Pompeii was one of those places that really changed my perspective on human history. It is the astoundingly complete ruins of an ancient city, preserved for two thousand years by being buried in volcanic ash from the eruption of nearby Mt. Vesuvius. When visiting the site, you can walk through blocks and blocks of ancient buildings, literally visiting the homes of Romans from a time before Christ existed.
Pompeii is one of my favorite sites to visit. I was there once ~ten years prior, and I had to show it to my wife when we had the chance to visit. What I learnt from my trips to Pompeii was that we're not really different from people who lived long ago. You can see how people decorate their homes, places where they would eat lunch in the city center, even a brothel is in the city complete with paintings advertising different sexual positions! So much for society's moral decay...
My first visit about a decade ago I used a guided tour with a bus to get to Pompeii, but it is extremely easy to get there using the wonderful Italian rail system (I touch on trains in my article on Florence). First you take a train to Naples, then one to Pompeii Scavi (Scavi is ruins in Italian). The train from Rome was very easy to find, a speed train for ~43 Euro one way (~1 hr) or a much slower train that stopped at every little village on-route for ~13 Euro (~2.5 hrs).
The speed trains are great with monitors telling you how fast you're going (> 200 km/hr).
Circumvesuviana, on the Naples-Serrento line. The train is often extremely busy, since there are so many tourists on it. We got smushed a little bit, but if you push yourself away from the door, you can get some space.
An entrance to the ruins is very close to the train station:
Above the city, Mt. Vesuvius looms, promising another round of destruction that will make Naples a very nice archaeological dig in 4200 AD:
The roads were used for sewage, so they had large stepping rocks to permit both carts through and pedestrians across:
You can walk along the back side of the city and see somewhat of a panoramic:
Throughout the town you can enter various buildings, often decorated with floor tiles:
More importantly, lots of paintings:
A sexy lady:
This room was painted black with trim:
These blue paintings were interesting (we hadn't seen so much blue before):
They've got paintings of battles below:
The ceilings were quite intricate, probably because people would lay down and look up at them:
In the town you can also see the brothel, complete with beds:
They also have paintings describing the various positions:
And so you can walk and walk and walk throughout the town:
large palaestra where they would learn Greek wrestling:
Time to take the train home!
And kitty payment to all the Redditors who have made it this far without the tl;dr.
And a lizard we saw for bonus!