Pompeii Ruins © Paul Kelley
In the year 79 AD Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the Roman city of Pompeii in volcanic lava and ash. The most evocative testimony to its victims is the 'frozen people', plaster casts of the victims whose anguished contortions and facial expressions reveal the horror of their untimely deaths. The excavation of Pompeii, which started after its accidental rediscovery in 1749, is an ongoing process and every decade has brought to light new finds that provide insight into daily Roman life. A comprehensive tour of Pompeii's attractions will take approximately five hours. Guided tours are available but are pricier alternatives to doing it alone. There is an informative 'How to Visit Pompeii' guidebook for sale outside all the site entrances.
Pompeii is one of Italy's most popular tourist attractions, seeing nearly 2.5 million visitors every year. It is one of the most intriguing ancient sites in the world and a full day of walking barely covers the many sights of interest. The Pompeii site has been plagued by mismanagement but has recently been granted a huge injection of funds which should improve maintenance; however, the place is so captivating that no amount of mismanagement can deter visitors from travelling to Pompeii, and the four associated sites of Herculaneum, Oplontis, Stabia and Boscoreale.
Transport: SITA bus to Piazza Esedra in Pompeii; or Circumvesuviana train line from Central Station to Pompeii Scavi station