When in Rome: Pompeii and Sicily Edition

If you read my last article, you know my family was here for the week! We started our trip in Venice, which was incredible. This week, we hit Pompeii and Vesuvius, which are insanely awesome, and ended our trip in Sicily, which is beautiful.

On Wednesday, we started our morning pretty early and got on a bus to head to Mount Vesuvius. Thankfully, it’s a couple of hours, so we got some time to nap. The bus we were on took us about halfway up the mountain before the road runs out. Climbing up to the top doesn’t take nearly as long as I expected (maybe like a half hour), and from the top you can see everything. The view of the coast is absolutely breathtaking, and seeing inside the volcano’s crater is so cool. We learned that Vesuvius used to be one mountain, but when it erupted in 79 (when it buried Pompeii) the force was so great that it actually split into two mountains. I wore a BC Marching Band shirt on the climb, and bumped into a BC grad, which was really cool!

From Vesuvius, we went to Naples for lunch. Naples is known for its pizza, and it definitely lived up to the hype. We then traveled to the ancient city of Pompeii. The city itself is so huge that there’s absolutely no way you could see it all in one day, so our tour guide hit just the really cool stuff. We saw the city center, the very first fast food restaurant in history, an ancient brothel, some houses, and the big temple. It was amazing how far away Vesuvius actually is, but how much damage it still managed to do.

This weekend, we went to Palermo, Sicily. The flight from Rome to Sicily is really short, which is great. There are only a few really big sites in Palermo, so most of our weekend was pretty chill, which was a nice way to end our trip. We started with a visit to the botanical gardens, which were really pretty. We wandered in and out of a few churches (true to Italian form, there are churches everywhere) and had lunch on the water. The people of Palermo don’t speak nearly as much English as they do in Rome, but we managed to get by with my little Italian. Everyone is super friendly there.

Our second day was spent at all of Palermo’s major attractions. First, we went to the Cathedral. You can climb on to the roof and see the entire city, which is so cool. There’s also a crypt with a whole bunch of ancient coffins and stuff, which was really interesting. Then we went to the Royal Palace, which is still used for the Sicilian Parliament. It was really fun to see all the meeting rooms and stuff, and there was a really cool art exhibit going on as well. We finished off our day with a tour of the Palermo Opera House, which is actually the largest theater in Europe.

We came so close to missing our flight home on Sunday because the taxi driver that we had booked forgot about us. We managed to get a new taxi and get to the airport in about 20 minutes because our driver sped the whole way down the highway. We sprinted through the airport and, thankfully, encountered some really nice people at the gate who let us board. We were the last five people on the plane, and it was slightly awkward, but we made it on the flight and that’s really all that matters. I said goodbye to my family in the airport and they got on their flight to Boston and headed home.

Sicily was my final trip of the semester. After this, it’s just finals week and a soccer game, and then I’ll be home! This semester has been absolutely incredible, and I’ve had such an amazing and worthwhile experience.