Wouldn't it be cool if you discovered a city buried with people still in the 'form' of what they were doing when ash fell on them?
Sounds like a movie? A joke? Could never happen…?
Well it did. On August 24, 79 BC, (that's 2,000 years ago!) Mt. Vesuvius exploded pouring ash (not lava) on about 20,000 villagers in the bustling city of Pompeii. Then in 1748, they began excavations uncovering an entire city! And they still aren't finished digging!
I toured the city when I was in Rome with my 12 year old. Since we took a tour from Rome, we only had 2 hours in the city. It wasn't enough. I could have spent days! Weeks! The city is massive! It's almost as if ancient Roman life was frozen and today, we get to walk, see and touch everything (in the same place) as they once did long ago. Some walls still have graffiti, the brothel has actual paintings of services offered, we walked through homes as if we were a guest, and even saw 'stores' where the people used to make bread or sell other goods!
They even have an area where you can see people (yes humans) that were 'frozen' in time from the ash falling on them so quickly. It's strange and weird and, if I am honest, very interesting. VERY. (If history was like this when I was 10, I'd have gotten straight A's.) (Okay maybe not, but I wouldn't have found it so boring)
If you are anywhere near Italy, make sure you stop and spend time in Pompeii. There is a cost to enter the village but trust me….it's worth every penny to see something so spellbinding.
Notes For Sanity:
1) English! If you take a tour from Rome, make sure it's only English. Mine had a guide who spoke 4 other languages to the other guests. After the first five minutes on a bus with the guide repeating the same thing over and over in Japanese, Chinese, German and Spanish, I wanted to shoot myself. An only English guide isn't tired of talking and will be more engaging as they share little tid-bits from their travels.
2) Time. Make sure your tour doesn't stop at other places too. The tour I did went to Florence, some roadside store and another place I can't even remember. It's a waste of time when all you want to see is Pompeii. Find a tour that only does Pompeii. You'll want to spend as much time there as you can.
3) Kids. 12 and up. Sure you can take younger ones....but if they don't 'get it' you'll be chasing them, telling them to "Shh!" or answering that repeated whine, "When is this over?"
If you are in Italy, GO. Do not miss Pompeii. It's a MUST SEE. 120%.