Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ascent of Vesuvius

The next day we judged to be good, in terms of the coastal haze, for our ascent of Mt. Vesuvius.
Our ascent route, via the Pompei/Vesuvio
bus, 10 euros round-trip; takes you to just
below the crater rim, another 30 minute walk
to the top of the rim























Then they want another 8 euros for the "guided" (unguided)
walk to the top
















Naples, from the top; some 600,000 people live within a few
miles of the still-active Vesuvius (last eruption, 1944); the
government's evacuation plan requires a 3 week notice...

















Smoke rising from the crater's rim















Crater rim pose















View into the crater















More smoke















Looking southwest toward Pompei and the Sorrentine
peninsula
















End of the trail















Parting view of the crater and its assorted rock formations




















[Oops; actually, this was the day after our Last Day in Pompei]

Herculaneum

Next day we took the Circumvesuviana to Herculaneum, tiny compared with Pompei. Herculaneum had a population of only about 5,000, and rather little of it has been exposed, owing to a) the toughness of the 60 feet of rock in which it is buried, and b) the encroachment of the modern city above. Nonetheless it has a number of memorable sites and features.
Entrance to Herculaneum















View of excavated Herculaneum















Vesuvius in the background














Not a moat...that's how far the city is down there...















Pretty incredible frescoes, in situ, at the House of the
Augustales, a society of freedmen enjoying the privileges
recently granted them by the Emperor Augustus

















Ditto















Marble flooring















Outside an enoteca, as contemporary Italians
would call it, a wine bar; four prices/varieties
advertised; specializing in Nola, one of the
preferred appellation controlees, so to speak






















Serpent scuplture in one of the tunneled areas















Drunk Hercules




















Nice atrium, peristyle garden, etc.















It was long thought that everyone got out of Herculaneum;
until excavations found bones of scores of people here
by the boat-houses along the (then) shoreline

















At one of Herculaneum's many eateries














Cubby-holes in the baths (the women's baths, I think)















Caldarium--hot tub--note grooved ceiling: prevents moisture
dripping on clients
















Interior, more incredible mosaic















Old and new Herculaneum















More mosaics

Naples Archaeological Museum: Pompei Frescoes

It was a limited palette, especially as the lapis lazuli blue
had to come from Afghanistan
















Andromeda and Perseus (and Medusa)




















Some of the wall painting had raised relief as well
















Fugitive from the secret chamber















Madonna con bambini...wait, no...















An entire room reconstructed















Sacrifice of Iphigenia (Euripides' version)















Achilles surrendering Briseis; incredible expressiveness















Adulation of Theseus




















Long thought to be a representation of
Vesuvius; note snake




















Writer















Baker and wife















Reader















Depiction of riot in Pompei amphitheater, c. 59















Satirical figures; or perhaps hobbits















Landscape

Naples Archaeological Museum: Pompei Mosaics And Other Items

The Naples Archaeological Museum's Pompei collections are divided into several sections: mosaics, the "secret chamber" (porno stuff, at least in the eyes of the 18th and 19th century princes, dukes, kings, cardinals, et al.), the Villa of the Papyri, and the frescoes. The frescoes, we thought, are by far the best, porn notwithstanding, and so I will leave them for the next post.
First century Roman mosaic: Durer would
have been proud...





















Vicki is buying me one of those double-flutes for Xmas















The Faun, the real one, from the House of the
Faun




















The real Alexander mosaic, from the House of the Faun;
Darius' troops already are beginning to flee...
















One of many portraits in mosaic




















Captain's Plate; micro mosaic: sometimes you have
to stand right next to these things to see that they
are mosaics and not oil paintings

















The secret chamber has a number of fairly explicit sculptures,
mosaics, frescoes, and other things, porn, at least by 19th
century standards; we thought the phallic wind-chimes were
the only thing of great interest; classical attitudes about sex
were a bit different from today's; in Roman times and places
the phallus was a symbol of good luck and prosperity,
seen everywhere; alas, none were for sale in the trinket
shoppes outside the museum





















Glass from the huge "everyday objects" collection from
Pompei; there were also plumbing and illumination and
kitchen displays, among many others, almost like Home
Depot


















In the Villa of the Papyrus section; so-named
because some 1,000 carbonized papyrii were
found there; many have been unrolled and
translated, but, alas, rather than a general
library of the classical world, they are merely
the works of obscure Epicurean philosophers
























Bronze athletes from the Villa of Papyri



















One of the athletes; bronze Roman copies of
Greek originals




















Face of one of several bronze dancers




















Me, in bronze; I swear I was only drinking tonic water