The city of Pompeii was an ancient Roman town-city near modern Naples in the Italian region of Campania, in the territory of the comune of Pompei.
Pompeii along with Herculaneum and many villas in the surrounding area, were mostly destroyed and buried under 4 to 6 metres (13 to 20 ft) of ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.
The eruption was cataclysmic for the town. Evidence for the destruction originally came from a surviving letter by Pliny the Younger, who saw the eruption from a distance and described the death of his uncle Pliny the Elder, an admiral of the Roman fleet, who tried to rescue citizens. The site was lost for about 1500 years until its initial rediscovery in 1599.
The objects that lay beneath the city have been well preserved for thousands of years because of the lack of air and moisture. These artifacts provide an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of a city during the Pax Romana.
Pompeii has been a tourist destination for over 250 years. Today it has UNESCO World Heritage Site status and is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Italy, with approximately 2.5 million visitors every year.
In 1971, the rock band Pink Floyd recorded the live concert film Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii, performing six songs in the ancient Roman amphitheatre in the city. The audience consisted only of the film’s production crew and some local children.
(c) R J Dent 2013