The lost city of Pompeii is ingrained in popular culture – it’s been featured in films, television series and even songs. But how much do you actually know about it? Put your knowledge to the test with these 10 mind-blowing Pompeii facts.
1. It was originally Greek
Pompeii was famously a Roman city, right? Well, yes, but the Romans might not have been there first – some of the oldest structures unearthed in Pompeii appear to have been designed by ancient Greek settlers.
2. Nobody knows exactly when Vesuvius erupted
It’s generally accepted that the devastating eruption of Vesuvius happened in 79 AD. For a long time, it was believed that the date of the disaster was August 24th, based on a written record made by Pliny the Younger – a Roman writer who witnessed the event from across the Bay of Naples. But archaeologists have found that the clothing and food preserved in the ash suggest a colder season, possibly October or November. Debate continues …
Mount Vesuvius overlooks the ruins of Pompeii
3.They didn’t know it was a volcano
This one is up for debate, with some historians claiming that Pompeii’s residents knew exactly what they were dealing with – but others say that as it hadn’t erupted for so many years prior to 79 AD, local residents could easily have thought Vesuvius was just another mountain!
4. The wind usually blows the other way
The people of ancient Pompeii really were unlucky. On almost any other day, the prevailing wind would have blown the ash from Vesuvius away from them – but on the day of the eruption, it just so happened that the wind was blowing directly towards Pompeii.
5. People within a certain radius were instantly killed by the heat alone
… and then preserved for centuries by the falling ash.
6. Pompeii remained undiscovered for 1,500 years
The city was unearthed by accident during the digging of a water tunnel in 1599. Real excavation didn’t begin until the 1700s.
Since its discovery, Pompeii has been a popular archaeological site and parts are now open to tourists.
7. The ruins of the city are covered in graffiti
And some of it is on the rude side! The people of Pompeii certainly had a sense of humour.
8. Researchers made plaster casts of the victims
As they were unearthing the city, archaeologists noticed that there were empty spaces in the ash layers, showing where there had once been human bodies. As they dug through the ash, they injected plaster into these voids, which solidified in the shape of the space. In this way, replicas were made of the positions people were in when they died.
9. Pompeii is now the world’s largest archaeological site
It covers a vast 150 acres!
Let Avventure Bellissime tell you about this famous ancient city!
10. Vesuvius will erupt again
Its most recent eruption was in 1944, killing 26 people. Nowadays, the Italian authorities are constantly monitoring the volcano’s activity, and there are strict evacuation procedures in place – but no one knows for sure when they’ll be needed.
If you would like to experience this enchanting ancient city for yourself, Avventure Bellissime would love to be your guide! We offer a private Naples to Pompeii trip ideal for groups; or why not combine Pompeii with some of Italy’s most stunning coastal scenery with our exclusive Rome to Pompeii and Amalfi Coast trip?!