Pompeii is located in the Campania region of Southern Italy. It is mostly known for the fact that a nearby volcano, Mount Vesuvis, erupted violently (79 CE) destroying the city.
Experts once believed that the eruption date was August 24. But recent revelations caused many experts to shift that to October 24. Regardless, in 79 CE, when Vesuvius erupted. Most of the 20,000 residents heeded the warning signs and fled town. Those who remained, about 2,000, did so at their own risk. They were either unwilling or unable to take the necessary steps to save themselves.
Small eruptions probably began in the morning. Then at around 1 pm, more significant eruptions started spewing ash, gas, and steam high into the air, forming a column over nine miles high. By nightfall, the column fell hot and fast in the form of a pyroclastic flow. At more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, this flow inundated the nearby town of Herculaneum with hot poisonous gases swiftly killing all remaining residents. The fumes asphyxiated them while the heat burned their bodies.
For six hours, the primary eruption rose 20 miles into the atmosphere. It came down in a pyroclastic flow that burned and suffocated Pompeiians. More pumice and ash fell, and violent blasts continued for 30 hours in total.
The initial rediscovery of the ruins was by chance. Deep into the 18th century, a local farmer was digging away on his land when he came across a cavern. It just so happened to lead to the hidden city.
Archaeologists have unearthed 60 hectares of the city in the years since its initial discovery. Among the artifacts that have surfaced to date include entire villas, mosaics, pottery, frescoes, temples, shops, and art.
Today, the ruins of Pompeii attract global visitors who wander through its streets, learn about its history, and explore its villas.