Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel
Typical street scene on a narrow back lane in the Italian town of Sorrento

Click on above photo to view it in large format: Most of the streets of Sorrento are meticulously groomed, as the city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy. However, take a little time to wander the back lanes and you’ll see scenes like this, which are more indicative of local life.

Trail around the rim of Mount Vesuvius, the volcano that buried Pompeii and Herculaneum, Italy when it erupted in 79 AD

Click on above photo to view it in large format: Once at the summit of Mt. Vesuvius, a trail leads around more than half of the rim, allowing peeks into the caldera that formed when the volcano blew its top in 79 AD, burying the Italian cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, among others. If you look closely, you can spot steam rising from a vent within the collapsed cinder cone, as this volcano is still considered to be active and dangerous.

Cinder trail leading to the top of Mount Vesuvius in Italy, the volcano that erupted in 79 AD, burying Pompeii

Click on above photo to view it in large format: The big green buses of BusVia carry passengers halfway up Mount Vesuvius to the trail head, from which visitors must hike 20 minutes up this steep cinder path to reach the rim. The trail offers sweeping views of the Bay of Naples and the dense population corridor between Naples and Sorrento, which are threatened by the inevitable next eruption from the volcano that buried Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 AD.

Typical Pompeii street with wheel ruts carved deeply into the stone pavement.

Click on above photo to view it in large format: Typical Pompeii street shows deep ruts from cart wheels. Carts were forbidden to enter the Forum, perhaps to protect the brilliant white travertine pavement that had been laid down in this large public area that was the focus of political, economic, and religious life.

Intricate frescoes on the barrel vaulted plaster ceiling of the Stabian Baths in Pompeii. Public bath houses were an important part of the social structure in the ancient Roman city.

Click on above photo to view it in large format: Intricate frescoes on the walls and vaulted ceiling of the Stabian Baths in Pompeii, the oldest of the bathhouses in the ancient Roman city that was destroyed by the 79 AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The walls are decorated with plain white and red frescoes, while the vaulted ceiling features elaborate polychrome designs that incorporate rosettes, cupids, and figures of Bacchus, the Roman God of wine and bacchanalia.

The Temple of Vespasian in Pompeii was dedicated to the Emperor Vespasian, and residents of the city were expected to worship and make sacrifices to him. Elaborate carvings that frame the entrance have been protected by plexiglass.

Click on above photo to view it in large format: The Temple of Vespasian in Pompeii was dedicated to the Emperor Vespasian, and residents of the city were expected to worship and make sacrifices to him. Elaborate carvings that frame the entrance have been protected by plexiglass.