October 24, 79 BC
More than a date, it is a scar in history, like so many others.
A scar that has left a much more evident mark than the others, due to the lava of Vesuvius, which after having exploded and descended on the surroundings and on all those lives like a hot hand of death, has perfectly preserved everything it buried until today.
It was a day like any other in Pompeii.
A day that can be relived today by entering the archaeological area (the ticket costs 13 euros), walking through the alleys of the ancient city, in the shadow of the Vesuvius that passed the city’s death sentence.
It is full of wonderful views, on the roads and on the volcano. Glimpses that always leave a lump in the throat.
No wonder the site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most visited archaeological sites in the world.
During the month of October, it was also possible to go on the most suggestive night-time guided tours (you can check for dates and tickets here): the ticket cost 6 euros and you can relive the day of the eruption, accompanied by the guide, by the memories told by actors dressed in that time’s typical clothes. An exciting visit, able to bring tears to the eyes in some features.
Visit Pompeii Archaeological Site
What can be seen inside the dig?
The visit is a real walk to discover Pompeii. From the villas of the richest to the houses of the poorest, the spas, the gymnasium, the large amphitheater, the shops, the squares… Every place still has its frescoes, its objects, if you could listen to those walls they would whisper the words and history of those who lived there, until the day their life was inexorably cut short.
About that there is a whole place called The garden of the sleepers where you can still find the bodies that were submerged by lava and ash, in the same positions that they had when the tragedy struck them over two thousand years ago: bodies with eyes wide open with terror, with their hands in front of the mouth to try to protect themselves from smoke and ash, grimaces of pain, mothers trying to use their bodies to protect their children, couples hand in hand.
Many of the things found in the archaeological area are preserved in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, so if you spend a weekend in the area, take advantage of it, go and see the museum too (there also is an exhibition about erotic art in Pompeii and Herculaneum!).
The duration of the visit to the dig is up to you. If done right, it lasts at least half a day – so go with comfortable shoes, and maybe not in the hottest periods (there are a few shady areas) – but they are really well spent hours, filled with emotions and magic.