Pompei

History

Pompeii is located at the foot of Vesuvius, and the great volcano of Campania has irreparably changed its fate during the tragic eruption of 79 AD

The history of Pompeii , however, has too often been reduced only to the fateful date, forgetting the importance that this city had in previous centuries. Founded probably by descendants of the Pelasgians, Pompeii was conquered by Cuma in the sixth century BC and then became a Sannita in the middle of the V, until it became an ally of Rome and a member of the city, remaining faithful during the Punic Wars. Instead it was hostile to Rome during the social war and then conquered in 89 BC, becoming once and for all Roman, with the inhabitants citizens of the city in all respects, in the Menenia tribe. The official language of Pompeii , from the Oscan and the Greek becomes the Latin, but the real impulse to the Romanization happens with the rise to power of Augustus in 27 BC: Pompeii becomes the favorite holiday resort of the Roman patricians and the architecture begins to be inspired to the first emperor, for a period of peace and prosperity. In 62 AD, a large earthquake damaged Pompeii , and the restructuring began.

Less than twenty years later, on 24 August 79 AD, a giant pine-shaped cloud rises above the summit of Mount Vesuvius and a huge roar announces the breaking of the magma cap. Ashes and lapilli begin to rain on the city, burying it slowly, and the next day a pyroclastic flow, a very hot cloud of air, exterminates all the colors that had survived and had not escaped. After about a week the most famous eruption of the ancient world is over, and Pompeii lies under six meters of volcanic material. The number of deaths is around 1,600, because most of the population managed to escape the first stages of the eruption. Who saved was because he chose to get out of Porta Ercolano and embark, even if the sea was very agitated and most of the boats were destroyed. Even the great Roman writer and naturalist Pliny the Elder, fascinated by the phenomenon, from Miseno, where he was, goes too close to exhalations and dies at 56, with his nephew Pliny the Younger who will describe the eruption in famous pages. Many are buried in the collapses, others suffocated, and with the technique of the cast it was possible to see exactly what they were doing at the time of death: some cover their mouths, others try to escape with their jewels, some raise a hand, impotent in the face of the cataclysm, others are killed as they head for the gates of the city along with their entire slave procession.

fter the eruption, Tito, the emperor, interdicates the area to transit and then the city is no longer rebuilt, until the vegetation does not even bury the tops of the columns that had not been reused for new constructions and the highest points of the buildings and houses. After a first attempt by the emperor Alexander Severus to bring to light the ancient city, 1500 years later, in 1709, Prince Emanuele Maurizio di Lorena found ancient marble and columns in the construction of his palace: it was the ancient Herculaneum , destroyed like Pompeii by the eruption of Vesuvius. In 1748 the Bourbon dynasty, in search of ways to increase its prestige, had excavated the area of Pompeii by the engineers Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre, Karl Jakob Weber and Francisco la Vega, but only 15 years later it will be possible to confirm that it is just of Pompeii . From then on, in the following 250, the activity of the excavations of the ancient city continued , as still happens today; in 1997 the archaeological area , together with that of Herculaneum and Oplonti, became declared a World Heritage Site. In the meantime the new Pompeii was founded, founded in 1891 after the construction of the S antuario of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary of Pompeii .

Pompeii has a great importance in mass culture , and it is linked to many artistic projects: even today, great events are held near its ruins. Famous in 1972 was the Pink Floyd concert , without an audience, one of the most famous live of all time. Many films and fictions dedicated to Pompeii, up to the blockbuster of 2014, but the theme is so well known that there are almost every year works that tell the story of the destruction of the most famous volcano in history. Well known, for example, is also the song of the group of Bastille 2013, "Pompeii".

Needless to say, today tourism is by far the main economic activity of Pompeii , considering that more than two and a half million people visit the ruins every year, and therefore much of what can be done or bought even in the new city depends from this incredible tourist flow. For the rest, modern Pompeii is today a rather vital center not far from Castellammare di Stabia and Naples, and therefore also with regard to the typical products and gastronomy it is possible to try the typical specialties of the Campania region. But the proximity to the archaeological excavations and their incredible magnetic charm continues to attract the looks and thoughts of anyone who arrives here because few chests of history can be said to have preserved well as the ancient Pompeii , which one day in August 79 AD, within a few hours, from a large and luxurious ancient metropolis it simply ceased to exist.