Pompeii was partially destroyed and buried under 20 ft of ash in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Pompeii was lost for about 1500 years until its initial rediscovery in 1599 and it continues to be excavated. The beautiful frescos and mosaic tile floors are still visible in many areas. Pompeii is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and well worth a visit. Take some time to wander and explore as there is much to see. Grab a gelato at the onsite café. The train station is located just a short walk to Pompeii site. You can buy a guide from one of the many vendors along the way. Trains leave frequently from Sorrento and Naples.
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Under the Volcano
The ancient city of Pompeii was founded in the 7th century B.C.E. Then in 79 C.E., Mt. Vesuvius erupted, and the large and busy commercial center was enveloped in stones and burning ash, creating what is today one of the world’s great archaeological sites. Highlights include the Forum, the Forum Baths, the celebrated House of the Faun, the Lunapare (brothel), the 20,000-seat amphitheater, the Villa dei Misteri, and the Temple of Apollo.
It's been thousands of years since the now dormant volcano's infamous eruption devastated the nearby cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, but the mountain's looming presence is still felt in modern Naples and the remaining ruins of the former Roman metropolis. For those curious travelers with athletic prowess, a hike up Vesuvius can give you a new view on history.
Various tour companies from Rome and Naples will easily take you to a well-maintained gravel pathway at the foot of Vesuvius, and up you go. After a relatively short climb, a huge crater — still slightly smoking, an unnerving sight — greets you at the top, where you can catch your breath while you overlook the blue waters of the Bay of Naples. On a clear day, you can see the island of Capri and the edge of the Amalfi Coast.
When the volcano erupted, the mountain had been three times as tall and the devastation was that much more widespread. Standing at the summit, gazing down at the city that remains so close by, the Roman history of this place doesn't feel so distant. Being on Vesuvius makes it easier to imagine what that day in 79 A.D. must have been like. If nothing else, the experience is certainly an eye-opener.
By now, everyone should know the story of Pompeii. It is a village of incredible history and even more incredible espresso. But I'm assuming part of the reason we go to Italy is for the history and the espresso. I highly recommend visiting Pompeii on a rainy day as the crowds are minimal and the rain soaked ruins have a renewed aura about them. The (modern) town center is lovely for a stroll and an afternoon beer.
Amazing no need for further explanation, must go when in Italy. The best adventure was once inside we went on our own and met a professor who took us to locked places. Not for the faint of heart; the preserved bodies, sex, and naked people frescos can be a shock