While one is a place of fun and laughter the other is a solemn reminder of just how cruel mother nature can be when she unleashes her fury. While we can never really full visualise the sheer terror of those who lost their loves convinced the Gods had turned against them and condemned them, modern technology does give us an idea of what it may have looked like as Vesuvius blow her top.
The same process which preserved the remains of the inhabitants also preserved many of the buildings and gives us a unique insight into day to day living. Roads remain in place openings into courtyards and buildings, murals and wall decorations remain in place so both the professional and tourist historian can get a sense of what it was like to walk those streets in the exact same way as they would have prior to eruption day.
There are of course other places in Italy that have history preserved but it is the very destruction of this city which makes it such a special place for those who lost their lives here were never laid to rest, even had they not been buried beneath the ash for hundreds of years there would have been no one left to bury them.
It could be viewed as a little macabre that the bodies lay on display but if course it is not flesh and blood we see before us, it is stone and that somehow makes it more acceptable, I recently watched a programme where the looked at why the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum fared so differently, only skeletons remained in the latter, and if was all to do with how the eruption differed in the directions and I am not scientifically gifted enough to explain it here. Sadly the programme made by the BBC is not on You-tube I did go look to try to share a link. One thing the programme did do though was create a very different ‘face’ to the devastation.
The Bella Donna was recreated if I remember correctly from one of the skulls found at Herculaneum, it is a reminder that though we long to visit these places we must be respectful of the fact these were real people not just characters in a dreadful tale. Many tourists visit every year and a small proportion do not treat the place with the respect it deserves, but also the very fact it has been opened to the elements by the very act of uncovering it also is leading to erosion, I read at one point of plans to build a glass dome over the whole site, et that was not deemed practical.
The one thing that is can never be protected from is the brooding giant who looms on the horizon, for now mother nature sleeps but should she lose her temper again it is possible Vesuvius could once more reclaim Pompeii as her own.