Pompeii the city buried alive, details and photos

Top 10: interesting facts about the dead inhabitants of Pompeii

On August 24, 79, the inhabitants of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii were going about their usual business, unaware that these were their last hours of life. Earthquakes had been raging for days, but the people of this part of the world had long been used to them, and so they did not react to them until the afternoon of August 24. Vesuvius had not erupted for hundreds of years, so no one expected the terrible volcano to wake up on that day.

During the next 2 days the volcano struck the city as many as 6 times. Each eruption released deadly gas vapors, clouds of ash and rain of rock debris to the surface, followed by pyroclastic flows even more dangerous than lava because of their high temperature and speed. After it was over, Pompeii and all its inhabitants were buried under a 6-meter layer of volcanic debris and ash.

After being imprisoned for nearly 1,900 years, the victims of the elements were retrieved from the ground by modern scientists, who, with the help of the latest technology, were able to study a civilization that was wiped off the face of the earth in a matter of hours.

10. Residents of Pompeii burned alive Photo: National Geographic

Until recently, inhalation of volcanic gases and ash was believed to be the main cause of death for most of these unfortunate people. But according to a new study by volcanologist Giuseppe Mastrolorenzo and his colleagues hundreds of deaths occurred during the fourth wave of pyroclastic flow, which also became the first such flow that reached Pompeii in the entire two-day eruption.

Scientists found that the fourth pyroclastic flow had much less ash than previously thought, about a 3-centimeter layer. The temperature of this deadly river was at least 300 ° C, so the death of its victims came instantly. People had no time to thrash around in agony and suffocate, and perhaps this is good news.

9. Approximately 75% of the Pompeii people were frozen forever in their final poses Photo: steemit.com

People’s poses clearly demonstrate what they were doing when they were caught off guard by an angry volcano. Many of them remained inside their homes with their families. Children and adults were literally sealed in layers of ash and volcanic debris.

The fossilized remains of some of the dead were treated with plaster, and in one case even with resin, to preserve all the details of what happened nearly 2,000 years ago. The soft tissues of the Pompeii have long since decomposed, but all these skeletons are still intact, and the voids between the bones have been filled with the aforementioned mortars. It turns out that the photos in front of you are not replicas or sculptures, but very real people, or at least what is left of them. Their skeletons are still inside these fossils.

A total of 86 such plaster figures have survived out of about 2,000 dead. The remains suitable for mummification in plaster are very rare, which explains why so few bodies were preserved in this way. Today, excavations are still going on in the vicinity of Pompeii, so there is a chance to find other dead. However, the plaster itself can severely damage the remains, so archaeologists no longer use this technology to preserve new finds.

In some cases, it was possible to preserve not only the poses of the dead, but also the expressions of their faces, full of death agony. One of the discovered victims clearly raised her hands to her face to protect herself from the approaching danger, which was, of course, an unsuccessful and purely reflexive attempt to escape her imminent fate. The other face was forever covered with a scream of rage, and even the teeth in this man’s mouth were perfectly preserved. Scientists also found a mother and her child, and a man sitting, with his hands covering his face in anticipation of his impending death, as well as many crawling people, as if they were trying to escape their terrible fate. Archaeologists also came across bodies of people curled up in the pose of a baby in the womb, as well as those of the dead, enclosing each other in their last embrace.

None of us knows what our last moments of life would have been like if something like this had happened to us. In the case of one discovery, however, experts had big questions. One man was found lying on his back, with his legs spread apart and his arms pressed against his lower body. Most of the victims excavated clearly displayed the most expected scenes of flight and horror, but this find was clearly different from all the others for some reason.

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8. The Garden of the Fugitives, the place where most of the dead were found

Experts estimate that about 2,000 people died in the Pompeii disaster, although archaeologists have so far only found about 1,150 bodies. This means that nearly 18,000 inhabitants of the ancient Roman city were able to escape when the deadly Vesuvius eruptions began.

The so-called Garden of the Fugitives was found to be the largest collection of bodies excavated in one place. As many as 13 people took refuge in this building, hoping to find refuge here. In the House of Mystery, scientists found the remains of nine people who were sealed inside the structure forever by the collapsed roof. Two more victims were unearthed in the thermal baths and the fish market. Several other victims were found at the vegetable market.

7. Pets of the inhabitants of Pompeii Photo: atlasobscura.com

Several animals have also been found in Pompeii. It was once a prosperous city, and many of its residents had their pets, including dogs. The wealthiest Pompeiians kept horses, and some residents had their own livestock. In addition, there were the usual wild animals roaming around the city. Many of them also could not escape the terrible fate.

Archaeologists found a pig at the food market. A small dog with a collar was also found there. It was probably someone’s faithful pet. The animal was lying on its back, its legs frozen in a pose indicative of terrible suffering in its last moments of life. It seems the owners had left poor Fido (as scientists call the dog) tied up in the market area and he managed to survive the first eruption by climbing higher on the ash and pumice that filled the covered plaza. Eventually the animal, which had never been free of its chain, died when the fourth wave of pyroclastic flow reached Pompeii. Perhaps the dog’s owners had left it on a chain to guard their belongings, hoping to return after the eruption when the city was safe. Instead, they actually sentenced the poor animal to a horrible death.

Recently, archaeologists discovered several more horses in the stables of a local villa. Apparently, at least three of the animals had managed to be led outside, and two horses were just being equipped and prepared for their hasty evacuation. Alas, they could not be saved. Strappings with valuable iron and bronze parts left characteristic traces on the heads of the dead animals, which led scientists to believe that they had found very expensive pets. Perhaps they were a noble breed of racehorse or other ceremonial horses.

In addition, the excavation work uncovered the remains of donkeys and mules, but they avoided making plaster figures of these animals so as not to damage the fragile skeletons of these ancient Roman animals.

6. exotic food and pompeian ketchup

Archaeologists discovered under a layer of dust and ashes perfectly preserved ancient Roman bread. Of course, there is nothing exotic about the bread, but it still deserves special attention. It was an intact round pastry, cut into 8 pieces and marked with a special baker’s seal, because bakeries of that era were obliged to mark their products. The discovered bread had kept its shape and texture for nearly 2,000 years. By some miracle it survived the eruption of Vesuvius and spent centuries under a 9-meter layer of ash and soil. To find something like this at the site of an ancient catastrophe is a real sensation.

An extensive study by the University of Cincinnati shed light on what the inhabitants of Pompeii ate and drank. To do so, scientists analyzed organics they found in the kitchens and toilets of the fallen city. Yes, yes, the experts have studied the ancient and fossilized fecal matter. As a result, they were able to identify traces of grains, lentils, olives, eggs, nuts, fish and meat. All these products were staples in the diet of the Pompeii people.

The wealthier and more noble citizens ate imported foods, including exotic spices, shellfish, sea urchins, pink flamingos and even giraffes. What’s more, archaeologists discovered the remains of a giraffe in the kitchen of a local restaurant. Study co-author Steven Ellis, a professor at the University of Cincinnati, said: “Supposedly this is the only giraffe bone ever found during archaeological excavations in Roman-era Italy. Since the fragment of the slaughtered animal was supposedly found in a very ordinary city restaurant, not only does it suggest a rather developed trade in exotic and wild animals from distant lands, but also that the diet of even the common people was quite rich and varied”.

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Researchers also learned that the people of Pompeii were very fond of garum, a fermented sauce made from the blood and guts of fish. To make this sauce, the Romans would leave salted fish in the sun, and within 2 months it would rot to the desired condition. Some experts compare this product to Thai fish sauce, but for the ancient Pompeians it was more like a kind of ketchup. By the way, the highest quality garum was considered a very expensive product.

5. The inhabitants of Pompeii had very healthy teeth

A recent scan of the recovered bodies showed that the Pompeii people had surprisingly beautiful and white teeth for those times, which at the same time indicates their excellent health in general. The first century A.D. has never been associated with a good enough level of oral care, but the Pompeii inhabitants had teeth in better condition than the average European of those years. As researchers have noted, the Pompeii people took better care of their teeth than even most of us.

It is possible to explain this phenomenon by the healthy nutrition of the ancient citizens, because their diet consisted of much fruit and vegetables, and they ate almost no sweets. In addition, fluoride was found in the local atmosphere and water, which is known to be a good helper in the fight against tooth decay.

4. Two maidens turned out to be two men Photo: The Telegraph

It used to be believed that the famous couple from Pompeii were just girls who embraced in the face of impending death. The victims were even called the “Two Virgins.” In 2017, however, researchers discovered that the bodies found were actually male. They may even have been homosexuals.

DNA analysis and computer scans of bones and teeth confirmed that the archaeologists had found exactly men, and they were absolutely not blood relatives (not brothers, not father and son). According to the DNA analysis, one man was about 18-20 years old and the other was at least 20.

One of the young men had his head pressed against the other’s chest, as if in search of comfort or salvation. Of course, scientists cannot know for certain whether these men were lovers or not. However, the results of DNA tests and the posture in which the couple was found clearly indicate a strong emotional connection between these dead Pompeii men.

3. the inhabitants of Pompeii were a very depraved people The sexual habits of the inhabitants of Pompeii would surely make many of you blush. Not without reason ancient Romans and Pompeii were considered as followers of hedonism and people without complexes.

For the first time Pompeii, buried under a layer of ash and debris, was discovered in the late 16th century. Then the city was excavated by workers who dug a canal to change the course of the river Sarno. To evaluate their discovery they called Italian architect Domenico Fontana, who was extremely confused by the erotic scenes on the frescoes of the city and the other artifacts excavated. In the end the architect even ordered to bury back all these shameful finds, because the artifacts were deemed too scandalous and offensive to the sensitive contemporaries of Domenico Fontana.

The finds remained underground until the 18th century. Even after repeated excavations, however, the most delicate treasures of Pompeii were treated with the utmost caution. In 1819 Francis I, King of the Two Sicilies, was so shocked by the frankness of some of Pompeii’s artifacts that he even ordered them to be locked away in a secret cabinet. Only the most mature and promiscuous gentlemen had access to these finds. Up to the year 2000, the scandalous objects were actually hidden from the public.

It turned out that the inhabitants of Pompeii decorated furniture, lamps and even musical pendants with phallic symbols. Erotic scenes were depicted in mosaics and frescoes right on the walls of ordinary houses. Sex was everywhere. One of the most explicit finds was a detailed sculpture of the god Pan (patron of cattle breeding and fertility) copulating with a goat. The piece supposedly belonged to the father-in-law of Julius Caesar, Lucius Pontifex.

Brothels were rather popular in ancient Pompeii and at the time of volcanic eruption there were about 35 brothels. Prices were indicated directly on the walls of these establishments. Images of brothel services themselves also acted as murals, which provided historians with useful information about what was waiting for visitors in such brothels. For example, archaeologists found frescoes in which light-skinned women in various poses had sex with dark-skinned men on ornamented beds.

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The reality, however, was much sadder. In contrast to the exciting drawings on the walls, the workers in this industry lived in very sad conditions. Their rooms had plain stone beds, and there were not even any windows. And there were no amenities.

2. Slave in chains Photo: theexcavationsofpopeii.weebly.com

Despite the fact that many excavations have been done in Pompeii to date, the dark history of slavery in the region is still not fully understood. Almost everything we know comes from ancient drawings, frescoes, and mosaics. Scholars believe that slavery was widespread in Pompeii, whether as common servants in houses or as concubines and brothel workers. For this society, forced slave labor was considered absolutely normal.

As in other cultures, slaves in Pompeii were the property of the townspeople, and the owners could do with them as they pleased. The slaves of those years had very different duties, but the most curious practice for archaeologists was the collection and use of urine as a cleaning agent. It appears that Pompeian slaves collected urine and washed their masters’ clothes in it. Dirty laundry would be soaked in tanks of urine and water, and then slaves would get in there and trample these things, almost like they used to crush grapes to make wine in the villages. So that’s the big wash…

Of course, the saddest picture presented itself to archaeologists when they excavated the ancient slave prison. During the eruption of Vesuvius, a chained slave was never able to leave his prison and died in chains. The man was found lying face down with the chains still tied around his ankles.

1. The unluckiest guy in all of Pompeii Photo: dailyherald.com

Just imagine all the chaos going on in the city during the eruption of Vesuvius – all the running and terror, the fires and the air full of thick ash and smoke. The ground shook and cracked at the seams, and the buildings around you almost fell on your head. The red-hot lava rushes straight at you, destroying everything in its path.

And now imagine that you have managed to escape from all this horror, and you already have this thought in your head: “Yes, I can make it through”. And then all of a sudden a huge rock blows your head off … Yes, it doesn’t seem to have been your day.

That’s exactly what happened to a poor guy discovered by archaeologists around Pompeii. We don’t know his name. All we know is that his remains were found sticking out from under a huge boulder, where the deceased had lain for almost 2,000 years.

The experts concluded that the man had managed to escape from the burning city, although they found an infection in his shin, which must have made it difficult to escape. It was most likely because of his leg that he was unable to dodge the deadly boulder. This poor guy’s head was never found.

Your feedback: Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) – The City Buried Alive.

You were in the middle of an excursion on a trip to an ancient ruined city.

Of course it is impossible to be near Naples and not to visit Pompeii. This ancient city is known throughout the modern world. They made movies about it, and a huge amount of literature, and everyone knows our compatriot Karl Bryullov’s painting “The Death of Pompeii”. I remember when I first saw it, as a child, I was struck by the formidable catastrophe depicted on it, and especially, of course, by the tragic figures of people caught in the midst of this terrible disaster.

In short, despite the fact that from Ischia Sea Tour around the island of Ischia (Italy), where I vacationed, to Naples had to go at 6-40 by ferry, and then from the port by bus to Pompeii, I certainly went on this excursion. In fact, the tour was called Pompeii – Vesuvius. That is, after visiting Pompeii we had to go to the crater of Vesuvius, but by an unfortunate coincidence, the entrance to the crater on the day of our tour was closed, so the most interesting thing at Vesuvius – its crater, I was not able to see. A pity, of course.

And we saw Pompeii. Impressions, I must say, are unforgettable. Two hours of excursion seemed to me very short, despite the heat and many crowds of tourists. I really wanted to walk on the ancient sidewalks without rushing and leisurely look at the remains of the once blooming city.

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A huge crowd of people swarms on the square in front of the entrance to the open-air museum – Pompeii. On the square tourists are welcomed by a Roman gladiator.

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Admission to Pompeii costs 11 euros. You can buy tickets right there at the ticket office on the square because the cost of tickets is not included in the tour. We enter Pompeii through the entrance, which used to be the city’s sea gate. Yes, because Pompeii is a port city, you can’t even believe that the sea was splashing around here.

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

These were the posts that separated the port. The sea receded after another eruption of Vesuvius.

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

It just takes your breath away when you walk on these ancient sidewalks paved with huge stones.

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Pompeii is a very ancient city, allegedly founded in the 6th century BC by the Ossians, an ancient people who lived in southern Italy. It was later conquered by the Etruscans, then by the Greeks. After it was conquered by the Roman general Lucius Cornelius Sulla in the 80s BC, it became a Roman colony.

The city was a port city through which goods went to Rome and southern Italy and at the end of the 1st century BC the city was flourishing. Apparently it never occurred to its inhabitants that they were literally living on a volcano. Although Vesuvius warned them. On February 5, 62 Pompeii, along with other cities in the vicinity of Vesuvius was hit quite hard by a powerful earthquake. For the next 15 years, the city tried to recover from its effects – the destroyed buildings were restored and even began construction of the central thermae. By the way, as for thermae, Pompeii had thermae not only private, but also public. Public baths (thermae) were built for profit. They had three types of rooms: caldarium (“hot bath”), tepidarium (“warm bath”) and frigidarium (“cool bath”). The public baths also had two sections, one for women and one for men. During the tour we visited one of the smallest and most elegant thermae of Pompeii, the Thermae of the Forum. These thermae were mainly for visitors to the city. They were built in the 1st century BC. The entrance from the street of the forum led to the men’s section.

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

To go down into the direct part of the baths you walk through this tunnel

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

And here we get directly into the baths.

This is the opening above the font of the Caldaria in the Thermae of the Forum:

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

The next compartment. The tepidarium, I think. Remains of the frescoes that once adorned the entire ceiling:

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Impressive, isn’t it? Not a bad public bath. In short, the inhabitants were not about to leave the city. And having been there, I understand them very well. Who in the world would willingly leave such a magical place with fertile land that yields up to four crops a year? None of the residents of Pompeii could have imagined that Vesuvius was capable of destroying the city. There were more underground tremors in the 70’s – but it only served to repair the city’s buildings and private homes once again. Excavations uncovered many building materials and rooms in the houses, clearly prepared for repairs. The Pompeii people were habitually preparing to rebuild what had been destroyed by the elements. And so, according to the official version, on the night of August 24 to 25, 79, Vesuvius exploded – an earthquake, rockfall, flakes of ash falling from the sky. Then lava flows flowed and fires broke out. The earthquake caused a tsunami – the sea drifted ashore. Thousands of people in Pompeii died of sulfurous gases or suffocated under the rubble of their houses. But still most managed to escape from the city. All day long the volcano erupted, Pompeii was covered with a layer of ash many meters high. Stabia and Oplontis were covered in the same way. Then it rained, and the ruined cities were flooded with mud. Herculaneum was also destroyed. Architect Domenico Fontana is called the involuntary discoverer of the remains of Pompeii, who in 1592, while leading the underground waterway from the river Sarno to the town of Torre Annunziata, stumbled upon the ruins of Pompeii. But in those days there were no excavations. Systematic excavations of Pompeii began only in the 18th century. The excavations found that Pompeii was covered with a hardened mass of fine pumice, volcanic ash, and mud between 1.5 and 6 meters thick. The neighboring town of Herculaneum, which was closer to Vesuvius, turned out to be flooded with lava, whose layer was up to 23 meters. During the excavations, the cavities found in the volcanic dust were filled with gypsum, according to a method developed by the archaeologist Fiorelli, and in this way the exact remains of the victims of the catastrophe were obtained:

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Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Pompeii is a big city, much bigger than I expected. Of course it’s not possible to see it all in 2 hours, but you can get lost there, so it’s better to stay close to the guide. The main square of Pompeii, the square of the Forum, was located in the center of the city and was the center of political, commercial and religious life.

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Temple of Apollo – the oldest temple of Pompeii.

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Macellum is a covered food market. There were small stores along the perimeter of the square and in the center, under the rotunda, there was a swimming pool with live fish.

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Arch of Triumph of Caligula (ruled in 37-41 AD). During excavations the equestrian statue of the emperor was found near the arch. Most likely the statue was standing on the arch.

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

House of Faun. Pompey’s most luxurious house measuring about 3000 square meters. Perhaps the house belonged to Publius Sulla, nephew of the conqueror of the city, whom Lucius Cornelius Sulla put in charge of Pompeii.

On the threshold is a mosaic inscription HAVE (hello):

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

A statue of a dancing faun, which stands in the basin for collecting rainwater, the impluvium, gave the house its name:

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

The living room with the famous mosaic.

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

The mosaic depicts the battle between Alexander the Great and Darius III:

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

This is the official version of what happened. But, strange as it may seem, there are others. It must be said that the date of the destruction of Pompeii is ambiguous. Perhaps the eruption did not occur in August but in November or even in December. This is recognized even by academic science. But there is a much more exotic theory which says that Pompeii died not in the 1st century AD, but much later, only as a result of the December 1631 eruption of Vesuvius. And this is not a millennium and a half ago. The author of this alternative theory A. Churilov bases his claims precisely on the fact that the aqueduct held Dominico Fontana in 1592, passes under the foundations of buildings and fortress walls of Pompeii. But if the city was filled up in the 1st century AD, how did the engineer manage to lay the aqueduct in such a way? Churilov’s theory is laid out in his book “The Last Day of Pompeii”. And even in 2008 the author spoke at the 4th international conference on historical analysis in Potsdam with a report on the problem of dating of the death of Pompeii.

I am certainly not a historian and not an archaeologist, but Churilov’s theory did not seem so incredible to me. Especially after I visited Pompeii. It is absolutely impossible to believe, looking at the remains of magnificent buildings, that all this was created before 79 AD. Anyway, “The Last Day of Pompeii” is a very interesting book, which gives the opportunity to look at the history of Pompeii from a completely different angle.

After Pompeii our tour moved on to Vesuvius. Unfortunately, we could not look at the crater because of a rather strange story our guide told us. Allegedly the day before a family of French tourists, going to the crater, was caught in a rainstorm, and their 14 year old son was struck by lightning. The boy is in the hospital and authorities are investigating, so they shut off access to the crater. Honestly, the story is kind of weird. The day before it really did rain with a thunderstorm, but what is there to investigate if the child was struck by lightning? So they should have blocked off access to the mountain when there was a thunderstorm. A view of Naples from Vesuvius:

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Not far from the goal of the journey, the crater of Vesuvius:

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

Souvenirs from Vesuvius:

Excursion to the ancient city of Pompeii (Naples, Italy) photo

To make a long story short, they wouldn’t let us go to the crater. We hung out on Vesuvius for a while, and went back, as they say, not empty-handed. By the way, a ticket to the crater of Vesuvius is 8 euros. The amount of course is not much, but still Vesuvius is not a museum, and a natural phenomenon. Somehow it reminded me of Kissa Vorobyaninov and Ostap Bender, collecting money from tourists for the passage to the Gap in Pyatigorsk.

In compensation for the loss of the opportunity to look into the mouth of the volcano we were given 40 minutes free time to wander the historic center of Naples – but that’s another story.

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