Many travelers to Italy would never consider visiting Mount Vesuvius, unless they knew that one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites lay at its base. That site is the ancient city of Pompeii, which was destroyed when the volcano, called Mount Vesuvius, erupted in 79 AD.
To visit this area, Pompeii, and its volcano, Mount Vesuvius tourists need only to take the Naples rail service that runs along the base of Mount Vesuvius to the current city of Pompeii's Scavi stop. From there travelers can visit the ghostly and well preserved city of Pompeii.
Everyone must see Pompeii if they are visiting Italy. The 2000-year-old eruption that destroyed the city actually buried and preserved it under a thick layer of ash. It was found in 1748, and to this day, there are still excavations unearthing amazing discoveries of ancient Rome. The well-preserved wall frescoes and other personal items make it seem as if the city’s inhabitants will be home any moment.
The site now houses a museum that actually exhibits some of the city inhabitants immortalized on the day of their death. As the ash and soot from Mount Vesuvius showered down onto the city, people and animals were captured at the time of their death. Excavation workers poured liquid plaster into the cavities left by these preserved bodies in order to safeguard them while excavations progressed. To their surprise, the casts showed incredible details of the people of Pompeii. These life-like casts show animals and individuals in their last moments of life.
Roman history is preserved in Pompeii, and it is a window back in time to Roman life, architecture and even the city’s cobble streets, grand villas, homes, and businesses. Everything is preserved because of the Mount Vesuvius eruption.
The historical significance of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius was not solely because of the historical record it preserved in Pompeii. That August eruption destroyed three cities: Pompeii, Stabiae, and Herculaneum. A Roman by the name of Pliny recorded the events of the day and became the first to create an historical record of an eruption.
Mount Vesuvius is still an active volcano. Its last major eruption destroyed all the towns at its base in 1631. Since then there have been other eruptions, including 1944 when Allied forces were in Italy. Today, the volcano bubbles and smokes threatening the inhabitants at its base, however, with modern technology properties will be damaged but lives will be saved so that another Pompeii does not happen again.