The morning was moody with thunderous clouds swirling around the mountains, creating a dramatic background to our Pompeii wandering. I relished the filtered light that allowed the textures of the buildings to emerge in my vision. We strode away from other visitors so that we could quietly take it in at our own pace. This is my kind of museum – a real environment in which to imagine life in that time, to tread on the same worn stones. What was it like in that moment that Mt Vesuvius erupted? Was their death quick as they were smothered under the pyroclastic flow? I hope so. I knew that I would struggle to look at the plaster casts of recovered bodies but I forced myself to confront the reality of the beautiful surroundings. It was important to see beyond the photogenic and recognise the pain. A lump formed in my throat as I studied the body postures of anguish. Yet I was inspired too by their craftsmanship and solid infrastructure that has truly stood the test of time and disaster. After an enraptured four hours, the warmth of the day set in, the visitor numbers had swelled and my eyes were weary from concentrating on walking the uneven surface. What a captivating, haunting, inspiring ancient place,, and may we always care for such sites. I also felt very relieved to read that the stray dogs living there are being tagged and cared for under a new initiative.
Curreri Viaggi bus from Naples International Airport to Sorrento. Circumvesuviana train from Naples or Sorrento to the entrance of Pompeii. L Giardini di Cataldo gelateria, Sorrento. Abandoned flour mill Valle dei Munili in Sorrento. Eggplant parmigiana at the local, authentic Le Colline di Sorrento restaurant up the hill.