Pompeii: Italy’s Lost City

The lost city of Pompeii is one of the world’s most important archaeological sites.

The ancient city of Pompeii sits close to Naples in South Italy, in the shadow of the epic Mount Vesuvius – a volcano that is now considered to be dormant. In 79 AD Mount Vesuvius erupted, destroying Pompeii and covering the city in a thick blanket of ash. The ash served to preserve the city, and its unfortunate inhabitants, and today gives visitors the chance to take a glimpse back in time on a Pompeii tour.

History of Pompeii

Pompeii ruinsResearchers believe that Pompeii was founded in the 7th or 6th century BC by the Osci, but fell to Rome in the 4th century BC. Then, it was a thriving Roman town, with an amphitheatre and port. However, in 79 AD the long and catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius destroyed Pompeii, killing more than 2000 inhabitants. As the eruption calmed, Pompeii was cover in a thick layer of ash and pumice, which hid the city for near 1500 years.

Evidence for Pompeii originally came from a surviving letter by Pliny the Younger, who witnessed the eruption and described the events. However, the city wasn’t uncovered until 1599, with the rediscovery effort stretching until 1748.

Upon its rediscovery, archaeologists found that Pompeii had been preserved by the ash in rare detail. Everyday items were discovered, such as jars and tables, as well as paintings and sculptures. Chillingly, the ash also preserved the unfortunate inhabitants of Pompeii – freezing them in time at the moment that they died. Researchers used plaster to fill the voids in the ash layers, creating plaster casts of people, animals and even plants, which can be viewed on a Pompeii tour.

Today, Pompeii is considered one of the world’s most important archaeological sites and is UNESCO-protected. It is one of Italy’s most popular tourist attractions, welcoming around 2.5 million visitors each year as it offers an unprecedented opportunity to journey back in time and see how people lived nearly 2000 years ago.

Main Attractions to Discover on a Pompeii Tour

Pompeii archaeological sitePompeii’s attractions are diverse, with dwellings, paintings, temples and ancient baths to discover. The main Pompeii attractions that we recommend viewing on a Pompeii tour are:

  • House of the Gladiators (the building collapsed in 2010 but can still be viewed from the outside)
  • Eumachia
  • House of Julia Felix
  • House of Loreius Tiburtinus
  • House of Menander
  • House of Sallust
  • House of the Tragic Poet
  • House of the Vettii, Lupanar
  • Macellum of Pompeii
  • Suburban Baths
  • Temple of Isis

We also recommend paying your respects at the “Garden of the Fugitives” on the south-east side of Pompeii as this is where plaster casts of several victims (sadly, including children) are on display. The plants in this garden have also been reconstructed to match ancient growth, allowing your imagination to visualise how Pompeii once looked on your Pompeii tour.

However, do note that the ancient city is a large archaeological site and is difficult to navigate if you are not familiar with the area. For this reason, we recommend pre-arranging a Pompeii tour so that you can be sure of seeing the best that this lost city has to offer.

Cruises to Pompeii

Several of our Italy luxury cruises give you the opportunity to visit the archaeological site of Pompeii. As a part of our customised service, we can arrange a Pompeii tour for you with transportation to the archaeological site from the port of Sorrento. Here are some of our favourite Italy cruises that can be tailored to include a Pompeii tour:

For more cruise options, please click here to browse our Mediterranean cruise packages. Or, for cruises that allow you to visit Pompeii, please use the search bar at the top of the page to search “Pompeii”.