Pompeii now on Google Street View

The ancient Roman city of Pompeii is the latest addition to Google Street View.

Available from Google’s UNESCO World Heritage list of street views, it’s the latest addition to a selection of famous sites that includes Stonehenge, Prague’s historic center, and the Roman/Medieval Spanish town of Segovia.

Pompeii was a Roman provincial town near the Gulf of Naples in Italy. It was buried by a massive eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Thick layers of volcanic ash kept the town in a remarkable state of preservation. Visitors (and now web surfers) can admire buildings, statues, wall paintings, graffiti, even furniture. The most eerie bits are the plaster casts of the eruption’s many victims. Their bodies rotted away and left holes in the hardened ash. Modern archaeologists filled these with plaster to create ghostly images of men, women, and children perishing from suffocation.

Pompeii and its neighboring town of Herculaneum give an unparalleled look into the daily life of the Roman Empire. The Italian government hopes that having Pompeii on the web it will encourage more visitors. While a walk through its virtual streets is a fun way to kill time at work, it’s nothing compared with doing it for real.