Via Villa dei Misteri 2, 80045 Pompei NA, Italy
GPS: 40.749935226411, 14.483956364969
Visiting the Ruins of Pompeii will take one to an ancient Roman city of 66 hectares destroyed when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, causing the extinction of other nearby settlements (Herculaneum, Oplontis and Stabiae) based south of Naples in the Campania region. Before this natural disaster, Pompeii probably had between 20,000 and 30,000 inhabitants. Historians estimate that the eruption of Vesuvius claimed the lives of about 10,000 people.
The Italian architect, Domenico Fontana, was the first to discover the remains of Pompeii in 1592 while digging a diversion canal in the Sarno River. The site was not formally identified until 1763 and caused a sensation. Pompeii was completely buried under a layer of ash and lapilli (small porous stones) six metres thick before it was rediscovered 1,500 years after its disappearance. This layer of volcanic sediments kept safe the priceless riches of this port city overlooking the Bay of Naples. The ruins associated with the temples, streets, theatres, houses, villas, shops and baths underline the important activity of Pompeii. The city prospered under Greek influence before passing into the hands of the Etruscans and Samnites. Pompeii prospered under the occupation of the Romans because of its location at the crossroads of trade routes and maritime traffic. They developed agriculture, embellished the architecture and incorporated many decorative and ornamental elements.
Among the ruins of Pompeii, villas of wealthy Roman families were uncovered. Mosaics and frescoes preserved by the volcanic ash from weathering and looting show scenes of daily life at the time. Paintings decorating some buildings, considered among the oldest constructions in the city (2nd century BC), display erotic scenes. According to archaeologists, the port city of Pompeii was struck by a severe earthquake 17 prior to its demise. About one-third of the ancient city of Pompeii remains unexcavated. The stigmata and traces are still visible of the residents who failed to escape the suddenness and devastating power of the Mount Vesuvius eruption. These remains are a reminder of the devastating speed at which a volcanic eruption can strike any civilisation unexpectedly. The myth surrounding the area continues to fuel the fascination of visitors to Pompeii.