Too Many Tourists

So this weekend the 5 CU students traveled down to Napoli to take in the sites destroyed by Mt. Vesuvius on April 33rd 78 BC (if that makes sense to you look at a calendar). We did check out the sites though. First we stopped at Herculaneum (now Ercolano). It is really small, since the modern city has grown up on top of the ancient one. But we were given almost unlimited access to the site and saw some amazing wall paintings (makes me a little sad I won’t be able to take the Ancient Italian Painting course at CU before I leave). The site is also not over run with tourist, we were able to roam where we pleased looking at different houses.

Then we went and checked into our Hotel, the Motel of the Villa of the Mysteries. It was right by Pompeii, the train station, and was reasonably priced. Everyone else was either guasta (broken) or wanted to swim, but I am like a machine when it comes to ancient site seeing and having bought the 5 site ticket wanted to get the most of it. So I jumped back on the Circumvesiviano to Torre Annucitia and checked out the Villa Oplontis. This is another site that was buried and built on top of so only small excavations have taken place, but they have uncovered a huge villa that they think was owned by the family of Poppea the wife of Nero. It is huge and wealthy and only half uncovered. There are a lot of famous wall paintings there and just some interesting layouts. Also this site was only being visited by myself and a group of British tourists, and the only reason I think that group was there was because one of them studied wall paintings and wanted to see them. So again another pretty empty site, which was awesome.

I then headed back and joined up with the others and we trekked forth to get dinner in Pompeii and see the modern town that has grown up next to it. Nice place mostly, Lauren met a very nice shop owner, Cam was accosted by a very forward lady of the night, and Sara found some medicine that might help her ear. We then turned in early since it had been a long day of traveling and site seeing.

On Sunday we visited Pompeii which is cool but overrun by tourist groups and tour guides giving out bad information. The tour groups are also limited to a small area of the town, when I visited in 2003 I only saw ¼ of the town. Today I got to see as much of it as I could (and a little more). Pompeii is also full of gates preventing your entrance to certain buildings, which is understandable but frustrating. A couple were open in some deserted parts of town that I went into and checked out. Pompeii is also falling apart, there are so many walled being held up with scaffolding and many more houses that are over grown with weeds. It is really sad, I wish the superintendency would do more, but corruption and ineffective government are hindering the people who want to do something. It was great to see what I missed the first time, but this is a site I don’t think I will visit again on my own. I would need to be working there or taking a group of people there for the first time to visit it.

But Cam, Sara, and I did meet a woman who is working on the food and drink project there. They start tomorrow and are mapping out different parts of Pompeii related to well food and drink. It was interesting to meet her, but this was her first time so she didn’t know much of what was going on there. But she wished us luck with finishing up the V. Max dig. Speaking of finishing my train is pulling into Termini so I need to go, but hope you all are doing well and enjoy the post (images will follow soon).


About handyatmurlo

I am a Latin teacher at Regis Jesuit High School. I earned my MA at CU Boulder and my BA at UMass Amherst. I have spent my summers working in Italy as an archaeologist at three different sites. One I have worked at for 10 years at Poggio Civitate at Vescovado di Murlo. I have worked at the Villa of Maxentius in Rome for 2 years, before the project ended. I also spent 2 summers at the FSU excavations in Cosa.
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One Response to Too Many Tourists

  1. Patricia Carroll says:

    I felt I needed to leave a comment as this is a whole new aspect of computers that I have yet to have not experienced. Pretty easy, click comment and respond – I can handle this! Dad and I enjoyed your blogs and I couldn’t help but wonder…if your mom traveled to Italy, would you return to Pompeii?! 🙂 We are glad you are getting to visit so many locations….looking forward to seeing photos.

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