The End of Pompeii, the beginning of our history
The story begins like this: 79 AD, a mountain, unsuspected, which thanks to its fertile land gave so much to the population that had settled on its slopes, suddenly explodes in a hellish roar. A rain of ashes, gas and lapilli falls over the city of Pompeii, followed by a river of lava that submerges and burns everything.
The history of the Ruins of Pompeii
The city was completely buried and its traces were lost – and ignored – for centuries, until, in 1748, under the reign of Charles III of Bourbon, excavations began , and they brought to light the archaeological heritage that we know today.
Unfortunately, the importance of this discovery was not immediately understood, and in the beginning the excavation was concentrated only on the search for some “trinkets” and furnishings to fill the museums or to decorate the royal palaces. This is why the domus found were literally looted and then left to neglect.
It was only many years later, with the arrival of the principality of the Savoy, that the importance and beauty of this heritage began to be realized and systematic excavations were started which aimed to unearth ancient Pompeii and all its beauties. They begun to search the perimeter of the city, for giving an esteem of its dimensions, and above all it changed the method of recovery of the assets: the paintings, the mosaics and great part of the objects found were left on the place; the columns, the masonries and the structures were restored and the houses were covered by roofs in order to avoid the degradation. The main goal was that to rebuild the ancient setting of the civis. It was attempted, in short, to make the city live again instead of steal from it the pieces of humanity that it kept. And that’s how the magic begins.
The project catchs on fast and reaches its maximum activity when in 1924 it is entrusted to the care of Amedeo Maiuri, to whom we owe much of the work we can see today. The name of this archaeologist, whose tomb is kept in the municipal cemetery of Pompeii, is very dear to us Pompeians.
From the 1700s till now, however, the excavations have never stopped, and the city continues to give birth to new domus, new attractions and fascinating discoveries. The only sore point is the fact that the ancient city was largely “covered” by the new one: many public houses, in fact, arise on land that hides, in its bowels, who knows what other beauties belonging to the past. For this reason, the perimeter of the archaeological site of Pompeii is currently stuck … but what is visible is already something immensely extraordinary: walking through the streets of this ancient city you can admire houses, shops, taverns, vases, common objects and even people who more than 2000 years ago have been destined to spend here their eternity.
The current Mount Vesuvius was not the true architect of the destruction of Pompeii. It was in fact Mount Somma, which now rises to the side of the main crater (that little “tooth”, to be clear) to explode in 79 AD and become the executioner of the history of Ancient Pompeii. The famous Vesuvius, then, is only a secondary crater born after the lava sedimentations after many substantial eruptions of the original volcano, until the last one, in 1944.