Port Spotlight: Pompeii, Italy

[caption id="attachment_16827" align="aligncenter" width="550"] "Veduta Scavi Pompei 3" by Mentnafunangann - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Situated near Naples, Italy, Pompeii is a legendary destination with one of the most fascinatingly preserved histories in the world.

Ancient Pompeii was a prosperous provincial center with an estimated population of 20,000. An earthquake destroyed much of the town in 63 AD. Rebuilding was still in process when the volcano erupted again 16 years later. The whole town was buried beneath more than 20 feet of ash and pumice stone.

Many residents were killed by lethal sulphur fumes or struck by lava and pumice stone that rained down upon the city, but others escaped. Abandoned until the 18th century, Pompeii was frozen in time until excavations revealed this amazing archaeological site. Plaster was poured into empty spaces in the lava to make body casts of some of the victims, such as a young man stretched out to protect his mother and the famous twisted body of a dog still tethered by its chain.

The eruption of Vesuvius on August 24, 79 A.D. not only preserved structures but also evidence of the ancient way of life, such as a fully-equipped tavern with the last customer’s money still on the counter. Admire the luxurious mansions and fabulous art of wealthy patricians who came to Pompeii to escape the turmoil in Rome. Their houses were designed around an inner garden with few windows on the exteriors, so residents could forget the outside world and get sunlight from their own courtyards. Visit some of the more modest homes, and explore ancient baths, temples, theaters, markets and the huge forum.

Check it out on a Star Clippers excursion this summer!

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