Pompeii, the most visited attraction in the Campania region, is swamped by tourists most of the year. Because archaeologists have re-created a veritable Disneyland of the ancient world, nowhere else can you find that rich experience, that expansive feeling of walking back in time. To beat the crowds, try to visit on a weekday in the middle of winter – that is when you will get the city almost all to yourself.

Pompeii was founded around the 6th century BC, so by the time Mount Vesuvius erupted on August 24th, 79 AD the city already had several hundred years of history. However, most of what you see today is how the inhabitants lived and died on that fatal day in 79 AD.

The decorating style of Pompeiians at this frozen moment is worth noting. They adored Greek art and culture, which for them was as far back as the Renaissance is for us. They also admired Egyptian art and religion, building temples to Egyptian deities and decorating their homes with Egyptian motifs. Again, the world of the Pharaohs for Pompeiians was as distant to them as the Roman world is to us.