If you have ever watched a movie about the city of Pompeii, you know that the final credits almost always follow a scene where land, buildings and people are covered in a thick layer of volcanic debris. While that part of history is accurate, the city did not burn to the ground, rather it was buried for centuries until it was discovered by accident by a Naples architect.
Today, you will find the ruins of Pompeii near a modern town bearing the same name but with a different spelling. New Pompeii stands defiantly on a bed of dried lava near the mouth of the Sarno River in Italy, 150 miles south of Rome and few miles from Mount Vesuvius whose larva boiled hot, causing an entire ancient civilization to be eliminated.
Given its mythological and historical appeal, this city is a great destination for noted adventure travelers and history buffs like Ryan Kannett. It is also fairly close to the Roman cities of Naples and Sorrento, where adventure travelers can relax after their Pompeii excursions. The city is only one of five archeological sites in the region. As the larva poured, it froze in time a good portion of the city’s buildings and architecture, preserving them well. A hike of Pompeii takes approximately two to five hours, and during this span you can channel your inner Indiana Jones and get a clear depiction of how Romans lived in A.D. 79.
There isn’t a lot of vegetation in Pompeii, so you may not have places to shade yourself from the sun. Carrying a hat is a matter of absolute necessity on a Pompeii hike, so is wearing sunscreen and carrying lots of drinking water. Pompeii had a superb water system that supplied fresh water to the homes, water fountains and public baths of the city. These water ducts are still visible today, a testament to ancient Roman civilization and architecture. Many other Pompeii artifacts are stored at the National Museum of Archaeology in Naples.
Mt. Vesuvius, a tourist attraction in its own right, has had further eruptions since the annihilation of Pompeii, the last one occurring in 1944. Still the volcano is open to tourists as long as it remains calm. Take a 30-minute hike to the top of the mountain for a breathtaking view of the Bay of Naples and surrounding areas. Although the hike is short and very rewarding, the steep climb requires a fair amount of exertion, so only attempt the climb if you are not faint of heart. At the top of the volcano you will get an aerial view of the Pompeii ruins as you hear the wind whistling past cascading rocks that fall into the mountain’s cratered mouth. Sounds that some ancient Pompeii people heard for days leading up to the eruption but ignored until it was too late.