With a good amount of inspiration from Dionysus in the leg pumpers we backtrack to the gates of the mystery cult. We get the reverse slow nod from the same security dude as before and we’re back in.
Through the Villa dei Misteri, tombs of the Necropolis, and Herculaneum Gate, we make a hard left with our bearings set for Pompeii’s Regio 5. Apparently there has been some recent excavations where they’ve found new frescos and a super fresh skeleton. We’re on the case…
In mission mode now, we’re fast tracking through house and temple ruins straight towards Region 5.
…except when we get all the way over there Regio Five is totally blocked off.
MacKay raises his fists in mock-hulk mode, “Getting aggregio in the regio!” “Haha well… that’s that, I guess. back to the main drag then?”
On our way back both of our little audio guide things kick the biscuit and become useless. MacKay is waving his new paperweight around, “There’s got to be something better than this outdated bullshit, eh?” “Well ya. I guess we could come up with a whole augmented reality app that you download at the front entrance.” “See, that would be sick.” “It’s all georeferenced so you could just point your phone at something and text would come up describing what you’re looking at.” “Exactly, or it reads it in a sweet accent and you have earbuds in. Like a personal tour guide.” “Yep. A map with indoor routing directions to top sites. Have a swipe feature that shows you what it may have looked like back in the day.”
There’s a pause as the brainstorm settles. “This is actually a killer idea, dude.” “It is. I mean… we could probably take a year off and come up with it, honestly.” “Archeology, but spelled with an AR for augmented reality, so it’s ARcheology.” “Fuck ya, there you go. Also, it’s just app maintenance at that point, no fucking around with these devices and swapping batteries and shit. People just use their own phones.” “This must already exist though, right?” “Ya probably. But I’m sure we could make a better one.”
We get back to Via dell’Abbondanza and keep trucking East away from the Stabia Gate where we’d originally entered. Looks like we’re in some sort of central market area now. All of the building foundations have oven-style counters where you can imagine street food vendors slinging grub from. There are also storage containers in the back of them.
“So cool, I wonder what the best dish from Pompeii was.”
“Haha whaa? Look at this one.” “Lol. What do you think they served at this place?” “Cock. First guess. I mean.. Ancient sex shop for sure, right?”
“But what could it really be?” “Pfft, I dunno. That’s pretty much a penis in any language, man.” “Temple of the Dick?” “Is there a God of Cock?” “Ha! Probably is.”
(NSFW Editor’s note: I don’t know who needs to hear this, but do not google ‘God of Cock’. To save you a quick trip to HR, there actually is a God of Cock, in a way, and his name is Priapus. He was the son of that beauty Aphrodite but the fathers origins are unknown. Which is probably why Zeus’ jealous wife Hera cursed him to be ugly and impotent. This didn’t Pan out well, literally, with them horny satyrs and nymphomaniacal nymphs. Suddenly one day he was struck with an enormous and permanent erection (yes, it lasted longer than four hours and, yes, his name is where the medical term Priapism comes from). Unfortunately, it was so huge that he was rooted to the ground. Pan took him to the edge of the woods and left him as a guardian of sorts. Brandishing his weapon to unwanted passers-by and such. When passing a statue of Priapus it is customary to stroke the ‘sword’ for good luck.)
We keep moving away from Pompeii’s Priapus Penis Emporium and things actually class up quite a bit. The food counters are now fancied up with colorful tiles and marble. “Fine dining?” “Maybe so.”
Praedia of Julia Felix
We come to another large complex, possibly bigger than the House of the Faun we’d seen earlier. A plaque outside describes it as the Praedia of Julia Felix. Named such because they’d found an inscription signed by that name describing that she had rooms for rent following the terrible earthquake of 62 CE.
We take a spin around.
This outdoor garden area is sweet.
It leads back to an interesting room made mostly of marble. A nearby plaque describes that it was a dining room where guests could recline on the marble as cool water cascaded down from above. I kinda like this idea. Might have to do some renovations when I get home.
Reverse look through the garden.
There’s a nice orchard here behind Julia’s pad too.
After Julia Felix’s place we’re at the end of Via dell’Abbondanza. But we’re not done with Pompeii just yet because at the end of the road there is this incredibly badass structure
The Amphitheatre of Pompeii
This is the oldest surviving Roman amphitheatre. It is built entirely of stone and predates the Colosseum in Rome by a century, built around 70 BCE. Let’s get in there
We exit the ramp right onto the grounds of the arena. Ok, this is super awesome. Way better preserved than the one we’d just been to in Durres.
“This must be the amphitheatre from that Pink Floyd vid, eh?” “Ya, for sure. That was fucking great.” “Oh yeah. Excellent. Should rewatch that for sure, it’s been a while.” “On drugs?” “All the drugs.”
I guess David Gilmour came back to play in 2016 and that would have been the first live performance here since 79 CE, which is crazy to think about. King Crimson also played here in 2018. Prog rock is just what you do in ancient amphitheatres these days. Suiting.
We walk the circumference and take it all in. What bonkers shit must have gone down in here?
Very, very cool. We come back topside and walk along the walls of it. “These trees are cool. What are these?” “Dunno. Umbrella trees?”
Around the corner on the walk out of the site there is a building called the Large Palaestra which looks like it has a small exhibit with some artifacts and things they’ve uncovered from Pompeii and the surrounding area. We dip in to check it out.
It’s actually frescoes and artifacts found in the Complex of the Moregine Triclinia, a port building along the river not far from here.
“Looks like they were even playing Three Man way back then.” “Wonder what the house rules were in 79 AD?”
Cool, cool. We keep strutting towards the Nocera Gate entrance/exit. Nice scenery here outside the Large Palaestra.
By the Nocera Gate there is a building where they are working on a new exhibit for the uncovered bodies of Pompeii.
It’s closed off for now but we get some pics through the windows. Surreal. Buried in ash, what a way to go.
“Well that was a day and then some.” “Just incredible. And crazy.” “Back to Naples then?” “Ya let’s do it. Hopefully get into Florence at a decent time tonight.” “Well, none of this looks familiar.” “We came in the other gate. Ya.. where the hell are we?”