Robert Colton
"What happened? After having drawn me helplessly into the fire, O my eyes, now your cheeks run with tears.

But the tears cannot put out the flames.

They spread across your face and darkness comes into the spirit."
            - poem by a Pompeian named Tiburtinus

Pompeii


This place was more than a legend, it was a thriving community for many generations.


The unthinkable catastrophe that occurred in 79 AD destroyed a city and created a unique treasure.    




The ruins of ancient Pompeii give voice to the past. Long avenues and narrow lanes lead from grand homes and tiny apartments to the temples, civic buildings, bathhouses and taverns.

Powerful politicians strode down these streets followed by allies, clients and servants. Wealthy women were carried aloft in litters by slaves as they visited the markets and temples. Merchants, priests and laborers all mixed with freedmen and slaves as they went about their daily business.
As water overflowed from various public fountains throughout the city, debris was carried away. Stepping stones at intersections acted as bridges over the constant streams that flowed down the sloped streets. 

The public fountains provided all the water needed for daily life. While many wealthy households had water piped to them, the typical family depended on the fountains at the crossroads.
Surviving the destructive forces of Vesuvius's eruption, vivid artwork tells stories of poetry, myth and daily life.
This recreation of a Roman Temple alludes to the grandeur of the various shrines built to pay tribute to the Roman gods. Religion, myth and superstition all combined together and carried a powerful influence over the Roman people. Religion wasn't contained just with the magnificent temples, household shrines allowed families to make offerings to the gods throughout the day. There were even small shrines at street corners.     
This was a port city, home to all walks of life. The place was no more special than any other city in Italy. That all changed when Vesuvius erupted. What would the citizens who lost their home, and the many who lost their lives, think of our fascination with Pompeii?

Beyond the unthinkable tragedy, we are left captivated by Pompeii, a tangible piece of the past -a place of legend.    




Explore Pompeii! 

From the Marine Gate to the Sarno Gate, walk the Via dell' Abbondaza. You will pass by the Temple of Venus, the Temple of Apollo, and then through the forum. Notable locations along the street also include the Tavern of Placidus, The House of the Gladiators, The House of Loreius Tiburtinus and nearing the Sarno Gate, my favorite, The House of Julia Felix. 
Map of Pompeii provided by Sharon and Don Bradley