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is an ancient archeological site situated South- East of modern day
Naples, Campania region in Italy. It
is one of most famous Roman cities largely due to its destruction then
volcano Vesuvius erupted and buried it under 20 meters (70 feet) of ash
and pumice thus preserving as it existed on August 24th 79 AD. Unlike
many other ancient cities it was not resettled or covered over by later
structures and most of the city escaped looting after its accidental
discovery in 1748.
Map of Gulf
Map of Pompeii
You might want to take sunscreen, water and some food
as you go and explore the city. It is large and deserves a whole day to
explore. Keep in mind that the weather in summer months in Italy are
very hot. Keep well hydrated and cover your head if you can. The only
way to travel around this extensive site is my foot or my getting a
bike. Either way its can be challenging at times to cover an
archaeological site that covers over 163 acres of land.
Early archeologists divided Pompeii archeological site
into regions or regio in Italian. These groups of buildings are divided
by the largest streets of Pompeii. Each part of the city has its own
unique set of buildings. It is hard to visit the whole site in one day
so it can be handy to plan your visit by visiting regions of the city.
Pompeii Forum (Regio VII)
Forum of Pompeii was originally the central open space in the settlement. The
city spread and grew in size. By the time of the eruption it was located
in the South- West corner of the settlement. It measured 157 meters by
38 meters. It was lined by commercial, public and religious buildings
important in the daily lives of common Roman citizens. The central plaza
was lined by two rows of colonnade. The bottom row consisted of Doric
columns, while the top row was lined by Ionic columns. Additionally
there were several statues that graced this important part of the city.
Unfortunately many of them were destroyed by an earlier earthquake of 62
AD and were never rebuild. The only thing that reminds of their former
existence are pedestals that were left abandoned. Two main entrances
were located at the north of the plaza with two triumphal arches. The
bigger eastern arch was dedicated to Germanicus, step son of emperor
Tiberius who made his name by defeating Germanic tribes in 12AD just few
years after these tribes under leadership of Arminius dealt a
humiliating blow to the Roman Empire by exterminating three Roman
legions under leadership of Publius Quinctilius Varus in Teutoburg
Temple of Jupiter and Arch of Germanicus (at the back)
The Temple of Jupiter (Roman version of Greek god Zeus) was the central
Pompeii. Although it venerated the highest god in the
pantheon of Latin pagan gods, it was also a site of worship for Juno
(Roman version of Greek goddess Hera) and Minerva (Athens). It was
constructed in the 2nd century BC and subsequently increased in the
early 1st century during reign of Roman Emperor Tiberius. The podium
that serves as a base for the temple measures 37 metres by 17 metres and
3 metres high.
Temple of Apollo (Tempio di Apollo)
Temple of Apollo was originally constructed by the Etruscans in the 5th
century BC. Over a course of centuries the size and layout of the shrine
changed repeatedly. Much of the layout you see today date back to the
2nd century BC. It is the oldest religious building in Pompeii and one
of the oldest in this region of Italy. The temple was badly damaged by an earthquake in 62 AD
so it was reconstructed shortly before final destruction of
bronze statue of god Apollo was places on pedestal on an Eastern side.
It is copy since the original was moved to a museum.
Basilica is a
civil and political building of Pompeii that stood on the Western side of
the Forum. It was constructed somewhere between 120 BC and 80
BC. It measures 24 meters by 64 meters.
Most of Pompeii Basilica did not survive, however remains of the
building indicate that it was a peristyle lined by 28 Corinthian
columns. Initially Basilica served as a market, but in the first
century AD it was turned into a city court. The interior of the
walls are covered by numerous graffiti. One of them claim: "O
wall, I am surprised that you still didn't collapse under the
weight of so many graffiti.
Temple of the Lares Publici
Temple of the Lares Publici was constructed after the earthquake of 62
AD that destroyed parts of Pompeii, just years before the final destruction of
the city. It measures 18
by 21 metres and was dedicated to deified emperor Octavian Augustus.
Municipal Offices of Pompeii forum
are three small buildings in the Southern part of the forum. They were
built after 62 AD earthquake on a site of older municipal buildings that
served the same purpose. All three buildings are similar in structure
and layout. Each room had niches and an apse. The walls were lined with
marble and painted with frescoes. Additionally the interior of the
buildings had several statues. Western building was intended for two
aediles. Their duties included maintaining the order in Pompeii, as well
as enforcement of rules of the town market. The central building was
part of the Curia and was intended to hold the meeting of the Municipal
Council (Ordo Decurionum). East Building was intended for duumvirs. By
the time of the eruption only the interior of the Eastern building was
completed. Duumvirs served as judges and also managed finances of
Pompeii. Therefore, immediately after the earthquake of 62 AD the city
began reconstruction of their offices right away.
Macellum was the main food market for the residents of Pompeii and
surrounding villages. It was constructed around 1st century BC
and later increased in size and splendor. It is a rectangular space that
measures 37 metres by 27 metres. The area was taken by several small
shops. There is also a small shrine in one end of the open air market
place dedicated to the Imperial family. Two statues stand in the niches
of the small temple. One was dedicated to Marcellus, Octavia's (sister
of Emperor Octavian Augustus) son and another was dedicated to Octavia
herself. Judging by archeological digs fish was sold underneath a round
roof that sat on columns in the center of the plaza. It was apparently
also scaled here by request of customers. Many fish scales were
discovered here in a ditch.
Temple of the Lares
The Temple of the Lares
Publici is located just South of Macellum on the East side of
the Forum. It was constructed after the earthquake of 62 AD on a
site of a ruined building. It measures 18 meters by 21 meters
and in the ancient times it was dedicated to deified Roman
Emperor Augustus and served as the sanctuary for the public
lares. Lares were ancient Roman statues of deities that
protected family that lived in the house. In this particularly
cases Lares were devoted to deities that protected the safe
being of all citizens of Pompeii.
Comitium is a site that
was located opposite of the Basilica. In the ancient times it
was a place for gathering for magistrates of the town. Here they
voted for various important issues. Words like "committee" is
derived from this Latin term.
Temple of Vespasian
Temple of Vespasian stands on the Eastern side of the Forum of Pompeii. The
dedication of the temple is still a subject of debate. Some think that
the sanctuary was actually devoted to the Genius (family protector) of
Octavian Augustus. The most prominent part of the building is a marble
altar that stands in the center. It represents part of the religious
ritual where a priest stands over a tripod for sacrifices. A man leads
the bull that is intended for the sacrifice to gods. He is carrying an
ax intended for a religious execution.
Eumachia was named after a rich and influential priestess
Eumachia who donated her money in the 1st century AD for the
construction of the temple. An inscription above a side door
read: "Eumachia, daughter of Lucius, a public
priestess, in her own name, and in the name of her son, Murcus
Numistrius Fronto, made the chalcidicum, the crypta and the
porticus with her own money and dedicated the same to Concordia
Augusta and to Pietas". The structure was constructed out of
brick and later surfaces with marble slabs as a skin of the
In ancient times
Eumachia served as a warehouse and exchange site for fabrics. It
is not clear what was relationship of Eumachia to fabrics, but
it is possible that her family was involved in linen business.
In the far corner of the building of Eumachia three apses were
erected. They held three statues of emperor Tiberius, Libya
(wife of Octavian Augustus and mother of Tiberius) and Nero
Claudius Drusus, brother of Tiberius. Behind the building you
can see a statue of Eumachia herself. Statue survived the
eruption, but original version is kept in the
of Naples. A replica of the ancient Roman statue stands on
the original site.
Fugitives became the last resting place for a group of Pompeii
residents. DNA analysis indicated that it was a family group that were
covered by the last wave of Vesuvius eruptions. Apparently they couldn't
leave the city since some of the members were incapable of moving too
fast. They stayed in Pompeii and received their horrible fate.
The Pistrinum of Sotericus or Bakery of Sotericus lies along Via dell'
Abbondanza of Pompeii. The name of the owner Sotericus was etched on amphorae and
on the walls of this large business enterprise. Bakery worked on a large
scale for the citizens of
Pompeii. There was even a vestibule covered
by plaster and frescoes that was intended for customers. Here they could
sit on long benches and wait for their turn to receive bread loafs they
ordered. Unfortunately much of decorations are gone today.
H. of Paquius Proculus belonged to Paquius Proculus, a
former baker who used fame and influence to eventually become the
duumviri or a mayor of the whole city of Pompeii. A fresco on the left
is that of Paquius Proculus and most likely his wife on the left. The
woman on this portrait holds a stylus and a waxen tables that were
used to write. It is somewhat unusual for the time period for a woman to
be literate and be open about it. It seems that a future mayor wanted to
hit as many social groups as he could. This fresco was
discovered in the house of another baker T. Terentius Neo, who
this image as an example of Roman political propaganda during his
election for political office in Pompeii.
Laundry of Stephanus
was a large commercial enterprise in Pompeii
intended to clean people's clothes for money. It was one of the largest laundries in
Pompeii. It gets its name from numerous graffiti and
frescoes on the outside walls of the building. It says things like "the
united fullers recommend", "Stephanus recommends" and many others.
Amphorae that were discovered here used to contain urine needed to treat
clothes. Low pH of acidity of the urine was supposed to clean linens of
the people who brought their clothes here. They were emerged in the
large bath pictured on the right picture. Slaves would stump and mix
urine with the linen, thus serving as our modern version of the washer.
The House of the Citharist is a badly damaged residential houses along
two major Pompeii streets, Via dell' Abbondanza and Via Stabiana. It is easy to
recognize the the general outline of the Roman residence, but most of
structure above the first floor was destroyed. Frescoes plaster was
destroyed during eruption. Archaeological works in the 19th and early
20th century finished the job. After these buildings were exposed many
colors, plaster and other components of the residents were weathered by
the natural elements.
House of Menander is one of the most outstanding and well
preserved houses in Pompeii. Unlike many other buildings in Pompeii
House of Menander kept its roof that allowed protection of inner decor
of the walls and floors of the building including colorful frescoes and
Other buildings in this part of Pompeii
Insula 6: House of the Cryptoporticus, H. of the Ceii and the H.
of the Lararium.
Insula 7: H. of the Ephebus, H. of the Priest Amandus, H. of
the Fabius Amandus
Insula 8: H. of the Four Styles, Thermopolium of Vetutius Placidus
Insula 9: H. of Ceres, H. of the Beautiful Impluvium, H. of the
Insula 10: H. of the Lovers, H. of the Cabinet Maker
Insula 11: H. of Venus in a Bikini, H. of the First Floor
Insula 12: Garum Workshop
Insula 15: H. of the Ship Europa
Amphitheater of Pompeii (Insula 6)
The Amphitheatre of Pompeii is situated South of the Via dell'
Abbondanza in an Eastern corner of the city
near the Sarno Gate entrance. It measures 104 by 135 meters in width and
length and was completed around 80 BC. Construction of this site was
commissioned by two city magistrates M. Porcius and C. Quintus Valgus.
The site was chosen since this part of the town had no structures and no
older blocks had to be torn down to make way for a new construction. The
arena was dug 6 metres (20 feet) below earth level and earthworks
supported the thousands of seats for spectators. After Pompeii was
struck by an earthquake in 62 AD it was reconstruction using money of
Caius Cuspius Panse and his son Caius Cuspius Panse. Their statues once
Julia Felix or Julia "The Fortunate One" was a rich Roman woman who
owned this splendid residence that took the whole block of Pompeii.
was lucky enough to be born in a rich and influential family. Along with
her famous name she inherited a large fortune. At the time of its
construction it was well furnished and beautifully decorated. Various
statues around the house gave the residence its stylish appearance.
However the villa was badly damaged in an earthquake of 62 AD just a
decade before the final destruction of
Pompeii. Inventive and smart
women quickly used her private property to rent out to the locals those
houses and business were completely destroyed by this natural disaster.
She quickly increased her fortunate through extra income to become a
prominent public figure in Pompeii.
Her residence was first discovered in
1755, but it was completely explored only in the 20th century.
Archaeologists discovered an interesting heating system underneath its
floors. Heated water would flow underneath the residents of the
thus conducting heat inside rooms of the villa during colder winter
months. Additionally they discovered a nymphaem or a grotto of nymphs
with a water stair fountain. It was probably a favorite place for Julia
to relax and escape loud street of busy urban life.
Great or Large Palaestra of Gymnasium is situated across the Pompeian
Amphitheatre. It contained a large area for exercise surrounded by
colonnaded porticos. Additionally it had a large reflection pool in the
middle. It was reserved for rich and influential citizens of
It was here that they engaged in sporting activities as well as social
plaster mold of a Pompeii victims was discovered in Large Palaestra. He
was discovered in the South colonnade near the latrines. He was
probably caught off guard by an eruption and feverishly tried to get his
boots and hooded cloak that he left behind. By the time he got out and
tried to make a run for it, it was too late. Toxic fumes overwhelmed him
and killed him. Judging by position of his hands he tried to close his
mouth with his cloak, but that obviously had no effect. His lifeless
body was covered by volcanic ash. Body long have rotted away, leaving
behind an empty space that was filled with plaster. Today his cast is
kept in the Forum Granary Market (Regio VII, Insula 7).
House of Octavius Quarto is also known as the H. of Loreius
Tiburtinus. It stands on Via dell'Abbondanza and was first excavated in
1916. The residence survived despite bombs dropped during World War II
in the area that also hit Pompeii.
is covered by colorful frescoes that were painted by an artist Lucius
who left his personal signature and Latin words "Lucius Pinxit" or "Lucius
painted this". A garden of the house had a long canal that ran across
it. In the antiquity it was filled with water with a fountain
constructed somewhere half way. Archeologists discovered traces of plant
roots that indicated that the owner like order and symmetry. Trees,
shrubs and plants were planted in straight symmetrical line along a
House of Venus in
the Shell is named after one of the most famous frescoes that came to
symbolize not only art of Pompeii, but all of Roman Empire. House of Venus in the Shell stands on the Via dell'Abbondanza street. It
is also known as the H. of D. Lucretii Satrii Valentes. It was
excavated in the 1930's. It is most prominent for beautiful frescoes
that covered walls of this residence. It is one of the most recognizable
pictures from Pompeii. The most splendid example
is that of goddess of love, Venus lying on a conch shell, while nymphs
tending for her.
The House of the Garden Hercules is a prosperous private residence on
the intersection between Via Nocera and Via della Palaestra. The house
was discovered in 1953 and excavated over a course of several decades.
The house gets its name from a small shrine in the garden that is
dedicated to Hercules. It is possible that the owner especially loved
his outdoor area. He or she even constructed an outdoor triclinium
or a dining area under shades of olive trees that once grew here. The
rest of the house is fairly well preserved. Some of the private quarters
still contain colorful frescoes that were painted on the walls.
House of the Moralist belong to two wine merchants that probably were
related to each other. One of them was T. Arrius Polites and the other
was M. Epidius Hymenaeus. The name of the building comes from those
graffiti that were found on the walls of rooms.
The House of Aulus Trebius Valens was excavated in 1913-
15. Its facade was covered by graffiti that proclaimed new events at the
amphitheatre as well as political propaganda urging people to vote for
particular contenders. Unfortunately much of plaster at the front of a
building was destroyed by bombings in September 1943. Only few
inscriptions survived war years. One of the inscriptions state: "20
pairs of gladiators of Gnaeus Allius Nigidius Maius, quinquennial, and
their substitutes will fight without any public expense at Pompeii".
Gladiator Barracks was a major structure in Pompeii that housed
gladiators and their families. Archeologists discovered several helmets,
weapons and personal armor that once was worn by this entertainers.
Apparently parts of the structure were used as a prison for gladiators
that broke some rule. Two men were abandoned in their cell on a day of
the eruption. No one came back to save them. Another interesting find
was a body of a rich woman with many jewels and personal belongings in
the barracks. It wasn't exactly a big secret that many
rich women enjoyed the company of gladiators who were super stars of the day. This one enjoyed it probably too much at the wrong time and
wrong place. However it could be just that she tried to save herself in
the closest building. There were other 18 bodies of Pompeii residents found here.
Other buildings in this part of Pompeiiinclude:
Insula 1: House of the Bronze Bull, H. of L. Caecilius Jucundus,
H. of the Epigrams
Insula 2: H. of the Silver Wedding, H. of Queen Margherita
H. of the Surgeon is named after its previous resident who happened
to be a Surgeon. His extensive tools of trade were discovered here. It
is amazing how these items are similar to modern scalpels, scissors and
other items used by modern day doctors.
House of Pansa (Insula 6)
H. of Pansa is occasionally known as the House of Gnaeus Aleius
Nigidius Maius, a former owner of this rich residence that takes a whole
block of the city. Parts of the house were destroyed during World War II
House of the Faun is
a large residence in Pompeii that was constructed on a site of
an older dwelling that dated back to the 3rd century BC. The name of the house comes from a
statue of a Faun that stands in the middle of the reflective pool. The
walls were covered by beautiful frescoes and expensive mosaics. This
includes a huge mosaic of the Battle of Issus in the 4th century when
Alexander the Great of Macedon (pictured above right) defeated his arch
nemesis Persian king Darius III. The original have been removed from
stored in the National Archaeological Museum in Naples. Its copy is kept
House of the Vettii gets its name from the name written on two bronze
seals that were discovered by archaeologists in the atrium during its
excavation in 1894- 95. These seals belonged to freedmen brothers Aulus
Vettius Conviva and Aulus Vettius Restitutus. It was fairly common
practice for Roman residents to become slaves, just like it was common
for these slaves to buy back their freedom. These two brothers
apparently were gifted and smart enough to buy their way out of bondage.
The House of the Golden Bracelet (or the House of the Wedding of
Alexander) in Pompeii is named after a beautiful golden bracelet that was
discovered here on a body of a probable wife of the owner of the
residence. It weights 0.6 kg with a shape of a two headed snake that
hold a medallion with a portrait of a woman or a female deity. The insula is situated north of the junction between Vicolo del Farmacista
and Via delle Terme. The house was especially rich. It had three levels
and its walls are decorated with colorful frescoes, including that of
the Wedding of Alexander and Roxanne, which also gave the insula its
archaeological excavation in the H. of the Golden Bracelet
archaeologists discovered a body of a child, grown man and a baby that
sat on the mother in the last moment of his or her life. They were
killed by the staircase that collapsed as they tried to flee their
residence. Stairs led to the villa's garden and further to the sea
front. They apparently tried to make it run from Pompeii. Unfortunately
they didn't make it. Fresco below might be the depiction of the family
that once lived here.
Other buildings in this part of Pompeii
Insula 1: H. of the Vestals
Insula 2: H. of Sallust
Insula 7: H. of Adonis, H. of Apollo
Insula 9: H. of Meleager, H. of the Dioscuri
Insula 11: H. of the Labyrinth
Insula 15: H. of the Prince of Naples
Insula 16: H. of the Golden Cupids, H. of the Ara Maxima
of Pompeii is undoubtedly one of the most interesting structures in
the ancient Pompeii. Baths survived despite the natural cataclysm
that befell on the city. Interior of Stabian Baths is covered by
beautiful frescoes, carvings and statues. All residents of the city
visited some type of bath. Stabian baths were reserved for some of
the richest member of Pompeii society.
Original Stabian Baths
appeared on this side in the 4th century BC. However its current
building was constructed in the 1st century BC by the order of Roman
governors of Pompeii, Julius and Publius Anisius, appointed by
Sulla. Its layout and architecture clearly indicates influence of
the Roman Republic that took possession of the city.
Stabian Baths is a complex of
buildings constructed a central area for exercise that is known as
palaestra. Here you could take a breath of fresh cold air, read, or
exercise. Two small rooms on each side of the open air gym were used
for rubbing sand and oil. It was a sneaky way to escape your
opponent in a wrestling match. Additionally palaestra of the Stabian
Baths had a swimming pool that measures 15 by 8 by 1.5 meters. It is
not exactly Olympic size pool, but it is of descent length. Statues
of Zeus, mythical hero Hercules and Satire was also present
indicated that the cult of masculinity and strength played a key
role in the lives of Pompeii residents.
Pompeii Stabian Baths were
divided into men's and women's parts as it was customary for the
time period. You could enter men's quarters through two entrances
from palaestra and from street Via dell'Abbondanza. The first room
they would enter was the locker room of baths. Walls were lined with
niches that stored clothes and personal belongings. Ceilings and
walls of the locker room is covered by beautiful frescoes and
figures of mythical creatures. Ancient paints didn't fade despite
hot temperatures and centuries of erosion.
Take a note at the bodies
those plaster molds were made within Pompeii Stabian Baths.
Surprisingly some residents of Pompeii were completely unaware of
the dangers that volcano eruption carried for the city. Apparently
they decided that natural cataclysm is a great time to visit local
baths. There are no line and entrance fee had to be dirt cheap.
Judging by the fact that bodies carried wooden flops on their legs
during their death, it indicates that these unfortunate victims were
in the hot room, when they decided to finally flee the city. Image
below shows part of the leg with remains of wooden flops with a
strap that was probably made from natural animal skin.
room visitors went into tepidarium (warm baths). Roman baths had a
double floor. The upper one stood on numerous pillars and supported
visitors. The space between upper and lower floor was a narrow space
that was warmed by fire. Workers of these Pompeii baths had to keep
burning firewood to keep the heat inside the steam room. Naturally
the floor got hot and the only way to walk across the floor was by
wearing wooden flops that were given to all visitors.
Visitors emerged from heated
steam room into a frigidarium. As the name suggest it was a cold
room. Women's section didn't have a separate frigidarium. Instead
they had a small bath in their own locker room along with a separate
Romans liked their public buildings and frequently
visited this place. However it wasn't as clean as some people might
think. One of the best places to witness this is in the bath's small
pool. There is a lead pipe in the corner that brought water to the
Jacuzzi styled bath. However there is no outflow for the water. That
means that Romans rested, bathed and did their things in a water with no
circulation. Needless to stay it is somewhat controversial whether they
were cleaner or actually dirtier after they left the Baths. In fact one
of the Roman medical doctors advised his patients not to go to baths if
they had an open wound. Otherwise they would certainly die of gangrene.
Forum Baths of Pompeii don't impress with size or scope
of its structure. However it is one of the most elegant and well-
preserved baths in the city. Many murals, sculptures and interior
reliefs retained their freshness, while bright color pigments are still
visible on the walls and ceiling of Forum Baths.
Forum Baths of Pompeii were built by the orders of
duumvirs (Pompeii city officials) Lucius Caesius with participation of
aediles Caius Occius and Lucius Niraemius in the 1st century AD at the
crossroads of Via del Foro and Via delle Terme. Line most of the Roman
baths, the Forum Baths were divided into male and female sections
separate from each other. Several narrow rooms between these parts were
reserved for bath employees. They brought in firewood, water, wine and
anything rich visitors asked for. They had their own separate entrance
from Via della Terma street so they won't bother clients as they run
Male section of Forum Baths had its own dressing room,
frigidarium (cold room), tepidarium (hot room) and caldarium with two
baths. One of these baths is lined with beautiful white marble that
still bears an inscription in Latin that states that this beautiful bath
was donated by duumvirs Cn. Melissaeius Aper and M. Staius Rufus for the
price of 5,250 sesterces, a huge sum by the standards of the day.
Archeologists didn't find any obvious niches in the wall.
Instead they discovered holes from nails that held wooden boxes.
Customers could leave their personal possessions and clothes while they
relaxed and socialized. Female section of Forum Baths had a small
charming garden where women could relax, read or simply breath some
fresh air. Forum Baths were located in a down town of the ancient
Pompeii, so the land was highly expensive. It prevented construction of
large palaestra or open air exercise space.
House of T. Terentius Neo (Insula II)
H. of T. Terentius Neo was named after a probable owner of the
residence. Private house also contains a small bakery adjusted to the
living quarters. It is possible that the landlord also owned the
Lupanare or Brothel was one of
the most popular places in Pompeii for obvious reasons. It is a
large and well preserved building that was barely damaged during the
eruption. In the ancient days Pompeii had about 25- 25 brothels of
various size. Most of these were simple rooms near wine bars. There
prostitutes served their customers. Today travel
guides usually mention one Lupanare located just behind Stabian
Baths on the intersection of Via Stabiana and Via dell Abbondanza (Decumanus
Maximus). Unlike modern
society Lupanare or Brothels was a fairly accepted by the general
public. Prostitution in the Ancient Roman Empire was an accepted
part of life. This included female prostitution, male and in some
cases even underage prostitution. Its owners left numerous graffiti and signs as an
advertisement of the business.
Lupanar building was
discovered by archeologists in 1862. Over the next 150 years the
building was renovated and reconstructed. The name Lupanar comes
from a Latin word for a "female wolf" (Latin- lupa), playful Roman
term for prostitutes. Pompeii Lupanar is a two storey building with
five rooms on each floor and 10 rooms in total. Condition in the
Brothel were simple. Stone beds were covered by mattresses and
pillows, while cells themselves were fairly small. Hallway of
Lupanar were covered by frescoes of erotic nature. It was the first
things that customers saw as they entered the building. Cost of
services of prostitutes were worth 2- 8 asses depending age,
appearance and "fame" of a prostitute. Most of women who came into
this profession came from Greece and Eastern Mediterranean.
House of the Bear is a private residents that stands on the Via Augustali.
This colorful Pompeii residence gets its name from a mosaic of a wounded bear.
It was one of the first decorations discovered in the House of the Bear,
yet it was not the last. The resident has some of the most splendid
mosaics that adore walls and floors.
Other buildings in this part of Pompeii
Insula 1: Shop of Sestius Proculus, Public toilets, Modestus Bakery,
Thermopolium, House of Mars and Venus, Hospitium Sitti, H. of Siricus
Insula 2: H. of Gavius Rufus, H. of C. Vibius, H. and Bakery of Popidius Priscus, Casa delle Quadrighe, Cella Meretricia, H. of Mercurio, Shop of Magonius, Taberno Hedones, H. of D. Caprasius
Primus, H. of Suetti, Potitus and Elainus
Insula 4: H. of the Coloured Capitals, H. of the Wild Boar, H.
of the Figured Capitals, Temple of Fortuna August, Private residence of
Marcus Tullius, H. of Bacchus, H. of the Grand Duke of Tuscany,
H. of the Black Wall, House of the Terracotta Shapes
Insula 16: H. of M. Fabius Rufus, H. of Aemilius Crescens
Suburban Baths (Pompeii)
Suburban Baths were built outside of Pompeii just 100
meters from the Sea Gate (Porta Marina). It shows how little
interest did ancient Romans of the time period gave to safety of
their cities. They had no fear of invasion and in case of Suburban
Baths aesthetics reasons trampled practicality.
Theatre of Pompeii is a well preserved site that housed thousands of
viewers. Unlike other Ancient Roman sites that were quarried by later
generations in the Antiquity and Medieval times, the theatre of city was
out of reach. Most of the structure have survived after centuries of
being hidden underground.
Temple of Isis is a modest
sanctuary in the centre of the ancient Pompeii. Judging by inscriptions
found on stones and artifacts it was dedicated to goddess Isis.
Goddess Isis was originally an Egyptian deity associated with the cult of
prosperity and fertility. However as Egypt became a Roman province many
of the foreign gods were transported to the mainland Italy, including
Pompeii. Temple of
Isis was just one of the examples of multicultural nature of this
metropolis. However one should not forget that this relative tolerance
came with a price. Gods of the defeated nations could not be worshipped
without respect of the native Roman gods. As long as you paid your
homage to the Roman gods you could worship anyone you wanted to. If you
refused to follow the official pantheon of gods you could be killed as
the enemy of the state.
Other buildings in this part of Pompeii
Insula 1: House of the Geometric Mosaics, H. of Championnet, Hall of
the Aediles, Hall of the Duoviri, Sarno Baths, H. of Verbinus, H.
of Severus, H. of the Doves, H. of Caecilius Phoebus, H. of
Emperor Joseph II
Insula 4: H. of Holconius Rufus, H. of Cornelius Rufus, H. of
T. Mescini Gelonis, Bakery, H. of Omfale
House of the Chaste Lovers is a fairly recent discovery in Pompeii. It was
discovered and subsequently excavated in the late 1980's. Its name is derived from the wall frescoes
that depict men and women partying, kissing and enjoying each others' company.
The complex is fairly large and still undergoes continual excavations.
Scientists discovered an adjacent stable that contained bodies of mules
that were used in the household needs. Part of the complex is taken by
the bakery. It is almost certain that mules were used to speed up the
production of bread for the residents of Pompeii. Bakery was apparently
badly damaged by earlier seismic activity. Crevices were rather hastily
filled up by plaster.
House of the Citarista is a large private residence that combined
several older houses originally constructed around 3rd century BC. It is
one of the largest homes in Pompeii. It gets its name from a bronze
statue of Apollo Citarista that was found in the peristyle of the
House of Jason or House of the Fatal Loves was originally discovered in 1878. After subsequent
excavation most of the frescoes were removed. After loosing the layer of
stucco and decorations the building was left to the elements. Weather
erosion started destroying the building. Today it is present in a fairly
serious dilapidated condition. Some of the frescoes are still visible in
National Archaeological Museum in Naples. They depict various scenes
from the Ancient Greek mythology that include Jason, Greek hero. It is
this fresco that gave this residence its name.
Other buildings in this part of Pompeii
Insula 1: House of the Diadumeni, H. of Epidius Sabinus, H. of Paccius Alexander, H. of Sodom and Gomorrah
Insula 3: H. of Marcus Lucretius, H. of Philocalus, Bakery of T.
Insula 5: H. of the Restaurant, H. of the Skeleton, H. of the
Pompeii Gates and Streets
Stabia Gates are located in the
South part of Pompeii. The ruins of the former city gate were re-
discovered in 1851.
inscription in a Stabia gate stated: "The Aediles
Publius Sittius, son of Marcus, and Numerius Pontius, son of Publius,
laid down the limits of this street, and fixed the terminus of it 10
feet beyond the Stabia Gate". So current name of the gates were
actually given by the ancient Romans. The name since stuck with the
structure. Archeologists discovered over 160 graves outside of the
Stabia Gate. They were dated by 4th- 2nd centuries BC.
Necropolis of the Nuceria Gate
Necropolis of Pompeii is an ancient cemetery. The word "necropolis" is
literally translated as "the city of the dead" in Greek. People of the
city buried some of the most influential residents of Pompeii.
Porta Marina (Marina Gate or Sea Gate)
Porta Marina or Marina Gate was constructed in the second
century BC. It was the last city gate constructed for Pompeii from the
stone delivered here from Sarno. A smaller portico was intended for the
pedestrians while larger entrance was designed for the carriages. You
still can see signs of tracks left on the pavement.
in Pompeii enjoyed their food quick and efficient. Several taverns were
located spread throughout a city. Food was prepared and stored in in
large jars in the counter. When residents came for a fast food they were
served at these snack bars that were known as tavola calda or hot
People and animals of Pompeii
Archeological site is one of the most unique places in human history. It
offers a rear snapshot of lives that people lived, their clothes as well
as various items of everyday life. Many bodies were destroyed in the process of chaotic eruptions, however
they left empty niches and fragments of the skeletons. Archaeologists
poured plaster inside those spaces to get a shape of a person that was
killed by the volcano. There have been found over 1000 bodies in the
city of Pompeii. Many more are awaiting their discovery in the regions
of the city that are yet to be uncovered. They tell about
appearance of the people, their last seconds and in some case reveal
interesting details of their personal lives.
One of the curious discoveries that were made in Pompeii are bodies of a couple
that tried to leave a small hotel that became known as the Inn at Moregine. One body belonged to a man, while another was that of a young
woman. A golden bracelet was found on the arm of the girl. It had a
shape of a snake with two diamonds for eyes and weighted a pound. It
stated: "Dominus ancillae suae", which implied that a master or dominus
gave this jewelry to his former slave girl. It was a common practice for
owners to keep a whole harem of slaves or freed slaves for their
personal pleasure. Apparently these two enjoyed a rendezvous in the
privacy of a hotel, when disaster struck their town. Neither of them
made it to the entrance and were killed by collapsing roof.
Another way to find out about status of the victims were clothes or
items that were discovered next to an unfortunate victim. Luckily for us
many of the clothes attributes were preserved despite heat and time. For
example the body of a man pictured below was obviously that of a slave.
We can tell that by the broad belt that was probably made of animal
skin. Inscriptions of a slave's owner, his status or address could be
etched on the belt.
One of the easiest ways to get to Pompeii is by hopping SITA bus from
Naples, Italy. It costs from €1.80 to €3.20 to hitch a ride here.
You can travel to Pompeii by taking a train via Circumvesuviana
Napoli-Sorrento line from Naples or Sorrento, Italy. The ride is fairly
short. It takes about 30 to 40 minutes to get here. Its price ranges
from €1.80 to €3.20. Get familiar yourself with a map of the train route
to make sure you don't miss "Pompei Scavi" stop station, where you need
to get off to reach Pompeii Archaeological Site. You can also leave your
bags here for a low price of €1.5. As you get off station you can visit
Tourist Information Center (50 meters away from station) to get more
information about the site. Taking a map might be helpful if you don't
want to get lost in this large settlement.
You can also travel to Pompeii from the Italian capital of
Rome, Italy. You
need to take a train from Termini to Naples. From there you need to
changed trains by taking the escalator to the Circumvesuviana
Napoli-Sorrento line. It costs €10.50 to get from Rome to Naples in one
direction and another €1.80 to get from Naples to Pompeii itself.
If you travel to Italy on a cruise you can take boat to the shore and
then get a bus shuttle to Pompeii. Most of tourists who travel here by
boat usually include visit to the ancient site as part of the travel
Weather in Italy can be difficult to bear in summer months.
It can easily reach 40C on hottest day. Keep this in mind
and make sure you take plenty of water. Additionally you can
cover your head and take sun tan to avoid sun burn.
The closest ATM to the site of Pompeii is that near Pompei
Scavi train station. There is no way to get cash once you
enter the site so take as much cash as you might need while
you travel to the site.
Pompeii is a large site. You might want to take a map of the
ancient city to get to the destinations as soon as possible.
You can spend days here and still find new corners of the
Food and Restaurants near Pompeii, Italy
Via Piave 36
Via di Mercurio
Piazza Schettini 12
Open: Tue- Sun
Closed: Mondays and late Sundays Nov-
March, 2 weeks in Jan