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pompei_thumb“Ashes were already falling, not as yet very thickly. I looked round: a dense black cloud was coming up behind us, spreading over the earth like a flood.” Pliny about the erupion of Vesuvius, which destroyed the city of pompeii killing many of its citizens.







History of a disaster
It was a hot day. Nothing was foretelling the catastrophe. In the most bustling and busy city of Mediterranean - Pompeii everything was going the same as usual: loudly citizens crowded on the main square were listening to promises of politicians, vendors were shouting, advertising their goods and prices, in the harbor ships were unloading their merchandise from all the ancient world.
But the 24th August, 79 BC was the death of this marvelous city and many of its inhabitants.  Unexpected and therefore very violent eruption of one of most famous Italian volcanoes – the Vesuvius,  buried the city under hot ashes and debris, killing before everyone with a cloud of hot fumes. Wonderful temples, public baths, gardens and luxurious villas. Public houses and shops – all deserted, covered in thick layer of ashes.  And so buried for centuries Pompeii was forgotten and lost to the world.

vesuvio-vulcans-in-Naples

A pure coincidence was the reason for its discovery in 1599. The Italian architect, Domenico Fontana, while digging the underground channel to divert the river Sarno he run into ancient walls covered with frescoes and inscriptions. But he recovered them with earth and nothing came out of his discovery.

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The first, true excavation had begun in 1748, when even the emperor Napoleon sent his team of archeologists. The buildings preserved in remarkably good conditions were hiding many surprises  - the ancient citizens, in a shock and panic were trying to flee, living behind most of their belongings, which today are exposed in the National Museum in Naples.  One of the most amazing discoveries were cavities left in hardened ashes by human bodies, which with time deteriorated, living empty space. Those filled with plaster are most dramatic proves of the tragedy – bodies frozen in same pose for centuries, covering their faces, trying to protect themselves and their beloved ones from toxic hot fumes and instant death.  There is even a plaster figure of a dog, probably forgotten in a cellar by its masters. Abandoned villas of most prominent citizens, shops and even brothels are great source of information about everyday life in Pompeii, where the time stands still for almost two thousand years. Precious frescoes, with colors still so fresh and vivid as painted yesterday tell the story of life, politics, culture and tragedy.

Herculaneum

Nowadays Pompeii is one of most visited and famous archeological sites in the world, as it was for last 250 years. Each year new buildings are being opened to the tourists, as well as other, smaller sites – Herculaneum, Stabiae and Villa Pompea, and are being visited by millions people from all over the world.
A visit to Pompeii is something you cannot miss while visiting  Campania, which has many other marvels to offer. Amalfi Coast, Sorrento and islands are easy to reach from many hotels. And here I would like to introduce to you:

Grand Hotel Capodimonte Sorrento

A luxurious and tranquil place, located on one of world’s most beautiful coastlines – Sorrento. Overlooking the Gulf of Naples and Gulf of Sorrento it is a perfect venue from where to visit treasures of southern Italy.

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