Italy #7: Paestum & Pompeii

Lottie ’25, shares an enjoyable visit to Paestum and Pompeii.

A chocolate croissant, hot chocolate, and some fresh cherries started my day in the beautiful seaside town of Paestum. After we lugged our bags down a flight of stairs and our wonderful bus driver, Vincenzo, loaded our bags onto the bus, we were on our way to the ancient city of Paestum.

The exceedingly well preserved temples at Paestum stand tall with no reconstructions needed, and we were lucky enough to see archeologists actively working on site as we walked through the beautiful structures. We noticed certain details that have become increasingly familiar to us throughout the trip; the doric columns, the temples’ layers of walls, and triglyphs on the façade.

Our tour guide, Lucia, took great pride in how well preserved the site is, especially when compared to our prior destinations of Agrigento and Selinunte. After a wonderful walk underneath the bright sun, we saw a famous tomb painting of a diving man. The vibrant colors are stark and detailed. We then split our separate ways into small groups to eat lunch, and I had some delicious spaghetti pomodoro and gelato (fragola e ciocolatto, a wonderful combination). We gathered again to renovate our bus and started the one and a half hour drive to Pompeii, a site everyone had been anticipating. As we arrived near Pompeii, I noticed Mount Vesuvius in the background with its coned top. Some highlights of Pompeii were the huge amphitheater (with many latin inscriptions to read) and the Roman forum, which was surrounded by houses and shops. It was eye-opening to see the plaster casts of human bodies in their last moments and to fully grasp the tragedy of the site.

After having time to explore Pompeii (and somehow get 16k steps), we headed back to our bus. It was only a short drive to Sorrento before we had to give our amazing bus driver, Vincenzo, a final Ciao and Arrivederci, as we will be boarding a different bus with a different driver tomorrow. He helped us travel from Sicily to the mainland and got us through over six hour drives with no complaints, just a smile on his face. He always gave me great food recommendations and I learned some Italian phrases from him. We all wish him well! We had a treacherous trek up the steep hill to our next hotel, but a beautiful lodging greeted us at the top. After a long day of exploring and enjoying, we were rewarded with an amazing, albeit late, dinner of pizza, arancini, and soft drinks (thanks Claire for the food!). I am very exhausted after this day well spent, and a comfy bed awaits me, so Arrivederci to you all!