New year and new bank holidays to plan. A few of my friends are currently preparing a weekend or short holiday in Naples, Campania, so I thought I would write a few articles, starting with the Unesco protected site of Pompei, which is a must do when in the region in my opinion (although the less busy site of Herculaneum could be another option on the same topic).
A day out on the Pompei ruins
The bank holiday weekend was rainy. Yes, Campania had been scorching hot for weeks and when we traveled down there for the summer bank holiday weekend, it rained and temperature dropped down by 10 degrees. That being said, it wasn’t all that bad. We actually got to do touristy things we had never got round to, such as spending a day on the archeological site of Pompei, which actually proved a really good move.
Note to self: the site is almost completely open with very little shade (that means hats, sun cream, water…well you know)
The site of Pompei is a lot larger than I imagined. We wandered for an afternoon around this village frozen in time for centuries by the volcano eruption. Past the creepy feeling – the eruption was rather brutal and practically no one in the village survived, their bodies leaving a shape mould into the lava…- we actually enjoyed the unique opportunity to see a Roman village just as it used to be. Walking on the streets and thinking of those people who had lived, loved, run through those exact same streets; were they so different? We think we belong to advanced civilisations, but have we changed so much?
I found the experience very interactive, we walked through the poet’s house, luxury villa, the Roman bath, open air theatre and even shops…the baking oven seemed like a pizza was going to come out of it any time.
Italy is often criticised for their lack of maintenance and restoration work on the site of Pompei, to the extent where the Unesco threatened to remove the site away from the World Heritage list. It seems that in the past couple of years though, some progress was made and we could see the Villa dei Misteri freshly reopen with its impressive al-frescos.
To Get in the mood…
Right and I’m not a big fan of action / special effect movies, but I’m sure watching Kit Harrington topless combatting in the 3D-gladiator arena can help getting in the mood (Pompeii, 2014)!
And what else?
For the rest of the weekend, we did what one should in Campania when the weather isn’t as good as expected: eat much and outstandingly well.
We started our days with a delizia al limone, carried on to fresh mozzarella, focaccia and seafood for lunch, stopping for an afternoon gelato and granita al limone and finishing the day with an amazing diner, in particular that one at Cetaria was absolutely outstanding. I’ll have to write an entire post on the Amalfi coast one day, it’s just gorgeous.
I had intended to spend a week detoxing after that…but well err I mean we came back home with fresh mozzarella so I couldn’t let it get wasted, and had to bake some focaccia! Ooops, not exactly part of the detox but well…it’s way too good to resist!! I take my recipe from a friend’s mom in Naples, I promise I will share it soon. Baci!