I took a day off work to go visit Oplontis and Villa Regina last Thursday. These are the two smaller ruin sites, after Pompeii and Herculaneum, that were destroyed in the volcanic eruption of 79 AD.
I visited Oplontis first. It was one large villa (some incredibly rich person’s show-off summer place by the sea) that is largely excavated, except for part that is still buried under the neighboring road and a gun factory. The villa is known for its many peacocks that are painted all over the place as well as mythological themes up the wazoo. The walls still have a majority of wall paintings and the floor tiling. Archaeologists have put a ton of walls and columns back in place as well. And the villa has a gigantic swimming pool.
Then I went to Villa Regina, which is quite tiny compared to Oplontis and especially Pompeii. Outside of a large room full of partially buried, gigantic wine amphorae, there is not much to those ruins. The best part of Villa Regina was the museum on the property. It is not too big, but it houses some very important artifacts found at the site as well as some from Pompeii. You can see a full loaf of bread, various grains and nuts, fishing nets, shells, pots, a plaster cast of a dog, a cast of the woman who was living at the villa with her scarf over her face (as she was suffocating to death from the volcano’s deadly fumes), glass tear jars and perfume jars, paintings, etc.
These villas are nothing compared to the grand, albeit empty Pompeii, and the small, dense, tiled, and fascinating Herculaneum. My order for my favorite ruins is happens to be directly proportional to their sizes-Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis, and lastly, Villa Regina.
So the Johnsons were here for a week and a half. We wandered around downtown near the port and went to my art show in Castel Dell’Ovo. We went to Castel Del’Nuovo, Herculaneum aka Ercolano, and we climbed Mt. Vesuvius. We went underground Naples one night and walked through some Roman ruins underneath some housing that was illegally built on top, yet the city cannot remove the people and finish excavating.
The last weekend they were here we went up to Rome and saw the bone church (Santa Maria dell Concezione, used thousands of skeletons/various human bones to decorate 4 rooms…look it up online, they did not allow photos), Vatican City, Piazza dell Popolo (a main piazza in Angels and Demons), and Justin and I went into Doria Pamphilij Museum while the Johnson’s went to the Colosseum.
Most of the trips went smoothly, minus getting rained out for Capri the first weekend…which the Johnsons made up during the week while Justin and I were at work. My favorite thing was probably climbing Mt. Vesuvius…though seeing Deb’s reaction when entering the bone church was pretty priceless. Enjoy the proof of our past couple weeks:
So New Years this year was a little different than last. Justin and I went up to the airport and watched the fireworks on the top of a parking garage with a view of Mt. Vesuvius in the background…of course it is too dark to see Mt. Vesuvius in the video, so you’ll just have to believe me. Again, fireworks were everywhere and incredibly loud. We had a bit of distance this year between us and the closest fireworks, so it was more of a view of thousands of fireworks versus being in the middle of it. Not as good as last year, but Naples is still the place to be on New Years. The video is not very good quality, but hopefully you can see all the little lights everywhere are different explosions of fireworks way off in the distance.