Ok, I’m going to date myself here on this one. Does anyone remember the Siouxsie & The Banshees song Cities in Dust? I remember it as my first history lesson on Pompeii. I can recall the interest that the video on MTV provoked as it was my first glimpse of the Pompeiian body casts. (you know, way way, back in the day when MTV actually had videos.)
Well, this Spring I got to visit Pompeii. No, not the actual site but slice of it at the Arizona Science Center. A nice tidy exhibit of over two hundred artifacts from the Naples National Archaeological Museum. My parental unit (aka Mom) is avid newspaper reader. She came across an article last November letting us Phoenicians know that Pompeii would be coming to our desert town. It’s basically been on the family to do list for months. When asked what she wanted for her most recent birthday, she just said “Pompeii”.
With a gorgeous Spring day, we headed out for our adventure. Since I hate parking in unfamiliar places, I suggested we take the light rail to our destination. It was a forty minute ride into downtown Phoenix from a local park and ride. Our destination was just a block and half from the rail stop so walking didn’t tire us out too much. We planned ahead and since the exhibit was a timed event, we picked a late morning viewing.
It starts with a video component that gives the audience the day in question (August 24th, 79 AD) and then leads you into villa. For me, I will always remember the beautiful black and white marble mosaic. It is always so breathtaking to see such artistry from another place and time. The exhibit it’s self gave you an overview of daily life within Pompeii giving a brief historical view of their culture, the food they ate, the places they visited during a typical day and of course the body casts.
Before going into the gallery that had the body casts there was a dramatization of the impact that the eruption would have been like. At this point of my day, I was already pretty anxious but the noise of the eruption was almost too much for me to handle. Then again, it’s not too much worse than going to action movie with surround sound.
All in all, given my propensity of getting way tired, I actually did far better than I thought I would. It helped that we took the light rail, which meant no traffic/parking stress. We also pre-paid for the event, meaning less time in a line. We even took time to have a rather awesome lunch at The Rose and Crown before heading back home.
I had a wonderful day with my beautiful family. Share your adventures in the comments below.