Our final day in Italy was spent off exploring the region of Campania - the home of the original Pizza Margherita, Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii. For this trip we opted for the tour so we would be sure to get the stories and color beyond what an audio guide can offer. City Wonders did not disappoint. Two guides - one geologist, one historian - and we were off with many stories, legends and anecdotes about the regions of Lazio (Rome) and Campania (Napoli).
Our first stop was Mt Vesuvius. She is quite the beast, Vessy. The road up was nothing but switchbacks and one lane roads. Props to the bus driver for getting us to the hiking point (and back down, for that matter). We hopped out and were given ample time to find our way to the top and enjoy the views from the crater. It's believed that Visuvius as she is today, is only half the height she was originally, before the massive explosion of 79 AD.
Back on the bus, we set off down the hill toward Pompeii. For lunch, we experienced the original Pizza that was developed to represent the colors of the Italian flag and made for Queen Margherita who was curious about pizza after seeing the peasants eat it while she visited Napoli. There is a great debate about which pizza is better - Rome (thin crust) or Naples (thick crust) - personally, I thought Naples was pretty amazing.
From lunch, we set off for a tour of Pompeii with a local guide who lives and breathes Pompeii. The ruins were vast and incredible. We are able to see so much of what life was like simply because of a catastrophe like the volcano. It was hard to understand it that way, but it's quite true. They keep roughly 30% of the ruins covered and untouched to continue to preserve until such time that they can find better ways to maintain this kind of history.
It was fun to walk on the original roads and see the bits and pieces of frescoes and life that once was the merchant city of Pompeii. It seems to have been quite a colorful place! Our guide was cheeky and gave us a great highlight tour of the city. So thankful we got to see it.