This morning, Matt Panciera came to talk to our class about Pompeii and Roman history as well as the culture of Italy that we will soon be experiencing. He is a classics professor here at Gustavus and spent two years living in Italy. He also is doing research on the graffiti located in Pompeii found during the excavation of the city.
A lot of us didn’t know that the city of Pompeii was buried under farm land and was later dug up. Something we found interesting is that the city of Pompeii was roughly the same size as St. Peter both in population and physical size and there is about 40% of the city still buried. Due to conditions of pollution and looting by the Mafia who live nearby, officials think the remaining 40% will never be excavated. Because the city was buried and is so intact, what was uncovered gives a full record of what ancient life was like in Pompeii. One thing we are excited to see while we are there are the houses people lived in as well as the plaster casts of victims from the Mt. Vesuvius eruption.
We then switched gears to life and culture in present day Italy. He gave us a handout full of helpful Italian phrases and tips that may benefit us while we spend about a week of our trip in Italy. We learned that there are few public bathrooms and the ones that exist don’t really have usable toilet paper. We also got directions to what Matt claims is one of the best Gelato shops in Rome.
We are excited to experience all of this for ourselves and finally taste all of this good Italian food.
Katie, Jill, and Laura