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"Few disasters in the world have provided so much pleasure to later generations." With this phrase, Wolfgang Goethe began documenting his memorable trip to Pompeii in 1787 in his journal.

Thanks to the initiatives of the Bourbon family, when Goethe visited they had already been carrying out systematic excavations for about 30 years on the cities that had been buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in the year 79 AD. Before then for almost seventeen centuries, a ten-meter-high layer of lapilli and solidified mud had hidden Pompeii, Ercolano, and the other cities that had been affected by the eruption. The uncovering of these centers has brought an awesome series of discoveries to light, and the excavations are still ongoing today. The archaeological discoveries have revealed virtually every detail and every moment of existence of the daily life of well-to-do Roman towns of the first century AD.

Pompeii has become a landmark: whenever an abandoned city is discovered, whether "forgotten" for natural or human reasons, it is immediately compared to the "real" Pompeii on the slopes of Vesuvius. The fatal eruption took place on August 24th of the year 79 AD: we know this thanks to two letters by the writer and naturalist Pliny the Younger, who described the event in detail.

Keep in mind that Vesuvius is a still-active volcano, although no particularly significant eruptions have occurred since 1944. The peak of what the Neapolitans simply call "the mountain" reaches 1281 meters in height and adds an unmistakable aspect to the panorama of the Gulf of Naples.


FUN FACT: Pompeii was full of shops; in fact, it had more shops than houses. Unlike today, at that time men were the ones to go shopping at the market, and were accompanied by servants.

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