What You Need to Know About the Ancient City of Pompeii

Pompeii is a word known throughout the world to not only mean a destination, but also an event. This once-thriving city on the west coast of Italy was buried beneath a thick layer of ash and stone as the nearby volcano known as Vesuvius erupted. The curious thing about this event is that instead of completely destroying the city like one would imagine, it actually led to an unprecedented preservation of these millennia-old buildings.

Pompeii Before The Eruption

Founded in the 7th Century BCE by the Oscans, the city of Pompeii is well over 2500 years old. It wasn’t until 80 BCE that it became a Roman Colony. While many people look back at the city and relate it only to the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE, this was not the only hardship that the people of Pompeii endured. A mere 17 years prior to the eruption the city’s very foundations were put to the test by a major earthquake. While it may have seemed to be a great tragedy at the time, some might say that it was a blessing in disguise. The reason for this is that a large majority of the city’s 20 000 people evacuated. Even though it was almost 2 decades until the eruption took place, families had set their lives up in the various surrounding towns and cities and saw no reason to return. This meant that only 2000 people lost their lives to Vesuvius and unknowingly became a part of Roman history.

The Discovery of Pompeii’s Ruins

Naturally, many thought that the eruption had completely wiped the city from existence, resulting in Pompeii being all but forgotten. It wasn’t until 1599 that the remains of Pompeii were uncovered. An architect by the name of Domenico Fontana came across the ruins as he was digging a canal. While this was an exciting discovery for many, no one could have imagined just how much of the city still remained intact. 150 years passed from initial discovery before a real investigation and excavation began. What diggers found beneath the surface can still be seen today, ancient roman streets, houses, temples, shops, cafes and an amphitheater were all uncovered. Even to this day, only two thirds of the city has been uncovered, and even less is open to the public. However, a visit to Pompeii is like stepping directly into the past. Not only were the houses preserved, but all of their contents too. Visiting Pompeii will give you a look into the everyday lives of people over 2000 years ago.

This incredible discovery has led to a modern day understanding and appreciation for the great Roman civilization of the past. This UNESCO world heritage site truly is an essential stop on a tour of Italy.

Check out our popular Pompeii Tour today!