a road to pompeii

{cave canem}

Pompeii is so overwhelming it doesn't really matter how many times you visit, I think. The ancient site is vast and although there is more than a days worth to absorb, better to be taken slowly to allow its wonder to sink in.

Much of Pompeii's ruins may be passed by with little more than a second glance but there are larger and more complete homes where wealthier inhabitants would have lived. These still show startling mosaics, frescoes in beautiful sienna, ochre and brick hues, artefacts surprisingly well preserved after 2,000 years, and therefore it is easy to imagine Roman life a couple of centuries ago.

What struck me the most were the rut marks from the Roman carts on those fine cobbled streets. Then the famous 'beware of the dog' mosaic in the entrance to the home of the Tragic Poet. Rows and rows of clay urns and statues in varying sizes. But mostly the heart breaking plaster casts of victims who were caught unawares, suffocated by the volcanic gasses with expressions showing their final moments.

The walk up Mount Vesuvius is an easy, half hour stroll if made from the car park below. Hardier hikers would trek from its base but with two children and a searing heat I confess that's not my idea of fun. Besides, the prize is its crater, and despite it seeming rather uninspiring, aside from the occasional sulphurous odour, the views along the way are pretty amazing. From the summit you can see right across the bay of Naples and the sprawling city itself.

Conscious of my last two holiday posts featuring Italy's famed gelati, it seems only fitting to include it here too. Bougainvillea offered the best in Sorrento (and boy did we try) and they organised lessons too. So, donned in aprons and hats, the Model and I went down into the basement where the famous ices are made and learned how to concoct our own Sorrento delights.

{walnut gelato}

{lemon sorbetto}

And now, as I look out of the window, Summer appears to be giving way to a new season. But we are thankful for the small amount of lemon sorbetto in the freezer to remind us of Italy.

Happy weekend.


  1. Beautiful post. You have captured Pompeii's heavy heart in your words and photos.

  2. I have never been to Pompeii, clearly something I should remedy. And I'm sure I could be persuaded to eat gelato along the way! Fabulous photographs Kate, I'm really enjoying holidaying vicariously through my bloggy friends.

  3. It's amazing how all these years later there is such an air of tragedy and decadence in Pompeii, it saddens me every time I am reminded of it. Your sorbet making looks like heaps of fun!

  4. Fabulous post - looks like a fascinating and wonderful holiday? Lovely photos and I'd have loved the ice cream place and wanted to try out all the flavours. We haven't been away this year so it was great to have a holiday with you in this way!

  5. I was doing so well, loving your photos, thinking of Italy - and then... I am reduced to a drooling mess, sorry...mmmmm! Dreaming of gelato, sorbet, having to try all the flavours - not sure, have to try that one again...

    1. The gelateria we had our lesson in produce 80 flavours each day. That's a long holiday!

  6. I would so love to visit Pompeii! During our vacation this year (to the American southwest) I read a fascinating fictional account of the last few days before the eruption (Pompeii by Robert Harris). How thrilling and sobering to visit it in person.

  7. What an amazing place and so sad too! Definitely a fantastic holiday Kate all that and ice cream too, lucky you.
    Have a lovely weekend,
    Vivienne x

  8. I love the combination of food and culture. What good holidays you've had this summer. Making your own gelati is a great idea and something my girls would love! T x

  9. Italy is just the best! I remember it being quite emotional seeing those plaster casts at pompeii. The trek up Versuvius looks amazing, I think that is excuse enough for another visit to lovely Italy! -Annie

  10. I would love to go to Pompeii - your photos look great. And that Ice Cream!!!!!!!!!!!!! xx

  11. It's good to have holiday memories to fortify you in the cold months to come. Just keep looking at those blue skies all winter!

    Pomona x

  12. How incredible is Italy Kate, i'm desperate to get there indeed. Infact my hubby and I were fantasising about one day buy a camper van and travelling through Europe, with Italy high on our list....one day when Alice has flown the nest perhaps :o) As for the gelato and sorbet, nothing an compare! We have a grea little @stuck in the 1950's type diner' in Bexhill-on-Sea called Di Palo's which has passed hands through at least 3 generations of an italian family and they sell the most divine home made gelato. Hmm I think thats just inspired me to get down there this bank holiday Monday xox Penelope

  13. We were not so far from you, across the sea in Sicily. The ice cream - soooooo incredible! You have totally whetted my appetite for visiting Pompeii, looks so fascinating.

    ps nice talking clothes/shoe crushes with you on twitter! Bx

  14. Tutti i gelati are on my way this September :o) Italy-Italy-Italy!!! Right now packing my bags :o) Love your pictures!
    Hugs and kisses

  15. I remember reading about Pompeii when I was a child--- those images never have left me. So tragic.

    The ice cream looks delightful. Give me a spoon, that serving looks about right for me lol
    big hugs,

  16. I have no doubt that it would take quite awhile to see all of the wonders of Pompeii, such a delightful trip for you. - We are feeling a bit of seasonal change here too and a welcome one in my opinion. xo

  17. Wow! How amazing. I would love to visit Pompeii.


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