Health Editor’s Note: You will see no photos taken by Carol Duff of Pompeii…true story….we drove many, many miles into Italy (we rent a car and drive and drive and drive), many years ago, before the convenience of having a phone to check on closing times….Got to the gates of Pompeii at 3:30 p.m. on a week day and it was CLOSED. Yes, absolutely closed. So you can come from the US and rent a car and drive a long way and still not get to see what has to be a pretty awesome area of Italy. Of course that was not the only site in Italy that we visited or wanted to see, but it was still a shock…..Carol
The New Treasures of Pompeii
If you stand inside the ruins of Pompeii and listen very, very hard, you can almost hear the creaking of cart wheels, the tumult of the marketplace, the echoes of Roman voices. Few modern visitors would care to conjure the ghost city’s most striking feature, its appalling stench—togas were brightened by bleaching with sulfur fumes, animal and human waste flowed down streets whenever it rained heavily—but on this pleasantly piney day in early spring, Pompeii has that peculiar stillness of a place where calamity has come and gone. There’s a whiff of mimosa and orange blossom in the salt air until, suddenly, the wind swoops down the “Vicolo dei Balconi,” Alley of the Balconies, kicking up the ancient dust along with it.
In A.D. 79, when Mount Vesuvius rumbled to life after being dormant for nearly 300 years, the alley was entombed and its balconies largely incinerated in the cascades of scorching ash and superheated toxic gases known as pyroclastic surges that brought instant death to the residents of Pompeii. Archaeologists discovered and unearthed the Vicolo dei Balconi only last year, in a part of the site called Regio V, which is not yet open to the public.