An ancient city frozen in time
Buried under volcanic ash almost two thousand years ago, Pompeii is the most extensive and best preserved ancient Roman city in existence, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Overlooking the Bay of Naples, Pompeii was a prosperous and cosmpolitan city, home to as many as 20,000 people, when Vesuvius erupted in AD 79 and buried it under 6m of volcanic ash and pumice.
The ash solidified and kept the city below in a remarkable state of preservation, creating, in effect, a unique time capsule of life in the first century AD.
Pompeii was rediscovered in 1748, and painstaking excavations continue to reveal new areas of the Roman city every year. Today, Pompeii is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy, providing an unparalleled opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the ancient Romans and an unmissable experience for anyone on an Amalfi Coast yacht charter.
In the first century AD, Pompeii was a thriving port city, famous as both a hub of Mediterranean trade and a seaside holiday resort for wealthy Romans.
It was no stranger to natural disasters, however. A massive earthquake and subsequent fire severely damaged the city in AD 62, and seismic tremors in the months before Vesuvius errupted in AD 79 caused further destruction. Many houses and public buildings were still being repaired and redecorated at the time.
The volcanic errruption began on the morning of 24 August, and lasted for twenty-four hours, taking the population by surprise. Many tried to flee while others sheltered in their homes and were buried. The remains of around 1500 people have been found so far in Pompeii, but many more are thought to have perished here.
Plaster-casts have been made of some of the victims' bodies, a poignant and personal testimony of this tragedy, while organic material, found nowhere else from this period, also survived, including carbonised loaves of bread still in the baker's ovens.
There is nowhere quite like Pompeii. The opulent villas of the city's wealthiest citizens are still adorned with exquisite murals, their colours as bright as they were on that fateful day in AD 79. Amongst the most impressive are those in the Villa of the Mysteries, depicting devotees of Dionysus against a vivid Pompeiian red background.
Temples, theatres, bathhouses, paved streets, shops, all manner of business premises, private dwellings and even ribald graffiti scratched on the walls have all survived, offering visitors a tantalising glimpse into the daily lives of the people who lived here almost two thousand years ago.
If you are enjoying a private yacht charter on the Amalfi Coast or west coast of Italy, make sure you spend some time exploring Pompeii, which is sure to be one of the highlights of your vacation.