Italy's ancient Pompeii archaeological site reopens - again

Only a handful of Italian tourists were seen entering the site, after it had been closed for two months during a tight coronavirus lockdown.

Gone are the days of crowds of people and tourist groups from different countries swarming through the turnstiles.

For those lucky few who did enter they were treated to a quiet, relaxing tour of the site rather than a frenetic trot around trying to avoid the queues at the most famous areas.

"..it is just marvellous there is nobody around. I find it magical, it is beautiful," said Barbara, a tourist from San Marino.

"I have waited months for the re-opening of Pompeii and finally today we can appreciate this site on a beautiful day without all the crowds, so we can enjoy it even more," said another Italian tourist who didn't want to give his name.

The ancient Roman city was destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 79 AD. Twenty-three kilometres (14 miles) southeast of Naples it had been home to about 13,000 people when the eruption buried it under under ash, pumice pebbles and dust, freezing it in time.

Italy suffered approximately a 44% fall in visitors in 2020 compared to 2019 during the coronavirus pandemic with numbers unlikely to rebound to pre-covid levels until 2023, according to national tourism agency ENIT.