How to visit Pompeii?
Pompeii is one of the most visited cities in the beautiful Campania region of southern Italy. Devastated by an unexpected eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, the city has become one of the most important archaeological sites in the world and, in this post, you will read everything you need to know to visit Pompeii. Here at Your Travel to Italy with Ana Patricia you make the trip of your dreams !!! ALSO: see our “Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your holidays!”.
The archaeological site of Pompeii is huge! The site houses buildings, monuments, sculptures, paintings, mosaics, and remains on 440,000 square meters, in other words: if possible, visit the place without taking some time to do so! The Pompeii excavations have been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, and represent one of the most incredible testimonies of a glorious past, of an extremely promising city that was devastated by the ashes of Vesuvius. All about Vesuvius here!
The beginning of the end: a devastating green mountain!
Pompeii is an ancient city: it was born as an Oscan settlement, and later it was inhabited by the Samnites; from the 1st century BC, it was conquered by the Romans.
Vesuvius was, for the inhabitants of Pompeii, a beautiful green mountain, but little did they know that, in reality, that was one of the largest volcanoes in the world. Unaware of the danger they were in, life went on as usual, until on August 24, 79 AD. lava flowed down the slopes of the volcano and devastated the city.
The lava spewed out (and debris) by Vesuvius (pyroclastic cloud) left the city destroyed. This eruption is estimated to have lasted about 24 hours, enough time for the volcano to cover the entire city with its destructive ash. Researchers claim that the volcano covered Pompeii with approximately 3 meters of debris from a radius of more than 15 kilometers; that day the volcano spewed as much as it could to a height of 26 meters high.
Disagreements over the date of the fatal eruption
Some archaeologists have revised the possible exact date of the eruption. After some analysis of the event, a coin was found that refers to the fifteenth acclamation of Titus as emperor, which took place after September 8, 79 AD.
This suggests that the eruption may have taken place in October, probably on October 24, 79 AD. October – a week before the tragedy, so this date seems to confirm that, in fact, the eruption was two months after the “official” date.
What a few know…
Some time before the fatal eruption, the inhabitants of Pompeii were already worried about the constant earthquakes in the area, however, no one could explain, in fact, what was happening, much less that the beautiful mountain was, in fact, a volcano.
Why was Herculano also hit?
Because the winds suddenly changed, carrying the ash and debris to the other side of the volcano, meaning the city was also devastated – although it suffered fewer consequences than neighboring Pompeii. Learn more about Herculaneum here!
What to visit in Pompeii?
Well, with 440,000 square meters of excavations you can imagine that there are several interesting points within the archaeological complex, however, some of them deserve to be highlighted and, below, we will see which points of Pompeii you cannot miss!
The main access to the archaeological site is Porta Marina, that’s where we’ll start our tour! ready? So let’s go! Remembering that the itinerary proposed below can be done in just one day!
IN THIS LINK you will find a fantastic interactive map of Pompeii. You can explore the entire archaeological site and read the entire history of the points of interest. Available in several languages, just choose yours from the top right menu.
1) The Forum of Pompeii
The Forum of Pompeii is actually a Roman forum. This was the commercial, political and economic center of the city. In this small center, it is possible to observe old craft shops, some political and administrative buildings, the Forum granaries, the macellum and the thermal baths. Here was the Piazza del Foro, which was the heart of the city.
Pompeii had more than 20,000 inhabitants and, with the eruption, it is estimated that between 18 and 20,000 people died in the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. The number of survivors, at the time, was between 1,500 and 2,000 people. In this square you can also see three important temples: the Temple of Apollo, the Temple of Venus, and the Temple of Jupiter.
2) The House of the Faun
Still in this square, but at the bottom, cross the Honorary Arch and follow Via del Foro to the famous Casa del Fauno. This was one of the largest houses in Pompeii and dates from the 2nd century BC. This house is the greatest example of a high social class from that period and, to this day, no one knows who owned it.
The social class of the owner of this house is easily noticeable, as it presents pieces of art such as the beautiful copy of the statue of Faun. There is also a beautiful mosaic present at the site depicting the battle of Alexander the Great against the Persians. The originals of these works are in the Archaeological Museum of Naples.
3) House of Sallustio
The house is one of the most important examples of housing from the Samnite period dating back to around 180 BC, from which we can observe a large part of the original, including the facade in tuff blocks and the atrium. Even the decoration on the walls of many rooms is from that period and is one of the best preserved houses in Pompeii. The paintings imitate marble slabs, and allow us to perceive the severe monumentality of the art.
It passed through several earthquakes, and resisted – in parts – the eruption, not to mention that the place also suffered from bombings of the Second World War.
4) Village of Mysteries
Without a doubt the most famous village in the entire city of Pompeii. It’s a Roman villa located just outside the walls, and it’s the perfect spot to have a magnificent view over the entire city of Pompeii and, as a bonus, the Gulf of Naples. Villa dei Misteri is a mandatory stop for anyone visiting Pompeii and enchants its visitors. Find out all about Naples here!
5) Big and Small Theaters
Both are dated to between the 2nd and 1st centuries BC. They held approximately 5,000 and 1,300 spectators – respectively, and were the city’s entertainment district.
The Grand Theater is still an active stage for nightly theater and music shows, especially during the summer months, and both are strikingly beautiful, especially for their impeccable architecture.
6) Garden of the Fuggiaschi
Here you finally arrive at the most important and famous place in Pompeii: the Orto dei Fuggiaschi – Fuggiaschi’s Garden. It is here that the “molds” of the inhabitants who tried to save themselves from the devastating eruption of Vesuvius are exposed.
For its details that enchant, but at the same time “terrifying”. The petrified bodies are of an almost indescribable beauty, but thinking about the sad story of men, women, and children who tried to escape the ashes of mighty Vesuvius gives us a certain sense of disquiet.
This area had previously been occupied by houses, but before the fatal eruption it had been turned into vineyards. There was also an open space, covered by a pergola, which served as a “restaurant” for various banquets.
The sad story tells that, inside the enclosure, along the way, 13 bodies were found among adults and children, employers and servants: all of them were running to save themselves, towards the escape route through Porta Nocera, but the escape was interrupted by the arrival of a flow of ash that caused the death of all by suffocation and high temperatures.
7) Pompeii Amphitheater
Unmissable! The place is beautiful and dates back to 80 BC. The Pompeii amphitheater was the venue for gladiator fights and could accommodate up to 20,000 spectators. The venue’s stage, to this day, receives several presentations and, among illustrious artists who have passed through there, is one of the most beloved in the world: Pink Floyd, who even recorded his album Live in Pompeii in this place in 1973.
8) The Lupanarios and the Ancient Dom
Lupanare is a Roman term that identified ancient brothels. Pompeii had around 25 brothels, which is an impressive number for the time. They usually had two floors and were signposted with erotic symbols. A curiosity of these places is that, on the walls, customers could leave their opinion about the services provided. During the excavations, around 120 opinions were found written on the walls.
To visit the Pompeii Archaeological Park, I advise you to make this visit with a local and qualified guide who speaks Portuguese. With the accompaniment of a local guide you will have all the details about the various interesting points within the archaeological complex.
Why hire a local guide?
In order to get the most out of the experience of getting to know a place full of history, culture, curiosities, and fantastic information, which only a guide can offer you! It will also be an excellent choice for those traveling in large groups or with families, especially for children.
Although you can opt for the audio guide, I don’t think it’s advisable. Why? Because it can crash, it can confuse you, and it may also not be available in a language you are fluent in, that is, your experience can become chaos, as you can end up not paying attention to anything and, thus, wasting a chance. unique way to experience all the splendor of Pompeii.
We have a fantastic partner in Pompeii!
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Useful information to visit the Archaeological Park of Pompeii
Stay now with useful information to visit the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, always remembering to consult the Official Site, as changes can occur from one hour to the next.
Important – Take note!
The archaeological site of Pompeii is divided into nine districts, however, some of them are not open for visitation, or are only open occasionally. It is worth remembering that excavation work at the site is constant, that is, there are always archaeologists working there and, therefore, some areas are isolated so that studies can be successfully completed.
On the official website of the Archaeological Park of Pompei, there is a complete map with all the areas that can be visited there. To access this map, CLICK HERE!
What are the opening hours of the Archaeological Park?
Days and times may change without prior notice. It is also important to mention that the hours change according to the seasons, so to confirm opening days and hours, CLICK ON THIS SITE before organizing your visit.
The place is NOT open on December 25th, January 1st and May 1st (unless stated otherwise, which you can check here!)
Is the location accessible?
Yes! Pompeii Archaeological Park is fully accessible!
Some rules for visiting the place:
It is forbidden: to throw garbage on the floor; touch objects; pick up stones and other objects; visit shirtless; enter with backpacks, suitcases, umbrellas, and large objects (the luggage storage is free); speak loudly, run, or scream; smoke; picking flowers or fruits; climb on rocks; access delimited areas; climbing barriers, fences, bollards; open closed gates; enter with formal clothes, masks and costumes; and the use of drones without proper authorization (for authorizations, enter this site: pompeiisites.org/parco-archeologico-di-pompei/autorismi-e-modulistica/).
About the tickets
The park ticket costs 13 euros (in its simplest configuration) and you can book yours on the official website responsible for ticket sales for the Archaeological Park of Pompeii by clicking HERE!
Pompeii: Priority Entry Ticket!
Website in English – Avoid the lines! Click here to purchase your ticket!
How to get to Pompeii?
How to get to Pompeii by bus?
Pompeii is served by the bus companies SITA, CSTP and EVABUS. Access the websites to check routes, schedules and prices.
How to get to Pompeii by train?
Use the famous Circumvesuviana. From Naples to Pompeii, the journey takes between 30 and 40 minutes, and the descent is at Pompeii Scavi station. It’s all very well signposted.
Did you know?
Did you know that Trenitalia is the main Italian company dedicated to the management of rail transport. Find out here: What is the difference between trains in Italy?. Buy your ticket online in advance and save a lot!
How to get to Pompeii by car?
If you are going to Pompeii by car, just take the Naples-Salerno highway (A3) and use the Pompei Ovest toll exit (toll cost €2.50). The A3 motorway is also a great option for those arriving from outside Campania, and for those coming from another area, just exit at Pompei West (coming from the North) or at Pompeii Este (coming from the South).
When arriving in Pompeii by car, you can park your car outside the historic walls, in the various paid or free parking lots – obviously the free ones fill up quite easily, so get there early!
Access to Pompeii Archaeological Park can be done through three doors: Porta Marina (via Villa dei Misteri), Piazza Esedra (lower square of Porta Marina), or Piazza Anfiteatro (Immaculate Square).
Are you going to travel around Italy by car?
If you are going to rent a car be sure to read our posts in the Driving in Italy section. In addition to car route tips, we have everything about signs, tolls, roads and many more tips.
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How to visit Pompeii? Pompeii is a true den of human history. Despite its tragic history, it is possible to have an idea of what life was like at that time so far away, but due to the archaeological park, in a way, becoming so recent.
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