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50NADFAS REVIEW / AUTUMN 2010www.nadfas.org.ukTRAVEL/TOURSAt the time of the terrible eruptionof Vesuvius, Naples (or Neapolis)was an essentially Greek citywithin the Roman empire. Its peoplemaintained their Greek language andcustoms and worshipped at theTemple of the Dioskouroi (Helen'sbrothers, Castor and Pollux). WhenPompeii was buried in ash andHerculaneum in mud in 79AD, theport of Naples escaped relativelyunscathed and soon grew to beadministrative centre of the bay thattook its name.Today, Naples is a city of full ofmedieval, Renaissance and Baroqueglories. Relics from its Greek andRoman origins are in the MuseoArcheologico Nazionale. Though themuseum is a great attraction, and so isCastel Nuovo near the harbour and theDuomo too, I could not give Naples theattention it deserved until I hadexplored those two Roman ghost cities.Saving the big one till last, I headed outto Herculaneum on a bright Neapolitanmorning. Very little of this Roman holidayresort has been excavated and it'ssurprising to realise that the seashore isnow almost a kilometre away, thanks inpart to the mud and volcanic debris thatdrowned the town in 79AD. The secondsurprise is how far down RomanHerculaneum is. I found myself gazing intoa pit 25 metres below the surface. The oldshoreline with its boathouses in whichpeople waited for rescue 1,931 years agolooks out to an excavated cliff face.Walking down the modern ramp Icame to four complete city blocks andthe beginning of more blocks that lieunexcavated, to the north, east andwest. While a much smaller site thanPompeii,the great pleasure ofHerculaneum is the way that many of itsbuildings have been preserved at theirfull height. The town was hit bypyroclastic surges of heat that killed allthose who had not left the town(including refugees waiting on the shore)and carbonised many objects so thatthey did not decay when later

www.nadfas.org.ukNADFAS REVIEW / AUTUMN 2010 51A BYZANTINE MOSAIC16 days, 21 October 2010 Price from £ 1550pp* (2 Bed Inside) *Guarantee fareItinerary:Piraeus; Dubrovnik; Split;Venice (overnight); Ravenna; Naples;Civitavecchia (overnight); VallettaFare includes:talks by Guest Speakers; tailor-made, inclusive shore excursion programme in every port worth up to £500 p.p; all gratuities to staff on board and ashore; entrance fees to places of interest in shore excursion programme; Cruise Book; a team of experienced Swan Hellenic staff on board Minerva; all meals; Welcome and Farewell Cocktail Parties and Gala Dinners. To book or request a brochure call 0844822 0677, quoting 'NADFAS-5'. TourNADFAS members receive 5% savingon published fares of any cruise in theSwan Hellenic programme.Above:The bayof Naples,overshadowedby MountVesuviusLeft: TheNecropolis areaof PompeiiBuried treasuresOne of the best ways to understand the Roman way of life is to visit Pompeii and Herculaneum - they areso well preserved, it is like walking onto a film set. Adrian Mourbyrelates his experience of these siteshouse gets its name) and the AlexanderMosaic have been copied and thereplicas put on display to give an idea ofthe sophistication of Pompeiian life.I particularly enjoyed the House of theVetti. This merchants' home is builtround two courtyards. The first is a dimatrium near the street off which theservants' quarters lie, and is graced by alifesize image of Priapus weighing his'manhood' in the foyer against a bag ofcoins. This was a symbol of wealthrather than sexual license. The house,which has been partially restored, isdecorated throughout with frescoedpanels. Pompeii also has a theatre,forum, amphitheatre, baths andTemple of Vespasian; all the featuresyou'd expect of a Roman colonia, but itis in these houses, in the graffitiadorning their outside walls and thedecoration within, that you get to feelyou are touching first-century Rome. . You can visit these sites as part ofSwan Hellenic's A Byzantine Mosaiccruise. See details oppositeTRAVEL/TOURSoverwhelmed by mud. In effect,Herculaneum filled up like a mould. The'Samnite' House, the 'Mosaic Atrium'House and the 'Wooden Partition' Housewere preserved at their full height andreminded me of sets from the HBO TVseries Rome, albeit mostly unfurnished.Some of the houses have retained alot of their frescoes and mosaics,including the 'Bicentenary' house andthe House of Neptune and Amphitrite.The world's most famous ruins standon a low hill to the west of the moderntown of Pompeii. Although one-third ofthe ancient city still lies unexcavated, thevisible remains do not disappoint. TheBakery of Modesto, where carbonisedloaves of bread were found, and theHouse of Vesonius Primus, a fuller, wherethe cast of a poor chained up dog wasdiscovered, attest to daily life in Pompeii.Some of the larger villas, like the palatialHouse of the Faun, give a good accountof how affluently life was lived up untilthose two dreadful days in 79AD. Thestatue of a Dancing Faun (from which the