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Pompeii - Italy

Pompeii Preserved bodies, PompeiiVesuvius from PompeiiPompeii RuinsAmphitheatre, Pompeii

The ruins of Pompeii are huge and still only partially excavated. The entire town was buried under hot ash and rock in 79 AD and so is an extremely well preserved example of Roman life. Currently two-thirds of the city has been uncovered and this is more than enough for a full day's exploration - there's just too much to take in in one go.

Entering the city feels like stepping back in time. walking the streets is much like walking through a city anywhere - the main thoroughfares are busy, but once amongst the back lanes there are hardly any visitors. Through the broken walls you can catch occasional glimpses of the new town, as well as the ever present Vesuvius, dominating the skyline and ominously threatening more destruction.

The houses and shops have a surprisingly modern feel, the quality of brickwork and attention to detail is incredible. There are intricately mosaicked floors and patterned walls and almost every building has something interesting to look at and appreciate.

There are a huge number of larger public buildings, temples and baths but there are hidden treasures amongst every private house. The large theatre complex is fantastic as is the huge amphitheatre and all are very well preserved. These give a glimpse into Roman leisure time, as do the many food outlets and shops located throughout the city.

The ruins of Pompeii are an amazing place to visit, with a really strange feel to the town. It's extremely busy in places and very hot during the day, although it's easy to lose the main crowds amongst the back streets as they tend to focus on the more famous buildings.

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