3 Sep 2005 - Pompeii, Italy
Why not combine a trip to Pompeii and the bay of Naples with a trip to the top of Vesuvius? Vesuvius not only has its place in history as the volcano that destroyed and preserved a number of Roman towns but is also the location where the Roman slave gladiator and leader of the slave revolt, Spartacus set up camp. At this time Mount Vesuvius had a flat top, was dormant and heavily wooded which allowed them to train properly for coming fight with the Romans.
The Romans besieged the rebels on Vesuvius thus blocking their escape, but Spartacus had ropes made from vines and with his men climbed down a cliff on the other side of the mountain, to the rear of the Roman soldiers, and staged a surprise attack. Not expecting trouble from a handful of slaves, the Romans had not fortified their camp or posted adequate sentries. As a result, most of the Roman soldiers were still sleeping and killed in this attack. After this success many runaway slaves joined Spartacus until the group grew into an army of allegedly 120,000 escaped slaves.
Spartacus defeated a number of Roman armies but eventually lost the war and were defeated. After the battle, 6600 of Spartacus' followers were crucified along the via Appia (or the Appian Way) from Brundisium to Rome. The bodies were never taken down and travellers were forced to see the bodies for years, perhaps decades, after the final battle.
Pompeii - The bay of Naples from Vesuvius
From the top of Vesuvius on a clear day you can get fantastic views of the area. After getting a bus from the bottom you are taken to a car park near the summit. From there a path up the side of the mountain takes you to the crater and the summit. Its nots too difficult a walk if you are fit but there are plenty of people wheezing along with a stick.