“The ninth day before the Kalends of September [24th august] in the early afternoon my mother drew his attention to a cloud of unusual size...its general appearance can best be expressed as being like a pine”. This is how Pliny the younger describes what will be the beginning of the tragic eruption that destroyed the ancient city of Pompeii in AD79.
In the eighteenth century excavations took place on the site of the buried city. Streets and buildings were uncovered and an impressive number of artefacts were found, including jewellery, glassware, bottles and furnishings, many intact. Because of these finds we can reconstruct many aspects of private and public life in Pompeii two thousand years ago.
Visiting Pompeii is an atmospheric experience, under the shadow of Vesuvius you will be transported back into a world lost for two millennia, where modern life is forgotten. In this huge space you will feel what is was like in its Roman heyday walking down the long streets, shopping in the local market, cooking food, visiting the bath houses, living like the Romans used to.
Pompeii today now hosts many exhibitions, concerts and events that take place in the Grand Theatre and the Amphitheatre. For all you hippies, here was shot the documentary of the legendary Pink Floyd Live Concert in 1972. click here to watch.
Since 1997, Pompeii has been recognised as a UNESCO world heritage site.
So, are you ready to visit?. Take your rucksack and put a panino in it and a big bottle of chilled water, wear comfortable clothes, running shoes (not high heels! which I have seen before) and if its summer, a sun hat and plenty of suntan lotion. This is all you need because there is a lot of walking to do. I suggest visiting Pompeii in the morning, as there is so much to see it will take a big chunk of your day. You can go and explore the ancient city on your own, follow a tour guide or get the audio guide. The link for a tour guide is in the Archaeological Site Info section below. If you haven't bought your lunch, don't worry as there is also a restaurant.
The ancient city is bigger than you would imagine and it's easy to get lost. But not in a bad way. If you stray off the main paths you might stumble across a fascinating sight. Personally, I found the ancient Forum very fascinating. That was the centre of city life in Pompeii and also home to the Basilica, seat of the court of justice and centre of the economy. Also the temples, the Capitolinum, dedicated to Jupiter, and the Tempio di Apollo, dedicated to Apollo. From here, the streets lead to the Macellum, the fish and meat market, the Vespasian Temple, the Forum Thermal baths and the brothel in the red light district.
Not only religious buildings, but also private houses are an important documentation of the life in Pompeii. The House of the Faun is one of the most interesting architectural structures, named after the beautiful statue of a faun found in a water feature in the villa, decorated with precious mosaics, like the one representing the battle of Alexander (The statue and the moisaic are both copies, as the originasl are in the National Archeological Museum in Napoli).
The most spectacular frescos are in the Villa dei Misteri. They still have their vivid colours. There is a circle of 29 life-size figures, dancing and singing on a strong red background.
ARCHEOLOGICAL SITE INFORMATION
Tel.: +39 081 85 75 347
Tickets: € 11 / Concessions: € 5,50
Free entry every first Sunday of the Month.
There are also different tickets that you combine with other archeological sites:
5 sites: Pompei, Ercolano, Oplonti, Stabia, Boscoreale (valid for 3 days and allows one entry per site) € 20 / Concession: € 10.
April to October: 09.00 - 19.30 (last entry 18.00)
November to March: 09.00 - 17.00 (last entry 15.30)
Closed on December 25th, January 1st and May 1st.
How to get to Pompeii
Pompeii is situated south of Napoli and is quite easy to get to. The best way is by train, you can take the Circumvesuviana from Napoli (both Porta nolana or Piazza Garibaldi) to Sorrento. There are two stops you can get off POMPEI SCAVI or POMPEI VILLA DEI MISTERI.
This is the same train for Herculaneum. The cost is around € 1,50 one way.
Otherwise, there is a bus SITA from the main train station Stazione Centrale / Piazza Garibaldi and it costs €3. By car it is also possible to reach Pompeii with the A3 motorway in the direction Napoli - Salerno.
From the airport there are taxis with fixed rates of €90 with a return and a 2 hour stop to visit the archeological site.
There are three entrances: "Porta Marina" (via Villa dei Misteri) - "Piazza Esedra" (piazza Porta Marina inferiore) - "Piazza Anfiteatro" (piazza Immacolata).
For more info about how to get around, click here TRAVEL INFO.