A Homebase Abroad family staying at the Villa San Giacomo in Positano recently requested a private tour of Pompeii. Unfortunately, the weather this summer has been particularly wild in Italy with strong thunder, brilliant lighting and torrents of rain. This generally makes tourists head to the local café for drinks. But not our intrepid guests who looked at the unusual weather as a special opportunity.
With their private guide, Antonella, the group set out to explore Pompeii. Shortly after their arrival, the heavy rains began to fall. Antonella’s experience helped them find suitable cover to keep them safe and somewhat dry. Rather than turning back, the group experienced Pompeii in a particularly engaging fashion: they had a real life demonstration of the purpose of the stepping stones. These large stones were placed in the street higher than the cobblestoned lanes to keep the denizens from walking through the rivers that form in the streets during a deluge but were spaced far enough apart to allow chariots to still pass through.
Most tourists use their imagination to imagine how the design works. However, on that day our guests were treated to a real life demonstration that transported them back nearly a millennium to walk as the Pompeians. As the host said in a recent email: “I suspect you could visit Pompeii a thousand times and not experience the torrential rain like we did!”
Not only did they have a memorable visit to one of Italy’s most popular tourist destinations but the rain evoked a mythical quality to the ancient ruins and sent the scores of tourists headed for the modern town center leaving them to explore a moment frozen in time.
Isn’t that what travel is all about?