This took a while to do. There’s a lot to cover!
On the banks of the Tiber, Castel Sant’Angelo was built as Emperor Hadrian’s Mausoluem.
When I was planning this trip, I wasn’t sure about visiting Rome. It seemed like a busy, noisy, dirty city. It’s one of those places people either love or hate. But as I was going to be in the area, I decided to check it out and booked six nights.
As the time to visit approached, I started to regret this decision. I went to Pompeii first, and I wasn’t particularly taken with Campania (the area around Pompei & Naples). I loved the ruins. I might have cried a little when it came time to leave. But the cities? They were noisy and dirty and full of impatient people. I really didn’t care to stay in a bigger version.
Then I stepped out of Roma Termini (the railway station) after two long train trips and lugging a heavy suitcase and backpack, and it was “Oh, you beautiful city”.
This is Herculaneum. Before being covered in ash and lava, it was a resort town, of about 5000 people. Smaller than Pompeii and only a small amount has been excavated. This site you could easily visit in 2-3 hours. (For that and what I mention below, some people prefer visiting here to Pompeii.)
As you enter the ruins, you cross a bridge with this view.
Back in 62 CE (AD), Pompeii was struck by a major earthquake. They were still repairing damage from this seventeen years later Vesuvius erupted and buried the city. Apparently, many of the public buildings had not yet been repaired. (Also, as a random fact because I only found this out the other day, in 89 BCE, Pompeii was besieged by Romans.)
So, let’s start with the the Forum, the heart of any good Roman city. It was a public square surrounded by markets, government buildings and the major temples. You can see some remains of the colonnade that ran along the sides.
At one end is the main temple, Temple of Jupiter or Capitolium (dedicated to the trio of Jupiter, Kuno & MInera). One of the buildings that wasn’t repaired after the earthquake. (Such an innocent looking mountain in the background.)
Pompeii is a large site. It was home to about 20,000 people and I about 2/3 of that has been excavated. Not all of the excavated area is open to the public but the Park still covers a large part of the city. The website recommends a minimum of 2-3 hours to visit the site. Now I know it says minimum but that suggests you can get around most of the area in 2-3 hours. I had five days there. One was washed out and another I visited Herculaneum, although I dropped into Pompeii for the last couple of hours of the day. So, that was three days of 3-4 hours each, and I managed to get to everything I wanted to see but not the whole site. Big place. But it was a city, and like any city it was mostly houses and shops.
A typical street small shops along the sides, open to the street, and the houses are in behind.
There are also water fountains and stones for crossing the road (you can see some behind the fountain).