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.
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.