Italy - Pompeii, Herculaneum & Classical Campania
Nowhere in the world could give a deeper insight into Roman life than the dramatic seaside towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, where life came to an abrupt halt with the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79.
We spend one whole day in Pompeii, exploring public buildings, private houses and shops, bars and brothels, where the occupants left evidence of their everyday lives, as well as their frantic attempts to escape the disaster.
The whole region was affected, of course, as our visits to other towns, villas and farms will reveal. Opulent seaside villas and modest farmsteads have returned, after 2000 years, to the light of day as the covering blanket of volcanic matter has been disturbed by later building activity, and more and more of the hidden landscape of the first century AD has emerged.
“It was not clear from which mountain the cloud was rising, but it was like an umbrella pine... Ashes were already falling, hotter and thicker, followed by bits of pumice and blackened stones. On Mount Vesuvius broad sheets of fire and leaping flames blazed at several points... They debated whether to stay indoors or take their chance in the open, for the buildings were now shaking with violent shocks, and seemed to be swaying to and fro as if they were torn from their foundations.” Pliny the Younger in a letter to Tacitus
7 nights in a lovely, characterful family-run hotel in the tiny village of Corpo di Cava, with a covered outdoor pool, set in the wooded hills above Cava dei Tirreni. The Hotel has been in existence since 1821, owned and run by the same family for all that time. It is set in beautiful gardens, with fabulous views out over the hills. Just below the hotel is a huge rock-cut monastery and abbey, once the second-largest Benedictine foundation in Italy.
"A lovely family run hotel with fantastic views."
"Delightful hotel in a scenic location."
"Pleasant to stay in one hotel, which was well appointed with good food."
"Particularly appreciated the charm of the hotel with its lovely setting."
"Lovely home style cooking at the hotel."
"Good to have a hotel away from Naples and away from the heat."
Guide Lecturers’ Choices: (if you only want to read one or two books)
Ling, Roger (Tempus 2005) Pompeii – History, Life and Afterlife. Excellent summary of all the latest evidence from Pompeii, presented as a chronological survey of the town.
Beard, Mary The Life of a Roman Town (Profile Books September 2008) – what sort of a town was Pompeii? This book tried to make sense of the remains, with headings like Bad Breath, Intestinal Parasites, Performing Monkeys, One-Way Streets, Water shortages……a new and interesting approach!
Grant, M. (1971) Cities of Vesuvius. Weidenfeld & Nicholson, London. Still the best general introduction to Pompeii and Herculaneum, although rather dated in places.
Berry, Joanne The Complete Pompeii (Thames and Hudson Jan 2008). Readable, well-informed book which brings the reader up to date with thoughts about Pompeii, and results of recent work.
Lawrence Keppie, The Romans on the Bay of Naples. An Archaeological Guide. Stroud, The History Press, 2009. ISBN 978 0 7524 4840 4, £17.99 It is only 191 pages long, is fairly light, and easy to handle. The History Press, The Mill, Brimscombe Port, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 2QG.
Alex Butterworth & Ray Laurence. (2005) Pompeii: The Living City. - written by an academic historian (one of Andante’s Guide Lecturers!) and a dramatist, using real individuals known from texts and inscriptions to build a compelling portrait of the city during its last 25 years.
Connolly, P. (1979) Pompeii. Aimed at children, but superbly researched reconstructions.
Deiss, J.J. (1987) Herculaneum. The only easily available popular study of Herculaneum, but now rather dated.
Etienne, R. (1992) Pompeii: the day a city died. Thames & Hudson. Beautifully produced with remarkable collection of illustrations.
More Detailed Accounts:
Claridge, A. & Ward-Perkins, J. (1976) Pompeii AD 79. Royal Academy Exhibition Catalogue. Very good general introduction, and widely available in second hand bookshops.
Mau, A. (1904) Pompeii, its life and art. Still by far the best synthesis in English.
Jashemski, W. F. & Mayer, F.G. (2002) The Natural History of Pompei. A fascinating, but expensive, study of its subject. Available from the USA through Amazon.com and, more cheaply, from their associates.
Dobbins, J. J. and Foss, P. (eds.) 2007, paperback 2008, The World of Pompeii, London, Routledge. Contains up-to-date studies on many aspects of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the villas in the surrounding area.
An extensive range of publications can be bought at the bookshops in Naples Museum and at the major sites. A particularly good group are published by the Soprintendenza Archaeologica di Pompeii and include such titles as Around the Walls of Pompeii; Herculaneum, The Excavations, local history and surroundings.
Social & Economic History:
Wallace-Hadrill, A.F. (1994) Houses and Society in Pompeii and Herculaneum
Jongman, W. (1988) The Economy and Society of Pompeii AD79
Zanker, P. (2001) Pompeii: Public and Private Life. Harvard University Press.
Art & Architecture:
Ramage, N. & Ramage, A. (2004) Roman Art: Romulus to Constantine (Prentice Hall)
Ling, R. (1991) Roman Painting
Pedley, J.G. (1990) Paestum: Greeks and Romans in Southern Italy
Ancient Sources on Pompeii:
Pauls, M. & Facaros, D. (2003) Cadogan Guide to Bay of Naples & Southern Italy. Very successful guide, highly enjoyable, readable information.
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