romALIVE 17: My Life in Ruins

A visit to Pompeii on day 5. The culprit, mass killer Vesuvio burned alive thousands!

The beautiful intact centaur and mosaic floor.

A prosperous coastal city, today it is the excavation point off the train. “Get your tickets, no lines to wait on!” When a simple walk to the entrance would have shown you this is not the Vatican Musei! Hucksters will greet you on site in Italy, try to avoid them! A guide, or an audioguide would have been helpful if you needed to see everything. But what you will see is a well laid out city pretty much on an orthographic grid.

You can see the good relationship of scale to people, very human.

The living and working space were integrated. You lived close to your neighbor, and it reminded me of Machu Picchu. The roofs of the structures are gone, there are lots of open spaces. There are civic spaces. Being of Greek origin meant something to the Romans, and the town, it was said was laid out by Greeks. It is a vision for anyone interested in city planning, how spaces were intergrated and how people might have lived their life. It was not confusing like Rome can be, for there is no coexisting of the present.

Stepping stones for when streets were flooded to clean.

Someones’ back yard with a grape vineyard.

An oven in a shop area.

Was this the way water was dispersed, there were several of these.

That beautiful way they grasped the human body.

I had wished there was more of this visible.

There are things you will not see, or can’t get to easily. There are maps with street names, but onsite these names are not listed. A bunch of kids sat on a wall near the atruim of one house I was in, the tour guide went nuts, and she said they would be closing because too many people were in the structure. Several things I looked for were locked up. Still even if you see only a little, it is all amazing.

We had a brief visit in the Lupanare, the ancient whorehouse. It had McDonald type menus on the walls (above). The concrete bed and pillow (below) made someones’ dreams come true.

Much of the interest in Rome is the things that were. We come to see the Foro, Colloseo, Vaticani, even Cinecittà. Our world of today is a vehicle we use to pass through yesterdays. To walk the streets of Pompeii, to sit in the Colloseo, to visit the Villa Guilia is to step into someone else’s time.

For a mere 35 euro train ride, 2 euro local ride and 13 euro admission, it was an easy day. It was interesting to contrast Napoli to Rome and to enjoy the beautiful weather which no one on the earth can argue with. This must have brought these peoples to this place overlooking the sea. You can also find the little old Italian ladies I remember as a kid, who still are here and are very willing to help when you are in a spot. These matrons of old Rome, who felt responsibility a duty and a pride.

Sfogliatella from Napoli and a Roman McDonald’s cappuccino is not a life in ruins.


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