Have you ever wondered what life was like in ancient Rome?
How people dressed, what they ate, how they entertained themselves?
If you have, then you might want to visit Pompeii, a city that was buried by a volcanic eruption in 79 AD and preserved for centuries under layers of ash and pumice.
Pompeii is one of the most fascinating archaeological sites in the world, because it offers a glimpse into the daily life of the Romans in the first century AD.
Let’s explore some of the aspects of Pompeii that make it so unique and interesting. We will also answer some common questions that visitors might have, such as where is Pompeii city and how to get there.
What Was Pompeii Like Before the Eruption?
Pompeii was a prosperous and vibrant city, located near the Bay of Naples in southern Italy.
It was founded by the Oscans, an ancient people of Italy, and later became part of the Roman Republic. Pompeii had a population of about 20,000 people, who enjoyed a variety of amenities and attractions.
Pompeii had a complex water system, with aqueducts, fountains, public baths, and private houses with running water. It also had a sewer system, which drained the waste into the nearby river. Pompeii had a rich cultural life, with temples, theaters, amphitheaters, forums, and markets. It had many shops and businesses, such as bakeries, taverns, brothels, and workshops. Pompeii had a diverse and cosmopolitan population, with people from different regions and backgrounds living together.
Pompeii was also known for its art and architecture, which reflected the styles and tastes of the Romans.
It had many beautiful villas and houses, decorated with frescoes, mosaics, statues, and gardens. Some of the most famous examples are the House of the Faun, the House of the Vettii and the Villa of the Mysteries.
Pompeii also had many public buildings and monuments, such as the Basilica, the Temple of Apollo, and the Arch of Augustus.
What Happened to Pompeii During the Eruption?
On August 24th, 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted with a force equivalent to 100 atomic bombs.
The eruption lasted for two days and produced a massive cloud of ash, gas, and rocks that reached up to 20 kilometers high. The cloud covered the sky and plunged the region into darkness.
The eruption affected several nearby towns and cities, including Herculaneum, Stabiae, Oplontis and Pompeii. The people who lived there were caught off guard by the disaster and had little time to escape. Some tried to flee by boat or by road, but many were trapped by the falling debris or suffocated by the toxic fumes.
The eruption buried Pompeii under about 6 meters of ash and pumice, which hardened over time and formed a protective layer over the city. The layer preserved Pompeii from decay and looting for centuries until it was rediscovered in 1748 by a group of explorers.
Since then, archaeologists have been excavating and studying Pompeii to learn more about its history and culture.
What Can You See in Pompeii Today?
Today, Pompeii is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy.
It attracts about 2.5 million visitors every year, who can explore the ruins of the city and see how it looked like before the eruption.
Visiting Pompeii is like stepping back in time.
You can walk along the cobblestone streets and see the shops, houses, public buildings, and monuments that once belonged to the Romans. You can also see some of the objects that were used by the people of Pompeii, such as pottery, coins, jewelry, tools, and furniture.
One of the most striking features of Pompeii is the presence of human remains. These are not skeletons or bones but casts made from plaster or resin that were injected into the hollow spaces left by the bodies that decomposed under the ash. These casts show the poses and expressions of the people who died during the eruption.
They are a powerful reminder of the tragedy that befell Pompeii.
What are the highlights to visit in Pompeii?
Pompeii is one of the most fascinating archaeological sites in the world, where you can witness the ancient Roman life frozen in time by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.
If you are planning to visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site, here are some of the highlights that you should not miss:
- The Forum: This was the main square and the center of public life in Pompeii, where you can see the remains of temples, basilicas, markets and civic buildings. You can also admire the view of Mount Vesuvius from here.
- The Amphitheatre: This was the oldest stone amphitheatre in the Roman world, built around 80 BC. It could seat up to 20,000 spectators who came to watch gladiator fights, animal hunts and other spectacles.
- The House of the Vettii: This was one of the most luxurious and well-preserved houses in Pompeii, belonging to two wealthy brothers who were freed slaves. It is famous for its elaborate frescoes depicting scenes from mythology, daily life and eroticism.
- The Lupanar: This was the largest and most famous brothel in Pompeii, where you can see the stone beds and the erotic paintings that decorated the walls. The brothel also has graffiti written by clients and prostitutes, revealing their names, prices and preferences.
- The Garden of the Fugitives: This was a vineyard where 13 people were found buried under the ash, trying to escape from the eruption. You can see their plaster casts, which preserve their expressions and poses in their final moments.
- The Suburban Baths: These were public baths located outside the city walls, where you can see the changing rooms, the hot and cold pools, the sauna and the gymnasium. The baths also have some of the most beautiful and explicit erotic frescoes in Pompeii.
These are just some of the many attractions that Pompeii has to offer.
You can also visit other houses, shops, temples, theatres and streets that will make you feel like you are travelling back in time. Pompeii is a must-see destination for anyone interested in history, culture and art.
Where is Pompeii city and how to visit?
If you want to visit Pompeii, we recommend that you need to plan ahead and book your tickets online.
The tickets cost 16 euros for adults and 2 euros for children under 18 years old. You can also buy a combined ticket that includes access to other nearby sites such as Herculaneum or Oplontis for 22 euros.
You can visit Pompeii on your own or with a guided tour. The site is very large and covers about 66 hectares, so you might want to use a map or an audio guide to navigate it. You can also hire a professional guide or join a group tour that will explain the history and the highlights of Pompeii. You can find many options online or at the entrance of the site.
How to get there?
Where is Pompeii city and how to reach it?
You can reach Pompeii by train or by car from Naples or Sorrento.
The train takes about 30 minutes from Naples or 45 minutes from Sorrento and stops at Pompei Scavi station which is a short walk from the entrance of the site. The car takes about 40 minutes from Naples or 30 minutes from Sorrento and you can park at one of the several parking lots near the site.
You should also wear comfortable shoes and clothes, bring water and snacks, and protect yourself from the sun.
Pompeii can get very hot and crowded during the summer, so you might want to avoid peak hours and seasons. You should also respect the rules and regulations of the site, such as not touching or climbing on the ruins, not littering, and not taking flash photos.
Pompeii is a unique and fascinating place that will make you appreciate the beauty and the fragility of life. It is a must-see for anyone who loves history, art, and culture.
Don’t miss this opportunity to travel back in time and discover the secrets of ancient Rome!