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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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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