When Pompeii was first being excavated, one of the scientists noticed that some of the earth was soft, like ashes. On a hunch he poured plaster into those spots and they came out people-shaped. Much later after X-rays came into use they were able to see people’s bones inside of the plaster. I had seen pictures of rows of people and even a dog frozen in time. And, as I mentioned before, I expected pornographic frescoes. I once wrote an essay about porn and used Pompeii as an example of the earliest porn. In reality, the first porn was probably on a cave wall, but I digress.
I walked around for a while in the dusty ruins, not finding any sexy frescoes. I should have read Wikipedia first. “These frescoes are in the Suburban Baths of Pompeii, near the Marine Gate.” I started following a tour group around and they led me into a courtyard full of huge, breathtaking art. There were giant statues that seemed to have broken in the most visually pleasing way possible, almost as if on purpose.
See the cluster of teensy tiny people?
As I walked towards the back of Pompeii, the crowds disappeared and the land became verdant. There was one last building with some beautiful faded frescoes that looked like wallpaper. One of them was even done in an Egyptian style.
So, in the end, I saw a lot of amazing ruins, great sculptures, two dead people and no porn. I guess you have to take a guided tour or visit the Hidden Museum in Napoli for that.