Pompeii is an ancient Roman archaeological site in Naples, Italy, close to the modern city of Pompei. It was ruined almost 2,000 years ago by the eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius. As of 2015, the site can be accessed by visitors for around $15, according to Rick Steves.
Although the city was mostly evacuated in response to layers of ash causing buildings to collapse, around 2,000 people remained in the city and fell victim to the avalanche that followed. In the early 1800s, archaeologists discovered that the bodies of these people had been encased by debris in such a way that their forms were preserved as hollow spaces within, even after their bodies had decomposed. Using these shells as molds, the archaeologists created plaster casts of the way citizens looked in their final seconds. These can be viewed at the Stabian Thermal Baths, the Macellum (fish market), the Horrea (granaries) and Olitorium (market), as well as several other locations around the Pompeii site.
Visitors to Pompeii can explore the grid-like streets of the site to get a feel for how life was for the ancient Roman citizens; this includes viewing civic buildings, an amphitheater and frescoes. Maps and audio guides are available at the site, along with a modest restaurant, and a range of accommodations are available in the modern city nearby.