It’s been a while since I last wrote about one of Vita Camino’s region designs, so when Shawn Shakespeare sent me a landmark to The Lost Gardens of Pompeii, I immediately added it to my list of places to visit, and finally got the opportunity to do so at the start of June.
Occupying a Full private region leveraging the additional Land Capacity bonus, the setting – as you might guess from the name – is Romanesque is nature. According to its About Land description, it is also a work in progress; so there may be a chance things might change between my writing this and you getting to visit for yourself. There are also some rental villas tucked away on the south and east side of the region, but these are well to one side (and below!) the public areas, minimising the risk of trespass.
No landing point was enforced at the time of my visit, so I’ve arbitrarily set a SLurl in this post which will land you on the west side of the region, amidst a busy little waterfront setting. This is not a place of commerce per se, but where local fishermen bring their catch to shore each day and dry and smoke them to provide the village behind with food and, possibly, to trade with the odd passing merchant – at least going by the barrels of wine (or oil)!
The village itself appears to be rather prosperous; the houses solidly built, with room for trading on the lower level and living space above complete with balconies. Their general condition and the well-kept roads might be down to the largesse of the local patrician, whose expansive dwelling occupies the backbone of the region, a rocky table of a hill that steps its way up from the surrounding coast in a series of terraces.
It is this part of the estate in which visitors will likely spend most of their time, offering as it does multiple places to sit and appreciate the setting – and to do so in typical Romanesque comfort, complete with fruits and wine set out under tile-roofed pavilions or trellis-topped gazebos. Broad, carefully laid steps offer routes upwards through the terraces – some of which have been created or given shape by the skill of stonemasons rather than by nature – with paths also enticing willing feet onwards.
Water abounds throughout the gardens, with falls tumbling from a rock face to a crystalline pool below, and multiple ponds and fountains to be found throughout. In addition, there are two large bathing pools, each occupying its own terrace but joined by a single stairway which also provides access to the villa’s bath house.
Similarly, great care has been taken to both preserve and to plant trees to provide shade and further ornamentation, while statues of deities and (doubtless) ancestors or great leaders keep watch over all that is happening in and around the gardens. And to further ensure blessings be upon the estate and the village below, two temples await worhsippers and offerings (one of which is admittedly just a façade).
The crowning glory for the setting, however, is on the broad flat top of the hill. Here sits a square terrace centred upon an ornamental pond. With pavilions, gazebos, loungers and chairs, fruit and wine, all shaded by the broad growth of mature trees and with columns standing to attention around the periphery, it at first looks “typically” Romanesque. But look again, and certain things might become apparent, initially appearing anachronistic given the overall theme for the setting.
Take, for example the fountained pond; it is home to both koi and to red-crowned crane from Asia, whilst paper lanterns of Chinese styling and stone lamps that carry a hint of Japan might also be spotted. Of course, indirect trade between Rome and China (via India) was known to have taken place; so it is possible crane and fish came via that route; however, when taken within the setting as a whole, lamps, lanterns, fish and crane present a unique west-east fusion within the terrace that just works.
Elsewhere in the setting are other unusual elements that give The Lost Gardens of Pompeii a little twists – such as the opportunity to sit and partake of fruit and wine within a portion of the lost city of Atlantis (and no, it’s not under the waters surrounding the setting – it is more unique than that, but you can find it for yourself!). Meanwhile, those looking for textures for their landscaping can also visit Vita’s store, located beyond the northern end of the waterfront village and tucked neatly into a building matching the rest of the décor.
Light period role-play is apparently allowed – presumably free style and down to those who visit, rather than anything formalised – and period costume is encouraged but not required. Finished with a natural soundscape and, needless to say, highly photogenic, The Lost Gardens of Pompeii is well worth visiting and exploring.
- The Lost Gardens of Pompeii (Islas Ballestas, rated Adult)