Good morning. It's Thursday 4th February 2021 and I've just been scanning the various Italian newspapers for the latest tittle-tattle. The main focus is still around the new incoming prime minister: Mario Draghi and how he's going to save the country from all its current woes, which is all very lovely.
The number of new Covid 19 cases yesterday rose by an increased amount compared to the day before: a figure of 13,189 new cases compared to 9,660 on Tuesday. The overall figure of people currently infected continues to fall however, down by 3,043 for a total figure of 434,722. The encouraging news is that we do seem to be on track for movement between regions from Monday 15th February, at which point, it will also be possible to go skiing, albeit with certain social-distancing restrictions in place.
Away from the pandemic, I did find one little piece of news that's semi-related to tourism. It concerns the Pompeii archaeological site, just outside Naples in the region of Campania. An artefact belonging to the site was recently returned to its rightful place by a light-fingered visitor who'd taken it into personal custody some 50 years before. The two thousand year old piece of sculpture was left on the site with a hand-written note, apologising for the theft. Apparently this was by no means an isolated incident and happens quite regularly.
Pompeii is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the most important archaeological sites in Italy. Its story is one of the most compelling: on 24th October 79 AD (this date has recently been disputed but we'll try not to worry about it too much), nearby Mount Vesuvius erupted, spewing enormous amounts of molten rock and pumice into the atmosphere. The prosperous city of Pompeii bore the brunt of the eruption, with its unsuspecting population taken by surprise and trapped as they tried in vain to flee. One of the most haunting images of a visit to Pompeii is the series of plaster-casts that essentially show Pompeiians in their final positions as disaster struck.
The Pompeii site can be reached by train either from Naples or from Sorrento, both of which lie at opposite ends of the Circumvesuviana (translates roughly as "around Vesuvius) train line. Along this very same line you can find the two other sites that make up the full UNESCO listing: Herculaneum and Villa Oplontis. The Campania region is one of the best for archaeology: close to Naples you'll find further sites such as Stabiae, Baia and Cumae, while further south, close to the Cilento Coast in the Salerno Province you'll find another UNESCO site: the magnificent Greek temples of Paestum.
I've added a section of Campania's Archaeological Sites for today's photos and I'll be back with another update tomorrow.
My name is Dion Protani, founder of Italy Review. The Italy Review blog is designed to provide ideas and inspiration to visit places in Italy you might not have heard about, as well those you have.