Interesting Facts about Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius

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Pompeii is an ancient Roman city that was buried in ash when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD.

This disaster changed Pompeii’s fate and preserved its buildings, art, and everyday items until they were discovered recently.

In this article, we will learn some interesting facts about Pompeii, including how its people lived, worked, and played before the volcano’s sudden explosion.

If you are unsure about adding Pompeii to your Italy itinerary, by the end of it, you will book Pompeii tickets before any other Italian site!

1. It was Greek before the Roman 

Pompeii is famous as an ancient Roman city, but according to researchers, it was actually founded, ruled and inhabited by the Ancient Greeks.

Although they are not sure of the exact dates on which the Greeks occupied it, certain evidence supports this.

One such piece of evidence is the Greek Doric Temple fragments that date back to the 6th century BC.

Also, some of the oldest buildings found in Pompeii were designed by Greek settlers.

Overall, this means that the Greeks lived there and influenced its early development before it became part of the Roman Empire. 

2. Pompeii was a Lavish City

Pompeii was not just any ordinary city – it was a place of luxury and wealth where rich people lived and enjoyed a lavish lifestyle.

Archaeologists have discovered some of the most beautiful buildings, impressive houses, fancy decorations and balconies where wealthy residents lived.

They have also found coins, fancy horses with special accessories, and well-preserved paintings of gods and goddesses on the walls.

Besides this, there were also places for less noble activities, like gambling and visiting brothels.

So, it can be concluded that even years ago, people in Pompeii enjoyed luxury.

3. Facts about Pompeii Eruption

The tragic incident at Pompeii due to the eruption is known to all. However, here are some secret facts about it that you might not know!

Unaware of Volcano:

Do you know that the residents of Pompeii were not aware that Mount Vesuvius was a volcano?

Since it hadn’t erupted for many years before 79 AD, locals might have considered it just another mountain, unaware of its potential danger.

Unknown Eruption Date:

The exact date when Mount Vesuvius erupted and destroyed Pompeii is quite a mystery.

While a Roman writer named Pliny the Younger mentioned it on 14 August 79 AD, recent findings suggest it might have happened in October or November. 

Unexpected Wind Direction:

On the day of the eruption, the wind blew in an unusual direction, directly towards Pompeii City.

Normally, the wind would have blown the ash and debris away from the city.

However, due to the sudden change in wind direction, Pompeii was covered in volcanic ash and remained hidden for years.

Future Eruption Risk:

Mount Vesuvius, the volcano responsible for Pompeii’s destruction, is still active. 

Between 79 AD and 1944, Mt. Vesuvius experienced 27 serious eruptions.

It last erupted in 1944, during the time of World War II.

Even then, residents of nearby villages and soldiers acted swiftly to evacuate, but sadly, 26 Italian civilians lost their lives, and almost 12,000 people were displaced.

While the exact timing of its next eruption is uncertain, authorities constantly monitor its activity and believe that it might erupt again.

Also, strict evacuation procedures are in place to ensure the safety of nearby residents and visitors.

So, why wait? Book your Pompeii tickets now and visit it before its next eruption!

4. Pompeii was Discovered Recently

Did you know that Pompeii remained buried and was undiscovered for approximately 1,500 years after its destruction in 79 AD?

The city was accidentally rediscovered in 1599 during the digging of a water tunnel.

However, Pompeii’s real excavation and systematic exploration didn’t begin until the 1700s.

Since its rediscovery, Pompeii has become the world’s largest archaeological site, attracting researchers, historians, and tourists from around the world. 

5. Herculaneum was also Impacted by Viuvius 

The eruption also impacted Herculaneum, another ancient Roman city near Pompeii at the foot of Mount Vesuvius.

Herculaneum was a thriving Roman city with rich villas, luxurious baths, and a population of about 5,000.

The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD buried both Pompeii and Herculaneum under layers of volcanic ash and debris.

However, Herculaneum suffered a different fate compared to Pompeii.

Pompeii was primarily covered by ash, and Herculaneum was covered by a fast-moving cloud of hot gas, ash, and volcanic rock with pyroclastic flow.

Due to this flow, the temperature reached up to 500 degrees Celsius (932 degrees Fahrenheit) and preserved many buildings and artifacts in Herculaneum in a remarkable state.

While Pompeii was discovered in 1748, Herculaneum was unearthed earlier in 1709.

Both stand as UNESCO World Heritage Sites today, offering insights into ancient Roman life and culture.

6. Facts about the People of Pompeii 

Today, humans have evolved, and we use new techniques and ways to live our lives.

However, if you learn about the people who lived in Pompeii, you’ll be surprised at how similar and yet different their lives were from ours.

Eating out was Popular: 

Like today, people in Pompeii loved eating out. They had places called Thermopolis, which are like today’s snack bars.

Thermopolis were the counters along the street, with big jars filled with food and drinks.

It was common for Pompeians to have their midday meal at these places, grabbing a quick bite while going about their day.

Hollywood Smiles:

The people of Pompeii had great smiles, just like the Hollywood celebs!

Even though they lived a long ago, their teeth were in excellent shape.

This was because they ate foods that were good for their teeth, like lots of fiber and low-sugar foods.

Also, the water in Pompeii had fluorine, which helped keep their teeth healthy.

Graffiti on the Walls:

If you think graffiti is something new, think again!

Pompeii was completely covered in graffiti (the writing or drawings on walls, especially in public places) but not of the modern kind.

This graffiti was from before the city was destroyed.

It wasn’t just scribbles; it was like messages from the past, telling stories about daily life, making announcements, or even talking about elections.

Seeing this graffiti tells us how evolved the people in Pompeii were! 

7. Researchers Made Plaster Casts of the Victims

Researchers Made Plaster Casts of the Victims

During the excavation of Pompeii, researchers discovered voids in the ash where human bodies lay during the eruption.

To preserve these imprints of the past, Italian architect Giuseppe Fiorelli found a method in 1863 to create plaster casts of the victims.

He insisted on carefully injecting plaster into the voids left by decomposed bodies to capture the final moments of the Pompeian residents in stunning detail.

These plaster casts provide insights into the positions and expressions of the victims at the time of their demise.

These plaster casts can be seen in Pompeii exhibitions to understand the human impact of the volcanic eruption.

8. Pliny told about Pompeii

Did you know that all the information and facts about Pompeii and its history we know today largely came from the letters of Pliny the Younger, a teenager who lived near the city during the eruption?

In these letters, addressed to a historian, Pliny gave details of the tragic events.

He described how the Romans tried to protect themselves from volcanic ash and toxic gases by covering their heads with their hands. 

Pliny also mentioned his uncle, Pliny the Elder, who bravely attempted to help the people evacuate from the area.

9. Famous in Pop Culture

Pompeii might be ancient, but it’s still famous in today’s pop culture! You might have seen or heard about it in movies, TV shows, songs, and even video games.

The popular band Bastille also has a song called “Pompeii.” Its lead singer, Dan Smith, said it’s about two burned bodies talking about the city.

In addition to songs, it also appeared in an episode of The Simpsons called “Italian Bob,” where they find a bunch of old Roman people who look just like them!

Also, a famous book, “The Last Days of Pompeii,” written in 1834, inspired many movies in Italy, Britain, and France.

10. Pink Floyd in Pompeii

Pink Floyd in Pompeii

Back in 1972, the famous English rock Band Pink Floyd made history by recording a live performance at Pompeii’s Amphitheater.

The band played several songs from their albums, including “Echoes,” “One of These Days,” and “A Saucerful of Secrets.”

Even though there wasn’t an audience there, the amphitheater created an incredible sound environment.

The resulting album, titled “Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii,” was released later and became a cult classic.  

Some More Fun facts about Pompeii

Besides these serious ones, do you know these fun facts about Pompeii?

  • Wealthy Pompeiians hosted lavish dinner parties in the late afternoon and evening to impress guests with expensive tableware and entertainment like acrobatics and music.
  • Only male citizens had the right to vote in Pompeii.
  • Pompeii had thirty-three bakeries with Roman ovens similar to modern pizza ovens, where loaves were baked in the ashes after a wood or charcoal fire was burned inside.
  • After exercising, bathers in Pompeii had oil and sweat scraped from their bodies, often done by slaves. 
  • Urine was used in the first stage of cloth cleaning in Pompeii. It was collected in pots left in the streets for passersby before being washed, stamped in water and filled with earth.

After these interesting facts about Pompeii, are you planning to visit it? If yes, check out these best-sold tickets for additional discounts today!


1. Why was Pompeii destroyed?

2. How quickly was Pompeii buried?

3. Can Pompeii erupt again?

4. What do we know about the people of Pompeii?

5. What kind of city was Pompeii?

6. How many people were killed in Pompeii?

7. Are the casts still in Pompeii?

8. Did anybody survive Pompeii?

9. What was unusual about the bodies found in Pompeii?

10. Who told the story of Pompeii?

11. Who first discovered Pompeii?

12. Which volcano destroyed Herculaneum?

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Facts about Pompeii

Get to know some fascinating facts about Pompeii here!

A journey to Italy wouldn’t be complete without visiting this ancient Roman city and marveling at how life there used to be.

No one knows the exact date of the eruption.

For a long time, it was believed that the date of the accident was August 24th.

However, researchers have discovered that the food and clothing preserved in the ash point to a colder season, perhaps October or November.

Pompeii is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Pompeii was designated as a World Heritage Site in the year 1997.

It provides a complete example of Roman life, architecture, community, and history. 

If you are in Italy, you must visit it, and a Pompeii trip from Rome is the ideal way to do it.

The greeks once resided here.

Many researchers believe that Pompeii was ruled and inhabited by the ancient Greeks before becoming a Roman town.

While the precise dates of the occupation by the greeks are unknown, Pompeii does include ruins of a Greek Doric Temple.

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