For the majority of the residents of the city of Pompeii, the 24th of August in 79 AD turned out to be a permanently life-changing event for 20,000 citizens and their families. The city was literally ruined and then buried by the lava flow erupting from Mt. Vesuvius on that day. It is one of the most unparalleled disasters in world history. The eruption continued for 2 days leaving near total devastation in its wake. It has been estimated that the majority of the city that was buried under a layer of ash and pumice that was over 20 meters thick.
It took over 1,500 years before it would be discovered as it was virtually forgotten after its destruction. Today, the Pompeii ruins are easily accessible from the city of Naples and is located near the Bay of Naples as well. If you’re a sucker for archaeology at its finest, other travel destinations in Europe pale in comparison to this excavation site. Additionally, there is an outdoor museum comprised of evidence of Pompeii being an ancient Roman settlement as well as being testimony to one of the most storied catastrophes in history.
Today, the city of Pompeii is one of the most visited destinations by local and international vacationers. Pompeii is recognized as being one of the few global excavation sites where an entire city from ancient times was preserved in great detail. Jars, paintings, people, and tables were literally frozen in time. For most, this provides you with an idea of what life was really like nearly 2,000 years ago. Most individuals feel that the only reason to visit the city is because of this preservation.
In fact, many people oftentimes ask “what else is there besides the preservation of mass destruction to see in the city of Pompeii?” Trust us when we tell you, there is so much more to see than meets the eye. The following are some suggestions for things to do when you visit the city of Pompeii:
First and foremost, it is always best to use the Porta Marina entrance when venturing into the city to explore all the sights – you will notice that there are two different sized entrance openings. The reason for this is that the larger opening was designed for chariots while the smaller was for the use of pedestrians only.
Make sure you visit the forum (foro) – this was the commercial, political, and religious center of Pompeii. Situated at the intersection of the city’s two primary roads, Vesuvius’ countenance looms menacingly as the back drop of the surrounding countryside.
The glass display cases of the volcano’s victims – alongside the city forum in the main courtyard stands numerous glass-encased victim’s casts. These casts were evidence of the forensic genius that existed in the 1800’s because they poured liquid plaster into the hollowed out cavities they discovered underfoot.
Photo of Pompeii by Ssalomons