Light for Pompeii

Light for Pompeii


The Pompeii Archaeological Park relives by night and history emerges from the shadows coming back to life and is told under a new light.

This is the spirit that inspired Enel Sole, the Enel Group company specialised in smart lighting solutions for road and artistic lighting, in the design of the modern integrated visual and sonic itinerary for visits by night to the Pompeii archaeological park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and among the most visited archaeological areas in the world.

A night in Pompeii”, an emotional trip that crosses a part of the archaeological area and engages visitors in an experience enhanced by the seamless integration of sounds and images with artistic lighting, was developed in collaboration with the Special Authority for Pompeii.

The inauguration of the itinerary was attended by the Director General of the Pompeii Archaeological Park, Massimo Osanna, the Enel Head of Country Italy, Carlo Tamburi, the Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, Dario Franceschini, and the Minister for Territorial Cohesion and Southern Italy, Claudio De Vincenti.

“Pompeii’s new lighting system is another important step in the revival of an archaeological site, which is unique in the world,” commented Minister Franceschini. The hope is that the project can be expanded in a short time, allowing visits to the site by night not just twice a week, as will be the case from 8 July, but always. “Imagine what it means to be able to offer the world a visit by night to Pompeii, what this means in terms of emotions and beauty, but also of economic growth for the territory.”

An opportunity that until 24 August will be available to the public at large on Tuesdays and Thursdays. “In Pompeii, we tried to solve all the critical issues within the area. Nonetheless, it was still not possible to open by night. And today this is now a reality thanks to collaboration with Enel Sole,” explained Massimo Osanna, Director General of the Archaeological Park. “We worked closely and the result is a significant, emotionally rich itinerary, because the lighting is accompanied by sounds and voices that will allow visitors to immerse themselves in a typical evening in Pompeii.” Among these is a 3D video created by the CNR, the Italian National Research Council, that completes the night tour itinerary with an emotionally rich visual component through a multisensory approach.


Innovation, sustainability, culture 

“Enel has always worked to combine technological development and sustainability, even in the promotion of a heritage site, like the Pompeii Archaeological Park, that is coming back to life,” stressed Carlo Tamburi, Head of Country Italy at Enel.

The innovative lighting system in Pompeii testifies once again Enel's attention to promoting local communities: “We do a lot of work at a local level to understand what is really needed. It is a way to be close to people and to demonstrate that we care about real and sustainable development.” As regards the artistic lighting, Tamburi announced that, together with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, other projects to promote Italy’s cultural heritage are in the pipeline. “These are very complicated initiatives, both in technological and administrative terms.”


Enel's smart light solutions for Pompeii 

Enel Sole is the company of the Enel Group specialised in innovative solutions, with LED and smart technologies for road and public lighting, but with a consolidated know-how even in the field of artistic lighting. “The project in Pompeii is part of the experience gained in 17 years of activity, through more than a thousand interventions on monuments and museums in Italy and abroad," explained Emanuele Sguazzi, Head of Solutions for Large Customers and Public Administrations, Enel Italy Market. He pointed out, “In Pompeii we overhauled the system that had been installed in 2000 by Enel, using a brand new technology. It is a system that combines energy efficiency, beauty and the opportunity to enhance a fascinating and unique tour. It is a journey that opens a living window on the city of Pompeii, before the eruption in 79 AD. It is the result of long work, made of reports, mediation and continuous cooperation between Enel, the Superintendence, the CNR and the Ministry and that made it possible to put together a winning team to bring Pompeii back to life by night,” noted Sguazzi.

The relamping, as it is called in technical jargon, provided for the replacement of all the old halogen lamps with LED devices, cutting power consumption from 55 KW to 11 KW. The introduction of control systems, also thanks to the modernization of a part of the power lines in the area, has allowed the installation of a modern automation system through which it is possible to control the entire system remotely and adjust the light intensity of each of the 432 light points of the itinerary and to integrate sounds, noise and video perfectly.

The itinerary was created by a team of about ten people, including technicians, engineers and architects. All Enel Sole employees: “We did everything in house, because we have the skills and resources to do it,” stressed Sguazzi.


Light tells a story 

“From the very beginning, the objective was to open the site at night as if it were a museum. In this context, the integration of the lighting system with sound and images aims to transform the experience of the visit into a narrative: as if the walls could tell about the ancient city through the dialogues of those who worked and lived there. The story of Pompeii as a living place,” added Francesca Migliorato, Head of the artistic lighting division at Enel Sole. “The video that concludes the itinerary in the Basilica shows the architectures and the paintings of the villas and Pompeian red; it tells the story of the relationship of the city’s inhabitants with the environment.”

The itinerary “A night in Pompeii” goes from Porta Marina of the ancient city, winds from Via Marina to the Forum, the centre of civil and religious life in the ancient city, then enters the market, continues to the basilica and reaches the Antiquarium, where a permanent exhibition features a diorama and virtual reconstructions showing how the city was organised.

An ethereal journey in history and art, made more evocative by the light that is able to tell a story and highlight, bringing the mystery of a lost time out from the dark.