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Things to Do and See in Pompeii, Italy

Updated on August 19, 2009

August 24th, 79 AD. Imagine an ancient city with people carrying around every day tasks during the lazy afternoon hours. Then suddenly, a volcano known as Mount Vesuvius erupts.  A thick cloud of ash hovers the rabid volcano. Within minutes the cloud expands into a rainfall of ash so dense that it able to eclipse the sun, suddenly turning day into night...

The city darkens as ash, pumice and  rock, blown in the direction of the town starts to accumulate. Roofs start to collapse and people start to suffocate from the noxious gases. Finally, during the night the town is completely submerged in, volcanic mud, ash and rocks. Those that were still alive were literally baked alive from the hot air surge.  On that infamous day, Pompeii ceased from existing along with the neighboring towns Ercolano and Stabiae.

The town was then forgotten, cancelled from most of the minds and the maps. Then, finally, 1,700 years later, a hint of an almost forgotten e civilization started unfolding beneath the eyes of architect Domenico Fontana. As he dug an underground channel through Pompeii, he found some proof of the almost forgotten town. However, it took about 150 years until serious excavation work started.

Things to See and Do in Pompeii

Today, the remains of Pompeii are one of the most visited archaeological sites of the world. Still nowadays, the plaster casts of people and animals can be found, immortalized from that day of eruption. Strolling through the ruins gives visitors a glimpse of the every day life back then. Entire villas, stores and squares can be visited each providing extraordinary stories of the bygone era.

The arena is one of the most well preserved remains found among the ruins. This is where thousands of years ago gladiators fought and many games took place. This amphitheater was capable of accommodating an average of 20,000 spectators back then. The seats were carefully divided to separate social classes.

It is highly advisable to bring comfortable shoes as the Pompeii ruins cover a large area that will need to be walked. If it is summer, a pair of sunglasses, a hat, sun lotion and lots of water may be vital. Guided tours must be booked in advance as they tend to be overbooked, however, if this is not an option a map can be purchased even though some important facts and stories may be missed.

More artifacts may be found at the Naples Archaeological Museum. For those interested in the erotic artifacts, a special ''secret room''ticket may be issued inside the museum. A tour can be hired even though the artifacts are quite much self explanatory.

Mount Vesuvius and the town of Ercolano can also be visited today either by car or public transportation. A bus can be taken up the crater.Breath taking views await at the top. The area around the mountain is now part of a national park.

The Sanctuary of the Madonna of the Rosary is often overlooked by tourists that flock towards the Pompei ruins. Yet, this stunning work of art should be seen. There is also a bell tower where you may take an elevator for a great aerial view of the Mount Vesuvius.

The city of Pompeii is a great testimony of an ancient civilization. As terrible as the volcanic eruption was back in 79 AD, it must be admitted that without it happening, we would not be able to appreciate today the opportunity to stroll around a city of several centuries ago.

Pompeii - The Last Day/Colosseum - A Gladiator's Story
Pompeii - The Last Day/Colosseum - A Gladiator's Story

Combining authoritative narration with diary-like voiceovers from Verus's perspective, this riveting 50-minute BBC production is simultaneously intimate and epic in scale, employing the latest in digital compositing techniques to achieve its unparalleled (for TV, at least) visual splendor. With well-cast actors speaking authentic Latin, this sumptuous production is both dramatically involving and exacting in every detail.



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    • BJC profile image

      BJC 8 years ago from Florida

      I've read this with my students and I enjoyed reading your hub as I learned some new things!