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New light for the archeology of Pompeii

In Pompeii, Enel's new artistic lighting itinerary further enhances the charm of the archaeological park

Published on JULY 08, 2017
The King of Naples, Charles of Bourbon, was one of the great enlightened rulers of the time, but when he started the excavations at Pompeii in 1784 he would never have imagined the progress made today by lighting. Not only has the archaeological park been gradually brought back to light over the centuries, but today artificial lighting has reached it: a light that shines even at night, the light of Enel's smart light solutions.

Art and technology

Architectural Lighting

Architectural Lighting

A sustainable way to preserve city heritage

The lighting of the Pompeii archaeological park by night, designed for visits open to visitors from all over the world, is the fruit of the Enel Group's 17 years of experience in the field of artistic lighting: our portfolio includes some of the most famous monuments in the world, such as the Pantheon in Rome, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Alcázar in Seville. But there are also futuristic works like Richard Meier's Citadel Bridge in Alexandria, as well as less famous buildings that are fully enhanced by Enel's light: for example, in Madrid, the Palacio de Amboage, seat of the Italian Embassy, and in Bucharest, the Aheneul, the concert hall that has always been renowned for its caressing acoustics for audiences and now also for the light that captures their attention also visually.
But Pompeii is something different altogether. The fame of being "a unique site in the world" is well deserved by the archaeological park at the foot of Mount Vesuvius and is like no other place or monument. The feeling of touching the great history of the Roman empire, the masterpieces of classical art and the frightening power of nature is incomparable.
The only touch that could be added to this experience was the possibility of a night visit under the gentle summer skies of Campania: the result is a magic difficult to describe, which, thanks to Enel’s mastery, has brought out intense sensations from the streets, columns and ruins without covering them up with foreign elements, which, on the contrary, are put at the service of art.
Moreover, the protection and enhancement of historical, artistic and monumental heritage are part of Enel's mission in the countries where it is present. 
The main purpose of technology can only be to improve people's lives, and particularly to satisfy their aesthetic and spiritual sense.

Smart lights

Already in the year 2000, Enel had lit up the night in Pompeii, but the new show, from 8th July to 24th August, could rely on the latest advances in the field of intelligent lighting: remote management technologies, smart LED lighting solutions, soundscapes and 3D imaging, ending with the video made by specialists at the Information Technologies Lab of the Institute for Archaeological and Monumental Heritage of the Italian National Research Council (CNR), which tells about the architecture and paintings of the villas, Pompeian red, and the relationship between the city's inhabitants and the environment.
As stressed by Sguazzi, “At the Pompeii Archaeological Park, we renovated the system that was built in the year 2000, using innovative technology.”
Compared to the 2000 project, the innovations applied by Enel have been comprehensive, replacing all the old halogen lamps with LED lights, reducing consumption by 60%, introducing, thanks also to the modernization of part of the area's power lines, an advanced automation system, which makes it possible to control the entire system remotely and to adjust the luminous intensity of each of the 432 lighting points along the itinerary to create different and unique emotions for every ambiance and archaeological find, enhancing them with sounds, noise and videos.

A path of light

The technical and artistic project, called "Una notte a Pompei” A Night in Pompeii, invites visitors to follow a path of light from Porta Marina Maggiore, then continuing through the shops of Via Marina, the Temple of Apollo, the Forum, the Temple of Vespasian, the Macellum and public buildings, to the Basilica: a journey that constantly enthuses visitors who are guided at every step by Enel's smart solutions.


“Pompeii’s new lighting system is another important step in the revival of an archaeological site, which is unique in the world. Thanks to the evocative interplay of lights, the outline and shapes of the ruins are now shining with new beauty,” commented Dario Franceschini, Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, as he spoke at the inaugural ceremony. 

I believe that this itinerary of sounds and lights will spread around the world: a postcard that shows a beautiful and contemporary face of Italy, combining development and tradition,” added Carlo Tamburi, Head of Country Italy at Enel. It is a face of Italy, which, thanks also to Enel's light, displays the most precious treasures of its extraordinary historical wealth.