Pompeii has been a popular tourist destination for 250 years; it was on the Grand Tour. In 2008, it was attracting almost 2.6 million visitors per year, making it one of the most popular tourist sites in Italy. It is part of a larger Vesuvius National Park and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997. The objects buried beneath Pompeii were remarkably well-preserved for almost two thousand years. The lack of air and moisture allowed for the objects to remain underground with little to no deterioration.
Romans took control of Pompeii around 200 BC. On August 24, 79 AD, the volcano Vesuvius erupted, buried the nearby town Pompeii in ash and soot, killing 20000 people, and preserving the city in its state from that fateful day. Pompeii is an excavation site and outdoor museum of the ancient Roman settlement. This site is considered to be one of the few sites where an ancient city has been preserved in detail - everything from jars and tables to paintings and people were frozen in time, yielding an unprecedented opportunity to see how the people lived two thousand years ago.