Who would’ve thought that a thriving Roman city was buried beneath 20 feet of volcanic rocks, pumice and ashes?
Vanished and forgotten, the walled city of Pompeii in Naples, Italy was accidentally discovered 1,669 years after the eruption of its neighboring volcano, Mount Vesuvius, on the 24th of August 79AD. Pompeii’s awful ordeal left at least 2000 people trapped and without a choice but to silently accept their imminent demise. At present, the 150-acre city of Pompei is one of the world’s largest archaeological excavation sites, side-by-side with modern amenities such as pubs, bars, restaurants, tourist facilities, and flourishing commercial areas. Read on and get in-depth with more interesting facts about the lost ruins of Pompeii and the modern city of Pompei below.
1. Life in Pompeii
So what’s it like to live in the past? Top archaeologists and experts of the historic excavation site are still baffled. There are lots of artifacts still needed to be analyzed to somehow depict a story or a scene which can show how everyday domestic living went in Pompeii. But the huge villas, with its walls and floors decorated with intricately designed mosaics; the Thasian dolomitic marbles that line up the bars and bath houses; and a sophisticated water, drainage, and sewage system for public and private use provides us an idea that people in Pompeii lived in a very comfortable manner and sheer opulence during their time.
2. Sealed Through Time
The remains of Pompeii are so incredibly well-preserved that you could walk around and see the Greek-inspired buildings such as residences, water fountains, commercial establishments, brothels, and an amphitheater; standing erect along the deserted cobble-stoned streets where the city’s ill-fated inhabitants used to walk through. People and their pet animals, eternally captured till their last breath in plaster casts are also found in the area. You can almost feel the impression of how sad and scared they must have been at the face of certain death.
3. Brothel in Pompei Re-opens
Don’t get the wrong idea here but the Lupanare, an ancient brothel in Pompeii is back in business- as a tourist destination that is! Ready to serve curious travelers, the fascinating 2-story brothel in the middle of Pompeii reveals signs of the open and systematic flesh trade in those times. Erotic Frescoes found at the walls of the rooms set the ambiance. Even more, names of the women who worked there, their “special talents” to please their clients, and prices of services are etched on the brothel’s walls.
4. Mother Nature Joins the War
While the Second World War was happening all across Europe, American airmen stationed at the Pompeii airfield caught a glimpse of the last known eruption of Mount Vesuvius. At least 2 feet of volcanic ash and football-sized rocks blanketed the area. Army tents, military equipments, and 88 aircrafts have also been severely destroyed.
5. The Santuario
Off to the past and on to the present! Not far from the Pompeii ruins, most tourists in Pompei often miss visiting the Santuario or the Shrine of Madonna del Rosario, a church built in 1876. The whole structure is shaped like a Latin cross which is dominated by a 53-meter high dome in the center. The church altar features the shroud of Madonna di Pompei in a bronze frame encrusted with gems. But the real attraction here is the 80-meter bell tower, the top easily accessible by an elevator where you can get a breath-taking view of Pompei and the surrounding area of Naples.
Top 3 Hotels in Pompei, Italy
- Hotel Diana – 3-star hotel – double room: €73
- Hotel Pompei Resort – 4-star hotel – double room: €85
- Hotel Degli Amici – 3-star hotel – double room: €90
Photo of Villa dei Misteri, Pompei, Italy, by Nick In Exsilio