Rome and Pompeii are two of the most iconic cities in the world. Located in Italy, the two cities have been connected through history, geography, and culture. But how far is it from Rome to Pompeii?
The distance from Rome to Pompeii is approximately 118.6 km (73.6 miles). This distance can be covered by car in just over an hour if driving along the freeway. The journey if taking a bus or train would take considerably longer, between two and four hours. The journey is also possible by bike, but would take upwards of fourteen hours.
For those who want to travel between the two cities, the most classic route is via central Italy’s Via Appia. This famous Roman road provides glimpses of the beautiful Italian countryside, with rolling hills, small farming towns, and occasional glimpses of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The slow pace of the journey allows travelers to truly appreciate the journey through history and to experience the connection between the two cities.
Pompeii is located in the Campania region of Italy, on the southeastern coast. This ancient city was founded by the Greek settlers from Cumae in the eighth century BC. The city was largely destroyed in 79 AD, when Mount Vesuvius erupted catastrophically. In recent decades, the city has been extensively excavated and tourists from all over the world come to explore this wonderful archeological site. The ancient site is a remarkable window into Roman life as it was prior to the eruption, with many of its homes and public buildings still remarkably intact.
Visitors traveling from Rome to Pompeii have many options depending on their needs, including the speedy and efficient train between the two cities, or the more scenic route of taking a car or bicycle boasting stunning views of the Italian countryside along the way.
The Eruption of Mount Vesuvius
The eruption of Mount Vesuvius was one of the most destructive volcanic eruptions in history. The eruption occurred on August 24th, 79 AD and was recorded in vivid detail by Pliny the Younger, who witnessed the event from his home in Misenum, located on the Bay of Naples. The eruption lasted for two days, leaving vast swathes of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae buried in ash and lava. It is believed that approximately 16,000 people died in the eruption, although the exact number is still uncertain.
The eruption had consequences for the wider region. For example, deforestation of the area around the volcano had reduced soil fertility and the combustible sulfurous gases produced by Vesuvius had a damaging effect on local farmlands. Further, the presence of large amounts of ash in the atmosphere created an ‘umbrella’ effect, blocking out sunshine and thus reducing crop yields throughout the region.
Preserving Pompeii’s Ancient Ruins
Since its rediscovery nearly 500 years ago, Pompeii has become an iconic tourist destination. For centuries, visitors have enjoyed touring the ruins of the city, marveling at the fantastic decorations, the impressive aqueducts and the resilient structures. But visitors often do not realise that preserving the remains of the city is a constant struggle. The exposure of ancient structures to wind and rain worsens their condition, as well as the ever-present threat of artifacts being stolen or damaged. The preservation of Pompeii has been a primary concern for archaeologists, researchers and historians for more than a century.
In recent years, the regional government of Campania has worked to better preserve the remains of Pompeii. A new conservation center has been opened in the ruins of the city, dedicated to preserving the unique artifacts and frescoes. In addition, regular restoration projects have sought to maintain the general condition of the site and help to protect the remains from further erosion. It is thanks to these determined efforts that the ruins of Pompeii remain one of the most intriguing archaeological wonders in the world.
The Pompeii Archaeological Park
The Pompeii Archaeological Park is a vast archaeological site covering an area of 44 hectares, spanning the boundaries of both Pompeii and Herculaneum. The park has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is visited by millions of tourists each year. Visitors to the park can explore the ruins of both cities, as well as the thermal baths, theatres and temples of the area. The park also offers visitors interactive digital displays and audio-visual presentations, giving an insight into life in the area before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
The Pompeii Archaeological Park is not only a popular tourist site, but also an incredible repository of archaeological remains. As well as offering insight into the Romans of the first century AD, the site has revealed much about daily life in pre-Roman times. The discoveries related to the site have included marble statues, intricate frescoes, and coins from the era, all of which are now held in the Archeological Museum of Naples.
Lifestyle in the Ancient Cities
Destinations such as Rome and Pompeii can give travelers a unique insight into the history and culture of a distant past. The lifestyle of the ancients in both cities can be studied through its architecture and artifacts, providing a great insight into their everyday life and beliefs. In Pompeii, for example, visitors can explore the remains of public baths, as well as shrines, temples, and tombs. All of these sites provide glimpses into the spiritual and cultural life of the people living in the city prior to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
The city of Rome has also preserved many of its earliest monuments, including the ancient Colosseum and the Pantheon, both of which remain incredibly popular tourist sites. Additionally, the city is home to many centuries-old churches, temples and monuments of immense cultural significance.
South Italy Today
In the centuries since the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the region of South Italy has become an important agricultural area, renowned for the production of fruits and vegetables, such as the famous and fragrant San Marzano tomatoes. The region also produces some of Italy’s most famous wines, such as the famous Taurasi. Other industries in the area include craftsmanship, olive oil production, fishing, and tourism.
The region around Pompeii and Naples has become not only an important agricultural area but also a popular tourist destination. Today, visitors flock to the area for its incredible cultural heritage, its stunning beaches, and its fine cuisine. From literature to traditional music, it is a region steeped in culture and well worth a visit.
The Impact of Covid-19
The advent of the novel coronavirus has heavily impacted the tourism industry in the region. Tourism is a vital part of the local economy, and with the closure of many venues, shops, and attractions, the impact of this crisis on local businesses has been severe. Many businesses have been forced to adjust how they operate in order to survive, while others have been badly damaged or have closed down.
The impacts of Covid-19 on the local population have been similarly severe. Despite the efforts of the regional government to alleviate the impact of the economic crisis, many people have lost their jobs, been forced to take pay cuts, or are in danger of losing their homes.
Mitigating the Impact of Covid-19
The regional government of Campania has implemented fast-track restructuring plans to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 crisis. Through a range of measures, local businesses have been provided with additional time to pay their debts, as well as moratoriums for mortgages and loan repayments.
The regional government has also launched the ‘Campania Solidale’ solidarity fund. Through this, businesses affected by the crisis can access grants of up to €25,000. The fund has received over €92 million in donations, which is helping to ease the tragic consequences of the pandemic.
In these difficult times, the regional government of Campania has implemented reforms designed to discover and promote the area, in an effort to attract tourists and generate income. These measures include the resumption of ancient Roman themes and activities, summer events and festivals, and various discounts and tax-breaks for local businesses.
The government has also implemented promotional campaigns, such as the ‘First Saturday of the Month’ initiative, which provides free entry to museums and archaeological sites. This has been well received by both locals and tourists, as it facilitates access to unique sites that are otherwise difficult to explore.
The government has also made it easier for travelers to explore the Campania region through the introduction of the ‘Campania Welcome Card’. This card grants access to discounted travel and tourist attractions throughout the region, making it easier and more affordable for travelers to explore Campania’s fantastic cultural and natural heritage.