Pompeii Ruins

Turning your passions into a stimulating job? A young touristic guide tells us how he did it

Antonio Mosca Guida Pompei

Let’s continue our section dedicated to interviewing tourist guides, men and women whose vocation is the deep knowledge of the territory and whose main skill is to fascinate hundreds of visitors every day, telling the story of ancient Pompeii.

I meet Antonio Mosca, a young guide with a serious and reserved look, but who turns out to be actually nice, intelligent and above all peaceful, this last feeling, now rare for young people.

His soul? Studying, loving his territory and its people and, thanks to this, have the opportunity to better understand his origins in this land.

Antonio thinks to be a lucky person because he met important people in his lifetime, masters who  told him the right route to follow to reach his goals…but while I listen to him, while I see and feel his contagious enthusiasm, I understand that maybe that’s not all because of his luck but that it’s thanks to his ability in listening to people, his humility and his strong determination that he could turn his passions into his job.

Tell us about you

I’m Antonio Mosca, I was born and raised in Pompeii, I’m 35 years old, I’m the grandson of a restorer who worked many years in the excavations, and the son of an employee of the archaeological site. The evolution of the species led me to become a touristic guide 🙂

I am a young guide, in fact, from little more than one year I have obtained this qualification by participating and gaining the last competition announced in the Campania Region.  Two years ago I left the job, of which I was not satisfied, and I dedicated  exclusively to the studies in order to exceed the competition and to turn my passions into an interesting and stimulating job. I am always active and engaged in the promotion of the cultural aspects of our territory with the PompeiLab association, of which I have been president for 3 years.

You are lucky if you meet people who indicate you your road, but you must also be tenacious and motivated, because above all with the public competitions like this one that has lasted 2 years, the risk is to lose your constancy and your engagement.

I speak Neapolitan well :), Italian and English. One of my next goals is to learn French, that I know little.

I like this job, it is amusing and moving, I make it with enormous enthusiasm, and every day it is useful in order to learn something new.

What do tourists think about meeting such a young guide?

Well, the beard hides well my age… and then I am not so young:) I have never received any note on the fact to be an inexpert guide, I think that the important is to succeed to be involved and to interest people.

Why did you choose to be a tour guide?

It has always been my dream. When I was a teenager I heard for the first time about the contest, but I was too young to try, so this aim remained in my mind.

I have always had the vocation for the activities of promotion, first of all of cultural nature with the association, and now promotion of the territory.  I have many friends who are guides, I knew thanks to them, some aspects of this job and I imagined that I would love it. When in the 2012 the competition was reopened, I left my job and I studied uninterruptedly in order to catch up my objective to obtain the permission as Tourist Guide of the Campania Region. I succeeded and now I wait to see what this new life will carry to me!

It already changed something…I told you that I’m not a geek in technology, so I use a paper notebook to sign my scheduled guided tours, so when they call me I sing and go!

Why should tourists visit Pompeii with a guided tour? And why should they choose you?

Embarrassing question. The tourist should choose to visit Pompeii with a guide because therefore he can have immediately knowledge of the place in which he is , seizing the more important points of view, and to have a more or less complete vision, not only of the historical aspects, but also of daily life, the culture and the folkloric aspects. The tourist visits a monument, but the monument is always the representation of the culture of a territory, and therefore the guide must try to transmit these information.

Moreover, a guide can take to you by the hand, facilitate and give you the key fo the right interpretation of what you have already read. Often the visit to Pompeii, stage of too short tours, lasts only a pair of hours and in a narrow, single time, a guide can effectively give only the essential information of the place.

Tourists should choose me because during my tours I try and I hope to impress visitors such as I got amazed many times while studying or listening to my friends who work as guides. The beautiful thing in visiting a new place is to succeed to be astonished even if you collected all the information before visiting it.

If I succeed in this I reach my aim.

What are the tips you can give to tourists for the visit to the archaeological site?

My advice is to be organized in order to be comfortable, above all with the right shoes, because you must walk so much, and the distance is enough rough. The roads in Pompeii are just those ancient ones. I suggest also to wear a hat in summer, to carry a good water supply and to make many questions, because the curiosity helps to better understand things.

Another advice that I think very important is to choose, if possible, a timetable in which large crowds are not previewed, as an example in summer, it is the very pleasant to visit the ruins in the morning, where the atmosphere is the very calm and serene and in the afternoon after 4pm, in order to remain until the sunset and enjoying more powerful emotions.

What’s the thing of the Ancient Pompeii that moves you more?

There are several things. There are some beautiful frescos that leave you breathless every time, such as the House of Marcus Lucretius Fronto or the House of Menander.

The lucky of making this job is that, if you have attention to detail, you can often get excited.
As for example, every time I get to the  Forum from Via Stabiana I’m breathless.

Another thing that I particularly love is to walk the route from above the walls: the sight is amazing, I suggest you that.

What’s the thing you don’t like of Pompeii?

Many tourists think to be arrived in Pompeii just on time, before the fall of the city, because medias talk only about walls falling in the city.

In Pompeii the ordinary maintenance lacks; my grandfather told me that with his team they made surveys continuously, and the controls in order to prevent and to arrange the small things where made daily, this was very good. Leaving the ruins this way, even if restored with the important plans in course, between 20/30 years they will be returned to the same point.

How long should an exhaustive tour last and which route do you suggest?

The best route I can suggest with a private guide … is to enter from the amphitheatre then to go back towards the Forum, to pass to the theatres and then to decide if to go towards Vesuvio gate and then to return to the Forum, if you want to visit Villa of the Mysteries; perhaps 4 hours are enough, sure you must always sacrifice something, but I think that in 4 hours you can make a nice visit.

Do you propose guides and tours personalized for any kind of visitor? As an example for the schools?

In my short career I have already accompanied various kinds of visitors like school groups, families, small private groups.

As far as the schools, they have the obligation to enter from the Amphitheatre square and so we leave from here, we continue for the necropolis, because from here you can see the stratification of the eruption and we can speak about how the tragedy has happened, then we go to the amphitheatre because here you can easy recall the image of the gladiators and of the shows that were organized, I can carry to their attention the things that in movies are well represented and others that instead, are pure fantasy. We continue to the Garden of the Fugitives in order to see the technique of casts in chalk and then we go to the House of the Europe Ship, from there to the therme, and, at last arriving to the Forum you lose them, they are tired now, you make a group photo and say goodbye.
Sometimes, if there is more time available, we complete the tour with the Theatres.

Which are those things that provoke curiosity and interest in the teenagers?

During the tours with younger ones, I amuse myself because I like to joke with them, I understand that they are on vacation; I remember well my school trips, therefore I put myself in their shoes and I try to be comprehensive.

Moreover, I follow one of the first advice of my masters: never lose your calm.

They are very focused and curious when I speak about the aspects of the daily life, they get passionate because they understand that many things of the life of 2000 years ago are not so different from today.

Tell us a curiosity that is not written in the school books

I like the stories about the domestic Lares, I have read that these little statues were considered part of the family, they represented the ancestral relationship with the ancestors; thay say that in the pompeiane houses they left crumbs on the floor thinking that in the night the lares came to eat them.

Very interesting and curious, moreover, are the graffiti that we find on the walls of Pompeii, it’s amazing to read them, they speak as for example about the gladiator or of those professors who complained because they weren’t paid.

What do you suggest to visit in the new city and near by it?

Tour in Vespa

In the new city I would advise of giving a glance to the program of the PompeiLab, you can choose a concert or to go to the theatre, in summer it’s always pleasant. You can not miss the visit to the Shrine that should be ever open, and then in the surroundings you can do many nice things. I suggest a trip to the Coast, in the high zone, and naturally sea.
Moreover I suggest to the visitors to go to Naples and not be afraid of some stories on Naples.

It’s evocative the tour in vespa that we organize in order to visit the surroundings.

Suggest us a typical menu to eat and the best restaurant where to eat it…

Typical dish…for those who arrive in this zone…I’d said to remain on the classic traditional dishes, to try the poor menu of the local tradition, that are best ones, such as the Parmesan of aubergines or the Pasta with potatoes. You can choose a trattoria to keep you on the traditional kitchen, or one of these restaurants where chefs propose traditional dishes with a modern twist.

I thank Antonio for his willingness, for the useful information that he has shared with us, but above all for his charge of energy and enthusiasm. I hope I’ve been able to transmit to you to the determination of Antonio in catching up the objective to work following his passions.

If you want to contact Antonio for your guided visit to Pompeii and outskirtses or simply for ask for some advice, use the module here under.

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