Saturday, August 1, 2015

ROM: Pompeii - Thursday, July 16 2015

John and I felt as if we had taken a trip to Italy and visited Pompeii. What we had really done was visit the wonderful exhibition mounted by the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto.

Entering, one steps into a different world. It's fascinating to learn what Pompeii must have looked like before the volcanic explosion that destroyed this lovely city. Life must have been very pleasant for the people. Their houses were large, and would have been a cool refuge from the world. Their little market place provided them with bread, and the other foods necessary for life. The main streets were lined with pubs, and other places of business. They had arenas for games, and theatres for dramatic productions. There was also a port. The exhibition includes maps of the city and surrounding area, which help make it clear how the city was planned and built.

The artifacts that have been found are displayed well. Many statues, vessels, and, of course, replicas of the murals, can be seen. There is a pretty gold and emerald necklace, I remember, of high-quality workmanship.

A huge film replication of the gases and debris from the exploding volcano hurtling down the mountainside towards Pompeii, with the threat of the lava following, certainly gives a good indication of what it must have been like when Mount Vesuvius exploded suddenly in 79AD. There was a population of around 11,000. The richer people fled, but many poorer people stayed. Around 1,200 of those are the ones who were trapped in the lava. What we see in the exhibition, are plaster casts of the cavities left by their bodies. These include one poor dog that had been tied up.

Children are catered for in the toga dressing-up area. It's fun watching as people drape the togas around themselves, according to directions. Children of all ages can also play in the mock-up shop. There are scales with weights, and imitation goods to weigh. This was being much enjoyed when we passed through. I liked watching the fun!

What a wonderful exhibition! We extended our visit to Italy, by having Italian pizza and ice-cream in Yorkville in an Italian place, Tutti's, on Cumberland, south of the tree-filled square.

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