Pompeii was one of the main highlights of my Italian summer vacation. Being a History Major I definitely had to add this experience to my bucket list while visiting the beautiful country of Italy. Pompeii is only a few short hours away from Rome making it a great excursion or day trip for those interested in history. While you can spend hours to days here, Pompeii has lots to see and explore making it worth your while. Here are some of the reasons why you should visit Pompeii:
If you’re invested in learning more about Ancient history Pompeii is the place to be. This vast archaeological site was once a thriving Roman city with an estimated 11,000 people. This city accomplished much such as a complex water system, an amphitheatre, gymnasium, and a port. What makes this city so famous is the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. which buried Pompeii in meters of ash. Today it is a well-preserved site with an extensive collection of ruins that visitors can roam freely. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy, with approximately 2.5 million visitors every year.
Mount Vesuvius is known as one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world because of the population of 3,000,000 currently people living at its base. It has a violent tendency with explosive eruptions and it the only volcano on the European mainland to have erupted in the last hundred years. The volcano is the backdrop of Pompeii- you can see it as you walk down the cobblestone streets and throughout the whole city. Seeing this natural spectacle in real life was something I cannot describe. It is truly not a sight to miss.
While officials rediscovered the city of Pompeii they realized almost everything was left as is for two thousand years. The lack of air and moisture preserved the objects buried beneath Pompeii with little to no deterioration. Many discovered artifacts can be seen in the Ancient City of Pompeii or are now preserved in the Naples National Archaeological Museum for viewing. But, objects were not the only things left behind. The city was covered in thick layers of ash along numerous residents. Archaeologists have made plaster casts of the victims which show exactly how their body was left.
Pompeii is one of the few sources that have well-preserved paintings which tell us about the ancient painting and decoration. This city has provided an invaluable insight into the Roman world because of the amount of raw data from this time period. Numerous buildings in Pompeii were decorated with mosaics and frescos depicting anything from Roman myths, religions, war, sports to sex. The Villa of Mysteries, a suburban Roman Villa, is one of the best-known survivals of Ancient Roman painting. It is famous for the series of beautiful and strange frescos in one room which depict with Dionysian cult practices. This was definitely a highlight on my trip!
I had a great time exploring the ancient city of Pompeii- even though it was a rainy day and we arrived very late I still learnt a lot and got to witness the mystery of the forgotten city. Pompeii is such a cultural phenomenon it’s still hard to grasp. I remember learning about this city in elementary school never thinking I’d ever step foot here one day! Now I’m sure glad I did.