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Pompeii: A Fading Gem of Italy

November 14, 2011 - 2:24am
Pompeii: A Fading Gem of Italy
The eruption of Mount Vesuvius preserved the city of Pompeii for nearly 2,100 years, but the ancient city may not be around much longer. In recent years, there have been a number of collapses around the famous site, but it is still perfectly safe for tourists to walk along the stone paths. Most buildings are inaccessible to tourists, but the few that are open to the public are not in danger of destruction.

The ancient town was perfectly preserved in 79 A.D., when Mount Vesuvius erupted. More than 20,000 people were killed by the lava and ash that choked the air and buried the city. The artwork and possessions left behind were uncovered in near-perfect condition.The Schola Armaturarum, a large building that had once been used to train gladiators, disintegrated overnight and a number of walls and other structures have crumbled in heavy rains. This has prompted the European Union to donate $145 million to preserve the historic site.

However, there's no telling how long preservation efforts will be able to keep the city alive, which makes it especially important for visitors to schedule a stop in Pompeii on their Italy tours. Curious visitors will definitely want to see the town that was frozen in time more than 2,000 years ago - before it disappears.