Experience Pompeii at The Leonardo

Carter Larson, Staff Writer

In 79 AD the stratovolcano, in modern-day Italy Mount Vesuvius, erupted resulting in one of the deadliest eruptions in European history. The ancient Roman city of Pompeii was devastated by this monstrous eruption. 


In 1599 the almost perfectly preserved Pompeii was discovered. The city of Pompeii was frozen in time for almost 2000 years. When the hot ash rained down on the city it formed a kind of plaster over the land and preserved almost everything.


The Pompeii exhibit at The Leonardo, in downtown Salt Lake City, opened November 21, 2019. On May 3, 2020 the 150 or so artifacts will leave The Leonardo. 

The exhibit displays many breathtaking artifacts such as jewelry, tools, statues, paintings, and dining wear. While observing these objects you can almost imagine how these objects rested in ash for almost 2000 years. With many particles of ash on some objects you can sense the story they tell.


At the beginning of the exhibit you get a brief summary video of what happened at Pompeii. Once the video ends the doors open to the start of the exhibit showing a statue of the goddess of love and beauty, Athena, along with other small things like jewelry.

After seeing the first part of the exhibit you take an escalator up to the second floor. Instantly you are greeted with beautiful art. Walking through it first starts with dining wear, paintings, and tools. It then goes into objects that held wine and food.


Before taking the escalator back down you see gladiator helmets and weapons. At the bottom of the escalator you can observe amazingly crafted sculptures of public figures. While here you enter another room and go into another room and watch a full video about the day of Pompeii.


Once the video ends the screen lifts up and you see something unexpected. The petrified bodies of Pompeii, it shows things from a dog, to a young pregnant woman. It’s easy to imagine their last day when they became plastered in time.


This exhibit is definitely worth your time, “I hope to see it soon,” says Barb Sidener and Matthew Drachman says, “as someone who loves history I’d love to see it,”