The Origin of Pompeii
Pompeii was an ancient Roman city located in the Italian region of Campania. It’s most famous for its 79AD eruption of the nearby volcano, Mount Vesuvius, which destroyed the entire city and its population. At the time, Pompeii was one of the expanding Roman Republic’s strategic cities and was known for its beautiful structures, frescos, and architecture.
Much of what makes Pompeii so interesting and unique today is its archaeological findings, which were discovered after the 18th century. Since then, the ruins of Pompeii (now an archaeological park) has become an iconic symbol of Roman antiquity and one of Italy’s major tourist attractions.
Geographic Location of Pompeii
Pompeii is located in Southern Italy, roughly 25 miles (40 kilometers) southeast of the city of Naples. For centuries, Pompeii had been one of the most important cities of the Roman Republic, closely connected with nearby cities such as Herculaneum and Stabiae.
The city was built near the southern entrance of the Sarno River valley and was largely surrounded by cultivated plants and grapevines. Despite its relative remoteness, Pompeii was closely connected to several trading routes that ran through to Rome and the Mediterranean Sea.
How Far is Pompeii from Rome?
Pompeii is approximately 130 miles (210 kilometers) south of Rome; about a 2-hour drive depending on traffic and speed limit. The most common transportation between Rome and Pompeii is the regional train, which carries passengers along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
For tourists and historians keen to explore the ancient city, the most common way is to catch the train from Rome to Naples and travel by bus, car, or taxi to the site of Pompeii.
History of Pompeii
Pompeii is known to have been built in the 6th century BC by the Oscan people, one of the Italic tribes that dominated the region. The Oscan fortified the city against invaders, and surrounds it with walls which contained approximately 200 gates. The city grew in power and size, becoming one of the most celebrated of the Roman Republic.
In 79AD, the city was nearly destroyed overnight by the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Its inhabitants were buried in ash, which preserved the ruins in an almost pristine state. It remained buried until its rediscovery in 1748.
Significance of Pompeii
Since its rediscovery, the site of Pompeii has become a symbol of Roman antiquity and one of the most recognizable sources of classical culture. It is also one of the most visited archaeological sites in the world.
Pompeii’s ruins have been carefully studied and are constantly being restored by archaeologists. The city’s insights about urban layouts, engineering, and architecture have become invaluable for the study of antiquity. The remains of Pompeii are still being actively studied and constantly give greater insights about the Roman Republic.
Exploring the City
Modern visitors can explore many of the buildings, streets, frescos, and monuments that have been preserved in Pompeii. Under the guidance of archaeologists, visitors can explore the remains of numerous buildings, such as the amphitheatres, baths, and villas. Some of the most notable of these sites include the Theatre of Pompeii and the Forum, which contains the remains of the Temple of Jupiter.
The Eruption of Mount Vesuvius
The eruption of Mt Vesuvius occurs without warning, despite was being rumbles and earthquakes in the days leading up to it. In the early morning of August 24, the volcano spit ash and lava for two days. This covered Pompeii in ash and debris, killing thousands of surrounding citizens, who were buried in the ruins.
The amount of ash and debris that fell onto the city had frozen it into what modern historians call ‘antique Pompeii’. It’s because of this preservation that many of its buildings and frescos have been retained in near-original condition, and modern-day visitors can tour them and experience the magnificence of their glory days.
The Legacy of Pompeii
Pompeii has remained an influential symbol in popular culture, mentioned in films, literature, and even sculpture. It has been the protagonist of several films, including Pasolini’s 1964 Italian-language classic, ‘The Gospel According to St. Matthew.’
Touring Pompeii is an unforgettable experience—from its historical significance, to its incredible archaeological remains, to its haunting presence of tragedy. Its legacy still lives on, even after its catastrophic destruction almost 2000 years ago.
Modernization of Pompeii
In recent years, modern technologies have been used for the preservation and management of the Pompeii ruins. The most innovative of these technologies includes surveying, 3D modeling, virtual reconstruction, and drone monitoring.
The Heritage Roundtable of Environmental Ordinances of The European Commission provides the technological, legal, and economic tools that enable the modernization and management of the city. This allows them to be preserved and brought to life, making the ancient city of Pompeii more accessible to modern-day tourists and historians.
Economic Impact and Tourism
Pompeii is one of the main tourist attractions in Italy, with over 2.5 million visitors per year. It’s estimated that the site makes up about 4% of Campania region’s GDP. The city also gets income from other sources, such as café’s, souvenirs and parking fees.
The local economy has been greatly affected by the pandemic of 2020, as restrictions have been implemented and tourist visits have been limited. Despite this, the city remains a major international tourist destination and continues to invite visitors to explore its ancient ruins.