Pompeii, the vibrant Roman resort on the Amalfi coast, was suddenly and dramatically destroyed in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius on August 24, 79 A.D. It has fascinated us ever since its rediscovery in the mid-18th century.
Pompeii and nearby Herculaneum became a must-see destination for travelers on the Grand Tour of Europe (especially when Vesuvius was active), inspiring design trends and the creation of art and works of literature.
9:30 to 11 a.m. Decadence and Destruction
Pompeii’s everyday life as a thriving port city was completely destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that froze it in time
11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Rediscovery
The archaeological unearthing of Pompeii and Herculaneum and the lure of its exhumed artifacts and treasures
12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Lunch
Participants provide their own lunch.
1:45 to 3:15 p.m. Resurrection
The continuing inspiration of Pompeii and Herculaneum in art; the important role of Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s popular novel The Last Days of Pompeii is examined
Presenter Bonita Billman teaches art history at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies.
Discover how Pompeii’s affluent residents used art and architecture to fashion a seaside retreat where beauty and pleasure were prime pursuits.
Explore the ancient sites that were destroyed by the catastrophic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79 on the voyage of
Hidden Treasures of the Mediterranean.
Visit the Smithsonian Journeys page to see more
trips to Europe.