Four-fifths (4/5) of the territory of Pompeii have been allready excaved. It is the most famous archaeological site all over the world. The tremendous eruption of the Vesuvius covered the city on 79 A.C. under 6-7 m of ashes, cinders and pomice. Most of the inhabitants of the city that could run away died near the coast. Others instead died suffocated in the undergrounds of the houses. To take a walk through the excavations of Pompeii is an unforgettable experience, like a real trip through the times, breathing the atmosphere of the public and private life during the antiquity. It is surprising how many houses is possible to find there, luxurious and humble ones, conserved together with stores, taverns and bakeries. It permits the visitors to take a look into the most intime aspects of the life of those inhabitants of Pompeii.
Pompeii has ancient origins as those of Rome, and only after the mid-seventh century BC, a primitive settlement was established on the future site of Pompeii at the foot of Vesuvius, maybe not a real town, but more likely a small cluster around the commercial node that showed the intersection of three major roads, modeled in full historical period by the way from Cumae, Nola and Castellammare.
As an obligatory passage point between north and south, Pompeii soon became a prey to the powerful neighboring states, given its importance as a crossroads and port. It was conquered for the first time by the Greek colony of Cuma.
The first traces of a settlement of some importance date from the sixth century BC, although in this period the city, still quite small, does not reveal the need for use of a master plan and it seems the result of an aggregation of 'buildings rather messy and spontaneous.
The battle lost by the Etruscans in the waters facing against Cumans Cumae and Syracuse (mid-fifth century BC), Pompeii brought under the hegemony of Greek. Probably at this time the entire plateau was fortified with walls of tuff that contained more than sixty acres, although the city itself did not reach even the ten-hectare.
In the fourth century, Pompeii was involved in the Samnite Wars (at the end of which Rome was the undisputed lady of the Campania region) and was forced to accept the social condition of Rome, maintaining however linguistic and institutional autonomy. It dates from the fourth century that the first regular layout of the city.
During the Second Punic War Pompeii remained faithful to Rome, unlike many other cities of Campania, and was able to maintain its partial independence.
In the second century BC the intensive cultivation of land and the consequent massive export of wine and oil brought in the big city wealth and high living standards.
At the outbreak of the Social War (91 BC) was an ally against Rome, Pompeii, along with other towns of Campania, in an attempt to get the full Roman citizenship. But it was impossible to resist the superior military might of Rome in 89 BC Sulla, after having toppled Stabiae, left for Pompeii, which attempted a vigorous defense by strengthening the city walls and using the aid of the Celts. Any attempt at resistance proved futile and the city soon fell. In 80 BC completely and entered the orbit of Rome, Sulla moved there a colony of veterans who took the name of Cologne Venerea Pompeianorum Sillana. The allocation of land to veterans took some to the detriment of the people who most bitterly opposed Sulla. Nevertheless, the political and military did not affect in a decisive way on the welfare and commercial sull'intraprendenza of Pompeii (especially when the export of wines from Campania) and also very interested in remote areas. For the healthy climate and the beauty of the landscape, the city and its surroundings also formed a pleasant resort for some wealthy Romans.
On 24 August 79 A.D. (The year of the reign of Emperor Titus) Pompeii was the victim of a violent eruption of Vesuvius. The city was flooded by a rain of ash and lapilli (not lava, as is often the law) that, unless an interval of several hours, fell to form a continuous layer of more than three meters. At the time of the 79, many buildings were being rebuilt because of an earthquake that occurred a few days before.
The first excavations in Pompeii there were from 1748, by order of Charles III of Bourbon as a result of the success of the finds at Herculaneum. The explorations were soon abandoned because of poor recoveries and resumed only in 1754, in 1763, thanks to the discovery of an epigraph, speaking of the Res Publica Pompeianorum clearly, it was felt that it was the ancient city of Pompeii. With Maria Carolina, wife of Ferdinand IV, and the engineer Francesco La Vega, part of the city, as the theater district, the temple of Isis, the Triangular Forum, several homes and cemeteries were reported fully in the light and not buried, but remained visible, it was during the French rule, led by Joachim Murat and his wife Carolina, that excavations enjoyed a moment of good fortune, the city wall was found and brought back almost entirely to light the area of Porta Ercolano also thanks to the publications took from Carolina's fame grew throughout Europe Pompeii.
With the return of the Bourbons in Naples, the excavations went through a period of stagnation, following the unification of Italy and especially thanks to a little more cash, under the direction of Giuseppe Fiorelli, we witnessed a rapid recovery of the investigation, so ordered, with the first division of the city and regiones islets and in 1863 was introduced the technique of the casts, while between 1870 and 1885, was compiled the first map of the entire area of Pompeii.
During the twentieth century, with Vittorio Spinazzola before and after Amedeo Maiuri, were completed most of the excavations near the Herculaneum Gate, the southern part of town and the Villa of the Mysteries, as he undertook important sessions of investigation along Via dell 'abundance. Starting in the 60s were necessary renovations to existing buildings, which have greatly slowed new excavations, partly because of economic problems. In 1980 the site was severely damaged by the earthquake in Irpinia. Between the '90s and '10s of the new millennium, new excavations were concentrated in the area of Regional IX, even though many funds were diverted to conservation and restoration of monuments already excavated. In 1997 the archaeological area entered in the UNESCO World Heritage Site
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