Pompeii, Herculaneum & Sorrento

This Easter holidays brought with it another holiday to Italy (and yet neither myself nor my family can speak much Italian!), but this time to the Bay of Naples – both to revise for my upcoming IB exams (argh!) and to do some sight-seeing.

My holidays seem to be developing a theme: ancient history, specifically the Romans. After a day of travelling and recovering we visited Pompeii. It is MASSIVE – so much bigger than I could ever have imagined – and very impressive. We booked our own tour guide for the morning, called Ada, to take us around some of it (because it’s so big to see it all at once). She told us so much that we never would have learnt about otherwise. Plus, her enthusiasm and passion made it even more interesting, which is always important.

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The city square of Pompeii, with Vesuvius dominating the background

A few days later, on a beautifully sunny day, we visited Herculaneum. This is another Roman town that was destroyed by the eruption of Mt Vesuvius, but is smaller than Pompeii. We had decided not to get a tour guide this time, so instead we got some useful booklets free from the ticket office, and, armed with our new knowledge from Ada in Pompeii, we set on our way. Because it is further away from Vesuvius, more of the buildings are preserved – as the volcanic rock did not reach this far so didn’t make the buildings collapse (unlike in Pompeii), and it became covered in mud, rather than ash.

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A Herculaneum house

The nearest big town to the villa we were staying in was Sorrento. It was very busy and touristy but still a lovely place, with some interesting alleys and shops for us to explore – including a great ice cream parlour called Gelateria David. (Although we did find it extremely confusing to get out of Sorrento the first time, taking 1 hour 30 minutes to get back, instead of what should have been only 20 minutes! I blame the sat-nav and technology.)

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Sorrento is known for its lemons (and limoncello)

This was a great holiday, with much needed rest, recovery and vitamin D from the sunshine. (England can be rather lacking in it at times!) My highlight, however, would have to be the nine cats at the villa next to ours – yes we named them all; no I am not sorry.

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Seven of the less camera-shy cats
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