A Day in Pompeii

Killian Gilvary
March 18, 2014

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to get the chance to visit Pompeii for the day. Ever since I can remember, my mom always had the TV on the History channel. Even though I would constantly protest, I slowly began to become interested in some of the places that were mentioned on the shows. Pompeii was one of them. If you told me back then that I would have the chance to visit this ancient city, I would never have believed you.

Our first stop of the day was Oplontis, where we were able to see an example of an ancient Roman vacation house. This villa, which was probably the size of two of my houses, was where a wealthy Roman family would have gone to get away from the city in the hot summer months. The entire villa is still standing. The walls are still elaborately painted, and the mosaic floors are still together. The backyard even has a pool! The Romans definitely knew how to getaway.

This is a view of Oplontis from the top of the hill! This is where the street level used to be until they excavated the villa.

The columns were still standing, and the walls were beautiful.


This is a photo of the frescos on the walls of Oplontis. The colors were still magnificent.

This just shows you how much they paid attention to every detail in the house. It’s all hand painted!

A beautiful courtyard.

This is a tree from the recreated garden that was believed to be in front of the villa.

Our second stop of the day was Pompeii. To be 100% honest, when I first arrived in Pompeii I was underwhelmed. Somehow this was not what I pictured in my head. The moment it hit me, that I was actually in Pompeii, was when we walked into a building and the frescos were still colorful and beautiful. As if they had never been lost. That one experience changed my whole day, and really put everything into perspective. I was walking through a city that had been covered in volcanic ash and rock for centuries.

Once I came to my senses and realized how amazing this area really was, I couldn’t get enough. I never knew just how big Pompeii truly was. The sheer thought that a civilization this large could disappear in a day is one of the scariest things I can imagine. Mother Nature doesn’t mess around. Also, fun fact, Mt. Vesuvius is still active and about 3 million people live in the vicinity of this massive volcano. They are very trustworthy people, especially due to the fact that the longer the volcano goes without erupting, the stronger and more devastating the eruption can become.

A view of Mt. Vesuvius from inside the walls of Pompeii.

Some of the most interesting areas that we saw were the  baths, the brothels, and the theatre. The baths were still in good condition, and there was even a room that were like today’s ‘lockers.’ The brothels were definitely interesting. The way ancient civilizations viewed sex versus how we view it today is so different. Above the rooms in the brothel there were little frescos that were like a ‘menu,’ they let you know what you could get in that room. Finally, the theatre was absolutely beautiful. The fact that this large theatre is still standing, and still looks perfect after being lost for so many years is mind-blowing.

This was taken inside one of the baths. Even the places they bathed were beautifully decorated.

The thought of this large theatre being able to disappear is crazy!

The part of the trip that left me speechless were the bodies. I knew going in that there were bodies incased in volcanic ash, but seeing them in person is so different from seeing them in a textbook or on TV. Most of the bodies that were still at Pompeii and not moved to another location were children. They were small bodies, toddler-sized, laying in the fetal position. The most striking one though was definitely one of an adult, whose face was frozen in time.

This is the body that’s face was frozen in time. The bodies in front of him were mostly smaller children.

My day trip to Pompeii is something that I will never forget. Having the opportunity to visit an ancient city that has been almost perfectly preserved was amazing, and I am so glad that I had the chance to see it.

Pompeii was unforgettable.

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Killian Gilvary

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">I am currently a junior at the Pennsylvania State University, majoring in Art History and Criminology. I am an active member in the service sorority, Gamma Sigma Sigma, and I enjoy giving back to my community and school. In my free time, I enjoy photography, cooking, reading, and spending time with my friends. Traveling to Italy has always been one of my goals, and I have been lucky enough to receive the opportunity to study abroad in Rome. I look forward to seeing all of my favorite works of art in person, as well as being able to immerse myself in the Italian culture. I hope my blog will not only allow you to view my experience in Rome, but that it will also allow you to immerse yourself in the Italian culture through my photos.</span></p>

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