Centuries after a sudden volcanic explosion destroyed the city of Pompeii, travelers to the area can learn about this legendary site, thanks to the reopening of its museum. Having suffered damage from a World War II bombing and 1980 earthquake, Pompeii’s museum — known as the Antiquarium — closed its doors for decades. Now, it has reopened with impressive artifacts, teaching visitors about life in this ancient Roman city.
Antiquarium gives Pompeii a permanent exhibition space, where visitors can see sections of frescoed walls from the city’s excavated villas, examples of some of the graffiti unearthed by archaeologists, and a variety of household objects such as silver spoons, the Associated Press reports.
First opened in 1873, the Antiquarium was closed in 1980 and remained that way until 2016, when it began housing temporary exhibits. Now fully open, officials of the archeological park of Pompeii’s ruins inaugurated the museum on Monday, the AP reports.
Currently, only visitors from Italy’s Campania region can experience the museum, due to Italy’s COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions. Once these restrictions are eventually lifted, tickets for the Pompeii ruins will also include entrance to the museum.
The reopening is “a sign of great hope during a very difficult moment,” Pompeii’s director, Massimo Osanna, told the AP. Though the museum is filled with artifacts that depict the life of Pompeians before the tragic explosion of Mount Vesuvius, there is one room that Osanna thinks is especially memorable.
“I find particularly touching the last room, the one dedicated to the eruption, and where on display are the objects deformed by the heat of the eruption, the casts of the victims, the casts of the animals,” Osanna told the AP. “Really, one touches with one’s hand the incredible drama that the 79 A.D. eruption was.”
Areas of Pompeii have yet to be excavated, but archaeologists continue their work to discover more details about this ancient city. According to the AP, archeologists recently unearthed a fast-food eatery, complete with a menu showcasing popular dishes of the time.
For more information on the museum, visit Pompeii’s official website.
Jessica Poitevien is a Travel Leisure contributor currently based in South Florida, but always on the lookout for the next adventure. Besides traveling, she loves baking, talking to strangers, and taking long walks on the beach. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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