Monday, February 1, 2010

Pompeii revisited

Today ansa reports that visitors to the archeological site in Pompeii will soon be able to follow the excavation and restoration of the House of the Chaste Lovers. Work at the house will be resumed this month after ten years of neglect, and parts of the building will be open to the public, so that they can see the archeologists in action. All it takes is a trip to Napoli and the suburban town that was buried under lava during the eruption of the Vesuv volcano in 79 AD.

The reference to hidden frescos and archeological field work inspired me to revisit Pompeii on Google Street View, where the famous peek into the ancient Roman world is one of a very few European sights that can be toured virtually.

Google’s 360-degree panoramic service enables you to ‘walk’ around among other tourists with rucksacks, caps, cameras and shorts, and it is interesting to study the old paving stones, but don’t expect to get inside the villas or feel the horror in the garden of fugitives. I ‘strolled’ up and down the main streets and around the amphitheater several times, while enjoying a truly magnificent view of Monte Vesuvio, but it hardly qualifies as a cultural experience. Or perhaps I’m just out of practice when it comes to virtual travelling?

For a real sense of Pompeii you still have to board plane, train or car and move yourself to Campania, and then you can also witness the progress made in the restoration of the House of Chaste Lovers.

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