Pompeii - Ancient City at the Foot of Mount Vesuvius

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Pompeii - Porta Marina and the City Walls of Pompeii

Pompeii - Porta Marina and the City Walls of Pompeii
Pompeii (c) Linda Garrison

Pompeii is an ancient Roman city inland from Naples. Pompeii was buried under ash and rock when Mount Vesuvius, a nearby volcano, erupted on August 24, 79 AD. Pompeii seems much like it did in the 1st century because the volcanic ash hermetically sealed the city and its 2,000 residents, some of which are captured in horrific death.

Pompeii lay buried until the 16th century, excavation began in 1748, and continues today. Approximately 110 of the 160 acres of the ancient city of Pompeii have been excavated, and the site is much larger and well-preserved than expected.

Those fascinated by ancient ruins could easily spend the whole day in Pompeii, or you could combine a few hours touring Pompeii with a trip to Mount Vesuvius or to the island of Capri. Full day shore excursions from Naples include a ferry to Capri, lunch in Sorrento accompanied by a ride along the marvelous Amalfi coast, and a few hours in Pompeii. That's a lot to see in one day, but worth the time and money.

Porta Marina is one of the seven gates of Pompeii. The road to the sea from Pompeii started at this gate, hence the name.

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Pompeii - Porta Marina and the City Walls of Pompeii

Pompeii - Porta Marina and the City Walls of Pompeii
Pompeii Picture (c) Linda Garrison

Note to those with mobility problems--the walkway through the Porta Marina is very steep.

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Mount Vesuvius Volcano Towers Over Pompeii

Mount Vesuvius Volcano Towers Over Pompeii
Pompeii Picture (c) Linda Garrison

When touring Pompeii, it is difficult to not notice towering Mount Vesuvius nearby.

Mount Vesuvius looks very peaceful today, but in 79 AD it buried Pompeii in ash and hot lava rocks.

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The Forum at Pompeii - Main Square of Pompeii

The Forum at Pompeii - Main Square of Pompeii
Pompeii Picture (c) Linda Garrison

The Forum was the main square of Pompeii. Surrounded on all sides by religious, political, and commercial buildings, you can almost close your eyes and see the hustle and bustle of everyday life in Pompeii.

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The Forum at Pompeii Is a Busy Gathering Place for Tourists

The Forum at Pompeii Is a Busy Gathering Place for Tourists
Pompeii Picture (c) Linda Garrison

In the first century AD, the Forum in Pompeii was a busy gathering place for the citizens of Pompeii. Two thousand years later, the Forum is still a busy gathering place--for tourists. Note Mt. Vesuvius lurking in the background. It looks very far away, doesn't it?

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Brick Building in Pompeii

Brick Building in Pompeii
Pompeii Picture (c) Linda Garrison

Many of the excavated buildings in Pompeii look much like this one built of brick.

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Pompeii - Macellum or Marketplace

Pompeii - Macellum or Marketplace
Pompeii Picture (c) Linda Garrison

The Macellum in Pompeii was the city's main marketplace. The 12 bases in the center of the market were stands for wooden poles used to support a roof.

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Frescoes in the Pompeii Marketplace or Marcellum

Frescoes in the Pompeii Marketplace or Marcellum
Pompeii Picture (c) Linda Garrison

These frescoes on the wall of the Pompeii market feature mythological figures and architectural elements.

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Mount Vesuvius Volcano Victim's Body

Pompeii - Mount Vesuvius Volcano Victim's Body
Pompeii Picture (c) Linda Garrison

This picture and the next one demonstrate the horror felt by the Pompeii victims of the 79 AD Mount Vesuvius eruption that destroyed the city. The plaster cast bodies of the Pompeii victims are the most vivid shocking reminders of the horrific event that made Pompeii famous. Researchers now believe that most Pompeii citizens were probably killed by pyroclastic surges of extreme heat. As you tour the site, visions like these bring the volcanic eruption to life. 

The archaeologists excavating the site found the remains of many people in the last position they were in when the heat killed them and buildings collapsed around the bodies. They filled the place where the body was found with plaster in order to get a perfect match for the body position and the facial expression. It is gruesome but an important reminder of the power of nature and the suffering of the Pompeii citizens.

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Horror on Face of Mount Vesuvius Volcano Victim

Pompeii - Horror on Face of Mt. Vesuvius Volcano Victim
Pompeii Picture (c) Linda Garrison

This picture and the previous one are a vivid reminder of the quick deaths experienced by the citizens of Pompeii when the pyroclastic surges of 482 degrees Fahrenheit  from erupting Mt. Vesuvius killed them. Over 75 feet of ash covered the city causing the destruction of the buildings. The plaster cast bodies of the victims are a shocking reminder of the horrific event that made Pompeii famous. 

The archaeologists excavating the site found the bodies of many people whose position was almost frozen in place when they died. These scientists filled-in the place where the body was found with plaster so as to get a perfect match for the body position and the facial expression.

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Typical City Street Scene

Pompeii - Typical Street Scene of City Destroyed by Mt. Vesuvius
Pompeii Picture (c) Linda Garrison

Pompeii has many cobblestone streets. The size of Pompeii, the number of structures still standing, and the artifacts found in the ruins of the city after Mt. Vesuvius erupted make the city one of Italy's most popular attractions.

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Pompeii - House of the Small Fountain

Pompeii - House of the Small Fountain
Pompeii Picture (c) Linda Garrison

This atrium-style house in Pompeii had a garden surrounded by a colonnade of porticos. The frescoes covering the walls were probably quite beautiful in the first century AD.

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Pompeii - House of the Small Fountain and Its Frescoes

Pompeii - House of the Small Fountain and Its Frescoes
Pompeii Picture (c) Linda Garrison
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Pompeii - Ancient City Well

Pompeii - Ancient City Well
Pompeii Picture (c) Linda Garrison
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Pompeii - Oven at the House of the Baker

Pompeii - Oven at the House of the Baker
Pompeii Picture (c) Linda Garrison

This large oven was found at one of the 35 bakeries excavated in Pompeii. Wheat was ground and bread baked on this site.

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Pompeii - Storage of Archeological Artifacts

Pompeii - Storage of Archeological Artifacts
Pompeii Picture (c) Linda Garrison

The produce market (Forum Granary) is used for storing many of the thousands of archeological materials uncovered in Pompeii. This is just one small room.

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Pompeii - Ancient Artifacts Excavated and Stored

Pompeii - Ancient Artifacts Excavated and Stored
Pompeii Picture (c) Linda Garrison
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Pompeii - Temple of Venus

Pompeii - Temple of Venus
Pompeii Picture (c) Linda Garrison

The Temple of Venus is located at the western edge of Pompeii. It has been significantly pilaged, but was probably one of the most beautiful sites in Pompeii.

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Pompeii - View of the Sarno River Valley from Pompeii

Pompeii - View of the Sarno River Valley from Pompeii
Pompeii Picture (c) Linda Garrison
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Pompeii - City Wall and Gardens

Pompeii - City Wall and Gardens
Pompeii Picture (c) Linda Garrison
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