Archeological Sites

The Eruption of Vesuvius

On the morning of August 24, A.D. 79, a great noise was heard in the area around Vesuvius. A mushroom shaped cloud of gas and volcanic rock rose high in the air, darkening the sky. A shower of burning cinders and rock fragments covered Pompei. It lasted until the next day, caving in roofs and claiming its first victims.

The Pompeians tried to take shelter in the houses or hoped to escape by walking on top of the layers of pumice stones constantly being formed, which by this point were more than 2 meters deep. But at dawn on August 25, a violent explosion of toxic gases and burning cinders devastated the city. It infiltrated everything, taking those who were trying to flee by surprise and making every form of defense vain. A shower of very fine ash was deposited everywhere to a depth of more than six meters, enveloping everything and adhering to the forms of the bodies and even the folds of their clothes. When, two days later, the fury of the elements abated, the entire area had a different aspect: a white blanket covered everything; the Sarno river was trying to find its course again after having been filled with volcanic rubble; and the coast, submerged by the material spewed forth by Vesuvius, had encroached on the sea! The whole city was declared off limits, to protect the property of the survivors, but clandestine diggers tried to plunder it anyway. For a long time the human presence was rare and marginal, and only under the emperor Hadrian, around 120 A.D., was at least the road system in the area reopened to traffic.
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We have an eye-witness report of the catastrophe in a letter from Pliny the Younger to the Roman historian Tacitus, in which he tells about the death of his uncle, Pliny the Elder, as he was trying to bring aid to the devastated cities. If you would like to hear it, press 103 and then play.
The Excavation of Pompeii is far from our bed and breakfast only 1 Km and the Vesuvius only 14 km.
 

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History of the Excavation

History of the Excavation

Carlo di Borbone began excavations in 1748, as a way of increasing the fame and prestige of his nascent Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
Digging proceeded sporadically, here and there at random; it was several years before the site was identified as Pompeii, and even then there was no systematic town plan. The first features to be exposed were part of the necropolis outside Porta Ercolano, the temple of Isis and part of the theatres quarter.
During the French occupation of Naples, 1806-1815, there was much more activity on the site, but with the restoration of the Bourbons excavations gradually slowed down again. Work was concentrated on the area of the amphitheatre and the Forum, as well as around Porta Ercolano and the theatres. The discovery of the House of the Faun containing the large mosaic depicting Alexander the Great in battle caught the imagination of people all over Europe ollowing the Unification of Italy in 1861, the appointment of Giuseppe Fiorelli as director marked a turning-point in the excavations. From now on the site was explored systematically, linking up the various features that had been exposed, detailed records were kept, and the wall paintings were left in situ, rather than being detached and taken to the museum in Naples.
Fiorelli pioneered the practice of taking plaster casts, which gave dramatic substance to the victims of the eruption. From the early years of the 20th century the explorations spread eastwards along the ancient town’s principal streets, and more attention was paid to the remains of the upper floors of buildings.
In the years 1924 to 1961 the excavations were supervised by Amedeo Maiuri. This period of intense activity saw the discovery of prestigious buildings such as the Villa of the Mysteries, the complete recognition of the ancient town’s perimeter, the excavation of most of Regio I and II and the necropolis of Porta Nocera, and the start of a methodical exploration of the strata lying below the level of 79 AD, to throw light on Pompeii’s past.
Over recent years excavation work has been scaled down, in order to concentrate the limited resources available (by no means sufficient even for this objective) on restoring and maintaining the buildings which have already been exposed.
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The bed and breakfast Pompei IL FAUNOis just 1 Km from the main entrance of the excavations of Pompeii and just 500 metres from the Circumvesuviana train, from which you can reach in few minutes the other archaeological sites: Ercolano, Oplonti, Stabia and the Antiquarium of Boscoreale! The garden of fugitives is waiting for you!

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