review. As for the driver, he was decent enough and we felt safe, but he drove the tour van as if he was driving a car.....A little tough for someone who tends to get motion sickness. Maybe that's the way to drive in Italy, but it wouldn't take much to turn it down just a little for the comfort of the clients.
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  • Day16

    Pompei, Italien

    September 14 in Italy

    Today we visit the famous Pompeii. From our apartment it is only 10 minutes walk. First we see the amphitheater and then we walk through the streets of the ancient city. We are very impressed with the size. You can really see how nice that once must have been and how well organized the people were at that time already. Thousands of tourists as we are walk around here, many in groups with guides. It is very hot. After a few hours we have seen enough. We go for having an ice cream and then back to the apartment.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Pompei Scavi

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