Blogging live from Italy!
Hey, maybe I have the humor of an 8th grade boy. Or maybe I'm bored of soaking in so much knowledge on historical tours here in Rome. Not to rub it in, but I've actually already been to the Sistine Chapel and done the museum bit in Rome, so this second time around is a little, well, let's just say it needs some spice. So I've documented the dirty images hidden in all the gilded pomp at the Vatican!
Michaelangelo shocked the people of his day by recreating the life of Jesus and the saints on the pope's private chapel surfaces in full nude! This caused so much shock that his apprentice had to come along and paint towels over the naughty bits after he was too old to protest. Thankfully for me and my yawns, some of those naughty bits still shine through. Looks like ole Michealangelo and I have some things in common. Let's take a peek, shall we?
[Update: you'll have to skip to the gallery at the bottom of this post to see pics, but then you'll miss all my rad commentary on Pompeii. So before we get to that . . .]
KaBoom! Blowing The Lid Off Pompeii
One site I missed when I was a tube-topped, backpacking college sophomore living on my credit card in Europe was Pompeii, the site of a volcanic explosion that entombed its residents for more than 2,000 years. Here's the myth we all grew up with*. One sunny day, a town called Pompeii was alive and going about its morning when all of a sudden a volcanic mountain behind it exploded in an instant. The ash and lava stopped the residents in their tracks, killed them out of nowhere and preserved them in their very moments of death. Flash forward to semi-modern time and some archeologist fellows dusted off their city and dug them up. Now you can walk the ruins of Pompeii and see the streets and homes littered with bodies posed just as they were that fateful morning. Scared of that hill in your back yard, right?
First, the people there had plenty of warning in the form of smoke and falling ash before the big explosion, so most of them fled or died at the beach waving for help from ships. That left only the invalid or stubborn in their homes to die after hours and hours of light ash turning into heavy ash, and finally the fatal lava. So the city today, while you may see some great half-built brick walls and even a salacious bordello (pictures later, perv) you will only see a handful of bodies frozen in time. Two, about the bodies. They are not the actual bodies of those who died in the ash nor were they left where they were discovered. They are plaster molds that filled the space left vacant by their decomposed flesh inside their lava tombs (a technicality) and they are encased in glass. Mostly the plaster molds were relocated to a nearby museum, but you can still see about three of them in the ruins.
The ruins are expansive. I'd say they are about the size of the entire Chicago Loop, so wear flats and choose sunscreen over looking cute in your Facebook photos (see: all my errors). Finally, for anyone googling day trips to Pompeii from Rome, there is a train that leaves for Naples every hour from Tremini station. Cough up the cash and take the high speed Travaitalia train, then buy a cheap ticket at the transfer at Naples and make your way to Pompeii. The return is just as easy, as trains run to Naples every half hour from Pompeii. I feel the need to put this out there because the interwebs are amuck with false information, like that there's only one train leaving at 9:00 from Rome and other such shite. You're welcome, geeks!
*If you were a nerd child interested in archaeology like me