The one thing we did this time that I didn't do on my first trip was take a train down to the city of Pompeii. Pompeii is about 2 1/2 hours from Rome by train, so I was tempted to just skip it. But, my 6 year-old actually studied Pompeii this year. When he found out that we were thinking about visiting Pompeii, he said, "Mom, all I want is something from Pompeii." Oh brother! I could have picked up something from Rome and faked it...told him it was from Pompeii...but I just couldn't do it. So, off we went. 5 hours round trip! It was the town that was buried about 2000 years ago from a volcanic eruption. The volcano, Mt. Vesuvius, is really there!! And the town, well, it's really there too. It was completely different than I imagined it. The town of Pompeii is about the size of Siloam Springs, not some little, tiny village that you can just look at and see the whole thing. It was really quite big. We were there for about 5 hours and still didn't see it all. I took a few pictures, but eventually, they all begin to look the same.
This is at temple in the Pompeii Forum, where they did all the government stuff. Sort of their version of Washington DC. Their worship of gods was intricately interwoven in their government. Imagine that!
Below is a picture of their small amphitheater. There are 2 more, and one of them is about the size of a football stadium. They had their own version of gladiator events.
This picture is to prove that we were actually there :-) I'm holding the Rick Steves guidebook, like a true tourist.
The museum had the plaster casts of the people that they found buried. When the volcano erupted, it spewed so much soot and debris that most people were killed when their roofs caved in on them. If they weren't killed by that, they suffocated. When they excavated the city, they would send small sensors down into the ground. When they would find a pocket of space, they would send plaster down into the tiny hole to fill the space. They would often find that the space was in the shape of a person, which meant that the person had been covered, and then had decomposed, but the shape of his body had been left behind.