Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pompeii: Protecting the Past

The ancient city of Pompeii has fallen into such disrepair that the Italian government has declared a "state of emergency" in a bid to save the ruins. I'm glad. I was there several years ago with friends and I found it to be a very moving experience.

If you go, take some dry food with you for the temple dogs and cats. Also take a bottle of water for yourself; these days it's a hot and dusty place. The lemonade stands just outside the entrance offers some of the best lemonade you'll ever try, and it's made from lemons grown in the area. It is great fun to sit under a shade tree for a while, sip some tart lemonade and people watch.

Do visit the restored gardens when you go. It will give you a better feeling for the vibrant living that went on in this ancient and sophisticated city. Leave yourself time to visit the many museums in Naples, especially the Naples National Archaelogical Museum where most of the art recovered from the city is now kept.

As for famous "erotic frescos"...well, I find them to be less in the nature of erotic art and more in the nature of advertising. Most of these are found in the brothels and the majority of the young women (and boys) depicted on the walls were slaves. For me, there is nothing erotic in their plight.

The Khajura temple carvings in India, now, those I like. One gets the impression that these folks are having a wonderful (and impressively limber) time of it.


Additional Links:

Pompeii Art & Architecture

Pompeii: Nature, Science & Technology

Pompeii Gets Digital Makeover

Pompeii's Erotic Past

Rare Pompeii Dinner Set

Image: Pompeii couple

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