The story of Pompeii has always fascinated travelers, which is why it is a popular destination. While the city represented classic Roman life, the destruction of it has always been the fascinating element.
A Guide to the Significance of Pompeii for Travelers
At the time, Italy was a place full of ingenuity and historical significance. Rome was considered the most important city in existence and the Roman Empire had expanded to conquer much of Europe, bringing both Roman and Italian influences to the rest of the world. One of the most interesting stories of this time was the calamity that took place in Pompeii, the site of one of the biggest and most destructive volcanic eruptions in history.
Pompeii was destroyed in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the year 79 AD. When the volcano exploded, the entire city was covered in layers of ash and other volcanic matter. It was not rediscovered for 1,600 years. In 1599, there was an accidental discovery by the architect Fontana who was trying to dig a new course for the Samo River. Although the city was found at this time, a serious attempt to dig up the remains of the area was not attempted until the year 1748. Later, archaeologists theorized that some of Pompeii may have been dug up in 1599, but when erotic frescoes were discovered, the nudity caused early discoverers to rebury the area.
In the 1860s, an excavator named Giuseppe Fiorelli found that there were pockets in the ash he was digging through and that these represented places where people had died. He came up with the technique of injecting plaster into these holes (left by the decomposition of the human bodies) and was able to find out much more about how the Pompeiians lived and died. As the eruption left many of the residents of the town unable to escape, much of their life was left intact. Some died while in the process of everyday activities.
The houses found preserved a complete picture of 1st Century AD life. The bath houses, private houses, and streets, covered quickly with the ash from Mount Vesuvius, were left exactly as they looked when used during this era. Art on the walls of homes and in the streets were preserved, allowing future generations to see the tastes and true ways of life that early Italians had. Graffiti was even found, allowing historians to see just what real street Latin looked like. Pompeii was preserved in the height of its popularity and wealth, and its riches were evident from what archaeologists found there.
Today, a visit to Pompeii is a step into the past. When you walk the remains, you are literally walking in the city as it was nearly 2,000 years ago.
By: Richard Monk
Richard Monk is with FactsMonk.com - a site with facts about everything.