The first excavation in the area of Pompeii dates back to the age of the emperor Alessandro Severo but the works failed because of the thick blanket of lapillus. It was only between 1594 and 1600 that the excavations started to discover traces of buildings, inscriptions and coins.
However a dramatic earthquake in 1631 cancelled the results of these works.
Other excavations started in 1748 by order of Carlo of Borbone whose only intention was to enrich the museum of Portici.
These works were directed by the engineer Alcubierre but they still weren’t realized in a systematic and scientific way.
Nevertheless in those years the excavations reached important results: the Villa of the Papyri was found in Herculaneum, in 1755 it was the turn of Villa of Giulia Felice and in 1763 Porta Ercolano and an epigraph.
With Joseph Bonapart and G. Murat the road between Villa Diomede and other buildings came to light, the House of Sallustio, the House of the Faun, the Forum and the Basilica.
As we have already said under the Bourbon domination the excavations of Pompeii weren’t carried out systematically.
This becomes a prerogative only with the new Italian kingdom when the works are entrusted to Giuseppe Fiorilli.
For the first time the old town was schematically divided into agglomerates of houses and quarters, while the recovery and preservation techniques of the buildings and of the artistic heritage reach extraordinary levels of efficacy thanks to Antonio Sogliano and Vittorio Spinazzola.
During the last century the main aims of Maiuri and Alfonso De Franciscis were to preserve the original architectonic structure of the buildings and the wall paintings inside them.
The earthquake in 1980 slowed down these works but new government has permitted the of “Pompeii Project” a programme aimed at the valorizzazione of the whole archaeological area.