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Another interesting spot you can visit near the Eternal City is Pompeii. It is an ancient Roman city located just nearby the modern Naples in Campania region. Pompeii was among the many villas in the region that was demolished and covered by four to six meters thick ash and pulverized pumice during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Mount Vesuvius is a stratovolcano included in the list of volcanoes situated along the Campanian volcanic arc.
You might think that the city of Pompeii was destroyed by the Volcano outburst. Like shown in some popular Hollywood movies, but nothing could be further from the truth. The lava never reached Pompeii, it’s citizen were killed by the poisonous gas from the Volcano and the ashes of the Volcano made sure the town was preserved in good shape.
The city of Pompeii was later concealed by sand and mud. The town-city was one of the ancient cities that have been excavated. Now, it is considered as among the best preserved and the largest historical monuments in the world from this era. The Pompeii City is very comparable to the famous Roman Forum in Rome but is much larger in size and is presently in better condition.
Now you can enjoy a day trip that will take you from Rome to the historic land of Pompeii. This excursion consists of two versions- the winter version and the summer version. The major difference between these two versions is that in summer visitors are able to take a walk over the Vesuvius volcano. While walking over Mount Vesuvius is not possible during winter season, the tour will instead include a visit to the Archaeological Museum in Naples.
The day trip will start in Rome. The assembly place is in Piazza di Popolo and the English speaking guides will wait for you here as well. Going from the square to the ancient Pompeii usually takes around three hours of land travel. While in the bus, the tour guides share interesting facts and information, not only about Pompeii but also about the buildings and landmarks you meet along the way. After around an hour and a half the bus will stop at the stopover station for 15 minutes. The bus will likewise have to stop for 15 minutes at the same station when traveling back to Rome from Pompeii. At the stopover station you can have enough time to stretch your legs, go to the restroom and even enjoy a cup or two of Italian Cappuccino or your favorite beverage.
If the weather is fine during summer, the excursion will include a walk over Mount Vesuvius. During winter season, the guests may not be able to visit the volcano because the visibility is very poor due to the thick fogs that cover the volcano. The top area of the volcano may also be covered by snow during this period. When the weather is bad in summer and when it is winter, the tour will instead include a visit to the city’s Archaeological Museum.
Mount Vesuvius is an active volcano with a large cone. Sometimes, light earthquakes due to volcanic activities are felt around the area. The last major volcanic eruption recorded was in March 18, 1944. Trekking over the volcano usually takes half an hour. Along the way you will get a chance to see and walk through a pathway surrounded by the volcanic ash and soft pulverized pumice. Hiking can be a bit exhausting but it is very enjoyable and exciting as well. You will reap the reward of your effort once you get to the top of the volcano. You will surely enjoy the picturesque view from the top.
The archaeological museum in Naples houses its own collection of tableware, mosaics and sculptures. These ancient items were discovered during the excavation of Pompeii. There were large bronzes found that are considered unique. The other sculptures, together with the other antique weapons, were later melted down.
Another unique area inside the museum is the secret chamber. All you can see inside this particular chamber is the displayed and preserved erotic tinted picture from Pompeii. The chamber was closed for almost 14 years until it was opened for public visits. There are tourist guides available in the museum but everyone may still enjoy roaming around freely.
The excursion includes lunch. Guests can eat pizza at the restaurant located just nearby Pompeii. Visiting Pompeii is scheduled and done after lunch. During the Pompeii tour, each of the guests is given headphones to use. It is necessary for everyone to have headphones so that everyone can understand well what the tour guide is telling. Touring around Pompeii is handy if you come in a group and if you are escorted by a tourist guide because you can easily get lost when you roam around alone especially if it is your first visit. The houses and the streets look very similar from each other. Occasionally, you may seem to have passed the same street already but the fact is that it is actually another street.
Pompeii is one of the ancient Roman cities that were excavated and well preserved. Not all parts of Pompeii have been excavated, though. But the present setting of Pompeii provides a good picture of what a seventh century BC city looks like. Aside from the well-preserved antique houses and streets, you can also see some bodies of the deceased which have been copied by a special technique.
Joining the day trip is not merely enjoyable but very educational as well, specially for those who have never been to Pompeii before. Through this tour you can build yourself a good idea of what really Pompeii was and how people dwelling in the city lived during ancient times. And for those people who had seen the movie about Pompeii, you will realize that not everything you had seen in the film is true as far as the history of Pompeii is concerned.
Useful tip: You will receive a coupon through mail for this excursion. Do not forget to bring with you the mail when you join the trip.