Increase of tourists, over 800,000 visits to the Pompeii ruins (+ 35% on 2015) in the first 5 months of the year
All of you know that Pompeii is one of the most popular and famous archeological sites in the world. And, recently, thanks to its fame, the ruins of Pompeii have registered a significant growth of visits.
The data is clear. For these first five months of 2016 this data shows that the visits rise up significantly, more than in the previous years.
Over 800,000 visits in the first five months of 2016, which far exceed the approximately 600,000 visits for the same period in 2015 (which was already increased by 25% compared to the 2014).
A significant increase that, over the years, has continued to pose several question marks on the city territory. And, among all, it emerges the opinion of traders, who are beginning to calculate the advantages and disadvantages that the increase of visits in the ancient wonders has produced.
The deputy mayor of Pompeii, Peter Orsineri said: “What, in my opinion, has led to this increase of visits? It was the Expo effect, which certainly has been a good showcase for the archaeological site. Without mention, then, the important visits of the President, Sergio Mattarella, and the Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. In addition, it should also be considered the decline of tourism to the Arab countries because of the terrorism. But I disagree with the free admission for the first Sunday of every month, which has seen an overcrowding of the archaeological site. This also helped to increase traffic in the excavations, but without bringing benefits to anyone. It should not be a tourism of onlookers. Thirty thousand people in a single day in the archaeological site are harmful to the site”. Traders also intervene on the issue, trying to figure out what are the advantages produced by this increase in visits to the excavations.
Alessandro Di Paolo, President of Ascom said: “For years, the number of the visits to the archaeological excavations increases time to time. But in the “New” Pompeii much remains to be done, such as creating cultural initiatives that can bring tourists even in the city, because the economic advantages, for now, are minimal. We need a little bit extra for a good synergy between Municipal administration and Superintendence to begin a journey together where the benefits could be divided among all, including traders”.
And the President of Confesercenti, Gianluca Machetti, has confirmed saying: “"We are glad that there is an increase compared to the previous years. But we must also point out that the failure of the tourist flow management is not good to increase the traders counters. We should create a network linking the excavations and the center of the city of Pompeii because, currently, the benefits are confined exclusively to the archaeological site. We hope, however, to have, as soon as possible, greater foresight to give to the traders the awards they deserve for the hard work they do every day”.
For a guided tour of Pompeii with a local guide enhanced with 3D virtual reality headsets view our tours here.
Along Via delle Tombe has been found a Samnite tomb of late fifth century BC. Moreover, in a shop close by, French archaeologists of the Centre Jean Berard de l'Ecole francaise de Rome and the CNRS found the skeletons of five young Pompeians, including a child who had sought shelter by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD.
The French archeologists are studying the secrets of the craftsmen of ancient Pompeii and, for one year, they are investigating the remains of the shops which are lined up behind the funerary monuments of the Roman Pompeii, along the road leading to Herculaneum and Naples.
They were looking for traces of the activities of potters and blacksmiths, and they did not hide their surprise when, clearing the area already explored in the nineteenth century by Giuseppe Fiorelli, they ran into a pre-Roman necropolis. You can see this area on a tour of Pompeii.
This necropolis belonged to Samnites that, at the end of the fifth century, from the countryside of the Campania region went to the coast and arrived in Pompeii, as in the rest of the Vesuvian and Neapolitan area, upsetting the organization of the settlements, until they divided up between Greek, Etruscan and Italic peoples.
We know little of this change of population that took place in the late fifth century.
"We throw light on a dark stage of the life of the town – as Massimo Osanna, the director, explains – and the tomb belongs to the first Samnites who set foot in the city".
But the surprises do not end because, by exploring a blacksmith's shop with a barrel vault, the archeologists found the skeletons of 5 Pompeians who were killed by the eruption seeking shelter. “Unfortunately, the environment has been devastated by illegal diggers - as the archaeologist Sandra Zanella of the University Paris Sorbonne Collège de France explains - who have rummaged among the skeletons, taking away most of the objects that the victims had with them. They left three Vespasian coins dated between 73 and 77-78 AD and a tiny jewel in gold foil, which was part of a parure. Then the ordinary ceramics, as a “urceus” which served for the transport of garum, lids of pots with traces of burning, mugs and bowls, which give us an extraordinary image of 79 AD”.
One of the golden coins show on the reverse the image of the Augustan Pax, while the other two show the depiction of Rome, with the wolf and the flight of birds. The bones were removed and taken to the laboratory: here the anthropologists try to understand age and degree of kinship.
Claude Pouzadoux, director of the Centre Jean Berard, insists on the value of cooperation between the Superintendent of Pompeii and the French researchers: "It is the story of a beautiful collaboration that engages so many young people and archaeological researchers. The discovery of a Samnite tomb is very important for the study of the Samnites ". In September, last year, in the same area was already discovered the grave of a Sunni woman.
For a trip back in time book one of our private guided Pompeii tours with a local tour guide.
In Pompeii, the Superintendent has entrusted to the Enea Agency - who takes care of new technologies, energy and sustainable development - an experimental analysis model of the roof to develop preventive maintenance plans.
The team of researchers will analyze structures, wood and steel built in the Roman domus (house) dating back to the second century BC.
The work entrusted to Enea’s team aims to create an experimental model of analysis that can be applied to other domus with a view to preventive maintenance, based on knowledge and continuous monitoring of the artifacts to ensure the conservation and the safety of the archaeological site.
Enea’s team has moved from their centers located in Bologna, Casaccia and Brasimone some cutting-edge technologies that are different from each other because they are used on different kinds of materials that need to be analyzed, like wood and concrete.
As Bruno Carpani, the scientific director of the campaign, explains: “In this survey campaign, which wants to capture the data required to define the maintenance operations, we fielded a greater number of research tools than in the past. With the work we are doing at the Villa dei Misteri we aim to make the first monitoring and diagnostic model that can be applied to other domus with similar types of coverage”.
They have already performed surveys on the environmental vibrations with high sensitivity seismometers. “This time we focused on the frescoes room and the atrium roof adjacent to the same room – as the research director of Enea, Paolo Clemente, explained - and we have developed a sophisticated mathematical model that will allow us to optimally evaluate the conditions of this area”.
On the wooden beams a thermo hygrometer has been used to measure the level of humidity. Then they made a special test method that provides the combined use of a detector, to test the degree of surface hardness, and some ultrasounds, to search any discontinuity within the sample. The team repeated these operations with extreme care and precision, in three different parts of the beam, in the middle and on two lateral supports.
The other tool used in Villa dei Misteri is called “the Resistograph”. Thanks to a needle 40 cm long the team of experts has been able to record the homogeneity and the compactness of the wood. They also used a sonde to collect some wood samples useful to identify the species of wood – probably chestnut or a variety of pitch-pine.
And to analyze the beams the experts used another tool capable of identifying the exact assembly position inside the beam, using magnetic fields capable of interacting with iron. Moreover they have taken some concrete samples - which will be analyzed in the laboratories of the Department of Structural Engineering of the University Federico II of Naples- to evaluate the compressive strength and the depth of carbonation, which is the process of interaction of lime with carbon dioxide that indicates a reduction of the pH of the cement paste, causing the oxidation of iron within the beam itself.
Staff at Flashback Journey to Pompeii. Our goal is to bring you up-to-date information on events, continuing archeological excavations and more on Pompeii.