Pompeii is the name of an Ancient Roman settlement that lies near Naples in the Campania region of Southern Italy. It is most famous for its destruction in 79 AD at the hands of the presiding volcano, Vesuvius.
The eruption of this volcano took all the inhabitants by surprise. There had, in fact, been forewarnings such as earth tremors, one of which had already caused great damage to this coastline. The residents were actually in the process of rebuilding when catastrophe struck.
Once the pumice precipitation started to fall in the morning, many thought a storm was brewing. As such, the majority of Pompeii and Herculaneum took shelter in their homes. Unfortunately, only those who fled at this stage had any chance of surviving.
The first real explosions started around 18hrs later. At this point the volcano shot pyroclastic matter 33km into the air. The thermal energy released surpassed that of the Nagasaki-Hiroshima atomic bombings by 1000%.
The waves rushed down the hills at an incredible speed and soon hit Herculaneum and Pompeii beyond, as well as the surrounding smaller settlements. Even before this, however, many will have deceased. Not only had 10ft of pumice and ash already fallen upon the towns, but the temperatures will have risen well over 100°c. In addition to this, poisonous gases were filling the air, and many would have asphyxiated.
Before this tragedy, Pompeii was an important port in the Mediterranean trade scene. It was a wealthy and popular town, with many luxurious villas on its shorefronts and in the hills. Today it is just as popular, but for very different reasons. Come here to discover some of the best-preserved and restored remains of an Ancient Roman settlement. Harrowingly, you can also see the 1000+ casts of human bodies that have been taken from ash deposits upon excavation. Aside from these you can also viewing an astounding amount of treasures that were perfectly preserved under the layer of ash and lava.
The easiest way to get to Pompeii is to come from Naples, which offers bus and train transfers. It is possible to stay in the modern settlement near Pompeii, however it is not that nice, and most people choose to make a day excursion to the ruins from a more happening place.