Pompeii is a definite crowd puller. On a Saturday morning in early June there are hordes of tourists swarming around the entry gates to the archaeological site even as early as 9am. Excavations at the site have been going on for nearly two centuries and the finds in the area have continued to amaze people. Where even major cities such as Rome have been much built over and have therefore lost monuments and artefacts from ancient times, Pompeii and the surrounding region had them preserved for nearly two millennia. So we find things in Pompeii that are not available elsewhere- wall paintings, household articles, houses and gardens in their entirety and so on.
The city is fairly large and I am therefore under pressure as I have just a day to take in the sights. I first visit the Forum- the heart of any Roman town. With temples, law courts, municipal buildings & a fish market this was the commercial & administrative centre of the town. The majestic temple of Jupiter stands with the dormant Vesuvius as its backdrop at one end. The temple of Apollo nearby is one of the oldest monuments on the site. While people cluster around the display of amphorae and plaster casts at one corner of the forum- I admire the remains of what was once the largest building in the area built by the priestess Eumachia- thereby proving that women were not invisible or powerless in Roman society.