Pompeii is an ancient city located at the bottom of Mount Versuvius near the city of Naples in Italy. It became an active and prosperous port and town around 80 BC. The city was first occupied by Etruscans in 8th century BC followed by the Saminites and then Romans who took control around 200 BC. 

The town was well advanced with Villas, Temples, Theatres, Cobbled Streets, Stores and Public Baths. The town was a popular resort for vacation villas.

There were frequent quakes but a large eruption in 62 AD left many buildings and amenities destroyed, most of which were never rebuilt before the final earthquake destroyed the city in 79 AD.

In the fall of 79 AD the town was completely buried during a 2 day volcanic eruption from Mount Vesuvius that covered the town with 13-20 feet of ash and pumice. The eruption happened so quickly many of the 20,000 townspeople where caught unaware and were encased in volcanic ash.

The ruins were accidently discovered in 1748 and have been extensively excavated over the years giving us a real view of the Roman Empire. Today the site is a Unesco World Heritage Site and a popular tourist attraction.

The ruins were well preserved and the volcanic ash encased the bodies creating cavities as the bodies decayed. These cavities became molds that have been filled with plaster or resin creating accurate and horrific replicas of humans and animals as they died when the ash fell. Many of these are on display today.

Some of the main excavations that can be viewed are:

Castellum Aquae - a water distribution network
An Aqueduct leading from the Castellum providing water for numerous fountains, houses, baths and businesses
The Temple of Jupiter
A Map of Pompeii, featuring the main roads laid out in grids
The main Forum
Pompeii House with wall portrait
The Amphitheatre
The Thermae - The Baths
Many Houses and Villas including the villa of the Mysteries
Wine Jars and Pottery
A Palaestra – a gym with a swimming pool
The Macellum – the food market
The Pistrinum – the mill
The Thermopoliun – A type of bar serving hot and cold drinks
Cauponge – small restaurants
2 Theatres
The Grand Hotel Murecine
Evidence that the port was inhabited with people living in Palafittes

Frescoes, Paintings, Sculptures, Inscriptions and Mosiacs
Many details of everyday life were discovered including frescoes, inscriptions depicting professions and categories, art, erotic objects and details of the general lifestyle of the citizens. Walls were covered with election propaganda and jokes, and words in latin like welcome, wine and laundry being among those found.

Vegetable gardens and small plots of land were surrounded by Peasant dwellings. Brothels stood on the edge of the city were they could be accessed by passing sailors and travelers. Daily life was evident in the workshops and utility rooms in the narrow streets used by workmen and slaves.

Various items were found throughout the city including furniture, ornaments, gold and silver, tools, kitchen items, lamps, food items, counters, mills and grindstones, cloth workshops, smithies and a variety of grocery and fruit and vegetable stores.

Two thirds of the city has been excavated but only about a third of the excavations are accessible to the public, but still enough to keep the average tourist busy for several days. Conservation is a major issue due to weather exposure, general decay, theft and tourism. Pompeii is readily accessible to tourists by Train or Car. Mt Vesuvius in the

Author's Bio: 

My name is Avril Betts, I am originally from England and now a Canadian Citizen, I have over 35 years experience in all aspects of Travel and Tourism, including running an online agency for over 13 years. I holds a CHA (Certified Hotel Administrator) an internationally recognized accreditation and in 1996 hosted the president’s wives luncheon for the G7 conference.

I have co-chaired Atlantic Canada Showcase an International Travel Trade Show, managed 450 volunteers for the Tall Ships Visit in July 2000, and was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year by the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia. In 1988 I founded the Country Inn Association in Nova Scotia still going strong today. I have been involved in numerous Travel and Tourism volunteer activities throughout Atlantic Canada and across Canada.

As a recognized tourism expert I look forward to assisting you with your dream vacation. Don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or travel inquiries at avril@a-ztours.com or check out our websites at: