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

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]


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


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


Baker and wife


Depiction of riot in Pompei amphitheater, c. 59

Satirical figures; or perhaps hobbits


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 i
n 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