I actually visited Pompeii for a day in 1973 when my ship stopped in Naples. But back then it was mostly just fields of rubble with only a few traces of mosaics along the grassy cobbled streets. It is probably ironic that a lot of the major excavation was done when the French occupied Naples from 1799 to 1815. They expropriated the area and brought in 700 workers. But once the French were gone, Pompeii was abandoned again until 1863. This is the period when the first plaster casts were made of victims. Nevertheless, not a whole lot was done until the end of the 20th century when archaeologists warned that the excavated portions were falling apart out of neglect. In 2010 the Schola Armatorum ('house of gladiators") collapsed due to excessive rain. Since then, the EU has allocated 50 million euros for restoration, but frankly it is just a drop in the bucket.
Nevertheless, Pompeii continues to fascinate many of us, and so yesterday I went to the Pompeii exhibition at the Grand Palais.
I must apologise in advance about some of the photos which have a bit of purple streaking. My camera and the video projections did not always get along for some reason. This is the first time this has ever happened, and I had to delete a number of photos with huge purple bands across them, like back in the old days when one tried to take a photo of a television scree. Oh well.
I went to Pompei on a day trip from Naples in 1970. There were two of us (young females), few tourists, and the guides that we did not want to pay for a tour of the site kept following us around and pointing out things like penises carved above doorways and laughing.
The video of the eruption really brings it all home! I think we've all seen films of lava slowly creeping down the side of a volcano, so it's hard to assimilate how Pompeii was abruptly wiped out. That video did it for me. When I went to Pompeil (photos lurking in a memory card), I just wandered around because I don't like guided tours. That meant I missed some of the highlights, which I have now seen thanks to this thread.
I was in Pompeii last October, but was with a smallish tour group. We were herded around by a local guide who was very good, but it was all a bit too rushed. So, wandering around and discovering would have been more to my liking. Maybe I’ll go back one day, especially since my paternal family was from a small town just a few miles to the southeast of Pompeii.
Interesting news about the French impact on the site. That was something I hadn’t realized and would like to learn more about that time. For anyone interested in reading historical fiction about Pompeii, I recommend the Robert Harris book. He gives a seemingly realistic description of the eruption and aftermath.
I’d like to visit Herculaneum also. In my group we had a person who’d studied archeology and, I learned after the fact, she went off on her own to visit Herculaneum and also to go to the top of Vesuvius. I was very envious!
Yes, Bixa, I’ve thought about how I might not have existed given the location of the town of my paternal origin, but I’m also wondering if some of my 25% French dna might have come from the time of the Pompeii excavations. I’ve traced some of my French ancestry back to northern and north eastern France, but there has also seemed to be a line mixed in with the Italian line. This report on the exhibit at the Grand Palais has given me a major clue, and I apologize to you, Kerouac, for going off topic.
Is this a traveling exhibit that might be seen later in other parts of the world? I assume it will be long-gone by the time I ever get back to Paris.
Post by cheerypeabrain on Sept 1, 2020 17:32:36 GMT
My favourite holiday included a day trip to Pompeii. My big sister had a book that had a chapter about it and I longed to visit the fascinating place even when I was 7 or 8 years old. I would love to go back as we were herded around, probably missed quite a lot. I too would like to visit Herculaneum. IF I ever go on holiday again....
bjd, our paths might have crossed at Pompeii in 1970.
We had planned to camp the night before our visit to the site but couldn't find a campsite anywhere near Pompeii. We drove up Vesuvius in the dark thinking we'd find a place to pull off the road and just sleep in the car, but I couldn't settle down to sleep. We'd slept in our car seats many times, just never on a volcano. We wound up driving back to Pompeii and finding a place where we could park next to the wall, between some trees. When we saw the staff showing up for work, we neatened up and waited by the gate. We were the first people in to the site and soon a Japanese photographer approached us for permission to include us in his photos for 3D postcards. I always wondered what people would have made of two grubby groggy people in anoraks, but I'm sure he found better subjects later on.
What I remember best about Pompeii is the Villa dei misteri. Reading the Robert Harris book brought the eruption to life much more than our visit did.
We watched something recently about Pompeii from the British Museum.
We drove up Vesuvius in the dark thinking we'd find a place to pull off the road and just sleep in the car, but I couldn't settle down to sleep. We'd slept in our car seats many times, just never on a volcano. We wound up driving back to Pompeii and finding a place where we could park next to the wall, between some trees