Ermak Travel Guide

 

The World at your fingertips 

 

 

Feel free to leave your comments below. If you want to share your knowledge, additional information or experience in a particular place your input is more than welcome.

 

Pompeii or Pompei

Pompeii

Pompeii 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 of Naples              Map of Pompeii

Vesuvius Eruption                

Travel Tips

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.

 

 

Location: Pompeii, Campania   Map

 

Destroyed: August 24th, 79 AD (LXXIX AD)

 

Open: 8:30am- 7:30pm Apr- Oct

8:30am- 5pm Nov- March

 

Closed: Jan 1, May 1, Dec 25

 

Tel. 081 857 5347

 

Entrance Fee: €11 adult; €5.50 EU citizens

 

History of Pompeii

Traditional Pompeii House Layout

Christianity in Pompeii

Most Haunted Places in the World

Archeological

Africa

Europe

North America

Asia

 

 

 

Pompeii Italy Travel Destinations

Pompeii by regions (regio)

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)

Pompeii

The 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 Forest.

 

More On Ancient Pompeii Forum

 

Temple of Jupiter and Arch of Germanicus (at the back)

Pompeii Forum Temple of Jupiter

The Temple of Jupiter (Roman version of Greek god Zeus) was the central temple in 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)

Pompeii Forum Temple of Apollo  Pompeii Forum Temple of Apollo Reconstruction

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 Pompeii. A bronze statue of god Apollo was places on pedestal on an Eastern side. It is copy since the original was moved to a museum.

Pompeii Basilica

Pompeii basilica  Pompeii Basilica

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

Municipal Offices of Pompeii

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

Pompeii Forum Macellum

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 Publici

Temple of the Lares Publici  Temple of the Lares Publici

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

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

Pompeii Forum Temple of Vespasian  Pompeii Forum

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.

Building of Eumachia

Building of Emachia

Building of 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 building.

In ancient times Building of 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 Historic museum of Naples. A replica of the ancient Roman statue stands on the original site.

 

 

Regio I (Pompeii)

Garden of Fugitives (Insula 21)

Pompeii plaster victims

Garden of 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.

 

Bakery of Sotericus (Insula 12)

Pompeii Bakery of Sotericus 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.

 

House of Paquius Proculus

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 presented this image as an example of Roman political propaganda during his election for political office in Pompeii.

Laundry of Stephanus (Insula 6)

Pompeii Laundry of Stephanus

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 (Insula 4)

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 (Insula 10)

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 mosaics.

 

 

Other buildings in this part of Pompeii include:

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 Orchard

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

 

 

 

Regio II (Pompeii)

Amphitheater of Pompeii (Insula 6)

Pompeii Amphitheater

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 stood here.

 

More Information on Pompeii Amphitheater

 

House of Julia Felix (Insula 4)

Julia Felix or Julia "The Fortunate One" was a rich Roman woman who owned this splendid residence that took the whole block of Pompeii.

Julia Felix 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 apartment 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.

Palaestra of Pompeii (Insula 7)

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 Pompeii. It was here that they engaged in sporting activities as well as social interactions.

Pompeii VictimThis 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 Quartio (Insula 2)

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.

It 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 central pond.

House of Venus in the Shell (Insula 3)

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 (Insula 8)

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.

 

 

 

Regio III (Pompeii)

House of the Moralist (Insula 4)

 

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.

1. Keep feet clean and don't spoil linen and bed

2. Respect women and avoid obscene speech

3. Refrain from anger and from fights

4. Otherwise, go back to your home

House of the Trebius Valens (Insula 2)

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".

 

 

Regio V (Pompeii)

 

Gladiator Barracks or House of the Gladiators (Insula 5)

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 Pompeii include:

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

Insula 4: H. of M. Lucretius Fronto

 

 

Regio VI (Pompeii)

 

House of the Surgeon (Insula 1)

 

House of the Surgeon Pompeii

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 Allied bombing.

House of the Ship (Insula 10)

House of the Faun (Insula 12)

 

 

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 Pompeii and stored in the National Archaeological Museum in Naples. Its copy is kept here.

 

House of the Vettii (Insula 15)

 

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.

 

House of the Golden Bracelet (Insula 17)

 

House of the Golden Bracelet Pompeii  House of the Golden Bracelet Pompeii

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 original name.

 

During 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.

House of the Golden Bracelet Pompeii

Other buildings in this part of Pompeii include:

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

Insula 17: H. of the Library

 

 

Regio VII (Pompeii)

 

Stabian Baths of Pompeii

Stabian Baths of Pompeii

Stabian Baths 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.

After locker 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 steam room.

 

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

Forum Baths

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 around.

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 business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lupanare or Brothel

 

Lupanare or Brothel in Pompeii

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 (Insula 2)

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 include:

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

 

 

Regio VIII (Pompeii)

 

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

Theatre of Pompeii

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

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 include:

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

 

 

Regio IX (Pompeii)

 

House of the Chaste Lovers (Insula 12)

Pompeii House of the Chaste Lovers

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

House of the Citarista Pompeii

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 residence.

House of Jason

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 include:

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. Terentius Proculus

Insula 5: H.  of the Restaurant, H. of the Skeleton, H. of the Pygmies

 

Pompeii Gates and Streets

Stabia Gate

Stabia Gates are located in the South part of Pompeii. The ruins of the former city gate were re- discovered in 1851. An Oscan 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.

 

 

Public buildings of Pompeii

 

 

The Tavern of Pompeii

Citizens 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 table.

 

 

People and animals of Pompeii

 

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.

More on Pompeii victims

 

 

Tourism in Pompeii

Travel to Pompeii

By bus

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.

 

Train

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.

 

Cruise

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 arrangements.

 

Tips

  • 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 excavated city.

Food and Restaurants near Pompeii, Italy

Al Gamberone

Location: Via Piave 36

Tel. 081 850 6814

Open: Wed- Mon

 

Canteen

Location: Via di Mercurio

President

Location: Piazza Schettini 12

Open: Tue- Sun

Closed: Mondays and late Sundays Nov- March, 2 weeks in Jan

 

Ristorante Lucullus

Location: Via Plinio 129

Tel. 081 061 3055

Open: 10:30am- 10pm June- Sept

10:30am- 4pm Tue- Sun, Oct- May

 

Pompeii

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

blog comments powered by Disqus