Pompei's archeological area, near Naples, central Italy.

Pompei - The Garden of the Fugitives, a famed archaeological site at Pompei in Italy, has reopened to the public after it was closed for restoration work, officials said.

The site south of Naples contains the plaster casts of 13 of Pompei's residents who had tried to flee the deadly eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.

Trapped in the lava, their bodies eventually decayed and left hollow spaces in the hardened volcanic ash - later filled with plaster to make haunting white statues of the victims.

Works at the site include the construction of a visitor centre that tells the story of how the victims perished.

Pompei is the best preserved example of a Roman town and has been classed as a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1997. - Sapa-AFP