Subject: Re: Archaeological sites in Europe
Hello Tiffany,

If you are going to Pompeii, let me recommend two other very interesting archaeological sites that are in that general area of Italy, although slightly off the beaten track.

Make the hour and a half drive down to Paestum, perhaps with a plan to spend the night down in that region. Here there are spectacular ruins of a Greek, eventually Roman, city. You will also be deep in mozzarella di bufala country, so take advantage of the superb dining opportunities.

If you're willing to push on a little further east into the province of Basilicata, you can visit the remnants of an ancient troglodyte community on the periphery of the town of Matera. Matera is no more than a two hour drive from Paestum. There have been cave dwellers here for the last 2000 to 3000 years, and even as recently as the last century, during the early 1900s, the caves have been inhabited. Actually some of the caves have been converted into somewhat modern living abodes, with electricity and running water, and are occupied today. Of interesting note, this is where Mel Gibson filmed most of The Passion of Christ, as the site maintains so much of the character of the living conditions in a Roman city of that era. The surrounding scenery, especially across the gorge, is also evocative.

Joel, formerly of Texas, now of Chicago