Pompeii or Pompei


Interesting facts

Chronology of the last day of Pompeii

Roman House and Street

The cost of living and life in Pompeii

Pompeii facts for kids


Travel Tips


How to get to Pompeii





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
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 (or October) 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.

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.



Most intresting buildings

Garden of Fugitives

The House of the Citharist

House of Menander

Pompeii Amphitheater

House of Julia Felix

Palaestra of Pompeii

Stabian Baths of Pompeii

Forum Baths of Pompeii

Lupanare or Brothel


Gladiators' Barracks

Central Baths


Pompeii Italy Travel Destinations

Pompeii by regions (regio)

Pompeii regions

 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)

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 12 AD 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


Regio I

Regio II

Regio III

Regio IV

Regio V

Regio VI

Regio VII

Regio VIII

Regio IX


Pompeii Gates and Streets

Pompeii Gates and StreetsLike any other major city in the ancient Roman Empire, Pompeii was protected by towers and defensive walls. The city walls that reached 3 kilometers (3220 meters) in length with 12 towers defended the weakest regions in the defense of the city. Many of the city’s towers were built back in the 6th and 5th centuries BC. Later, the Romans rebuilt some of them. As a material for the construction of the fortress walls, the inhabitants of Pompeii used tufa (light, porous rock) for the exterior cladding. The space between the stone walls was filled with earth. The walls were strong enough, and construction accelerated significantly.

There were seven gates through which it was possible to get into the city. These were the Porta Marina or the Sea Gate, the Herculane Gate, the Vesuvian Gate, the Nola Gate, the Sarno, the Nuceria Gates and the Stabiae Gates. Some guides talk about the gates of Capua, but in fact no evidence about the existence of these gates was found during archaeological excavations. Between the Herculane and the Vesuvian Gate, we can see the damage. These are the consequences of the bombing of Roman siege weapons during the siege of Sulla.

The Vesuvian Gate and the Gate of Sarno are in poorest state of preservation. A 62 year earthquake caused serious damage to the entire city. Since the Romans were accustomed to living in a world without invading barbarians from the North, the municipal authorities were not in a hurry to repair the military fortifications.

Pompeii City Walls and Towers

Stabia Gate

Nocera Gate

Necropolis at the Nocera Gate

Sarno Gate

Nola Gate

Vesuvius Gate

Herculaneum Gate

Porta Marina (Marina Gate or Sea Gate)


Main Streets of Pompeii

By planning the streets of Pompeii, you can easily recognize the original settlement of the Oskan people from the districts of Pompeii that were added later. As the Roman way of life gradually became established in the city, the layout acquired the strict direction of straight streets, which intersected at right angles. The irregular arrangement of the streets is still evident around the territory of the Forum, but such chaotic buildings were replaced by the Roman tradition of building the city. The grid of roads of Pompeii consisted of streets that went from east to west (Decumani) and from north to south (Cardi). We will discuss some of the main streets in more detail here. All street names are modern, but the ancient names of some Pompeii streets are known.

Via delle Abbondanza (Decumanus Maximus)
Via delle Abbondanza was one of the two main cities of Decumani (the other Via di Nola was almost parallel to its continuation of Via Dell Fortuna and Via delle Terme). This street has an orientation from east to west. The street got its name thanks to the fountain at one of the intersections, which was mistakenly identified with the personification of the Plentiful gifts. Abbondanza in Italian means "abundance". Later it became clear that the image had nothing to do with abundance, and most likely had a simple decorative purpose. However, the name of the street decided not to change.

The western part of Via dell 'Abbondanza connected the streets of Stabiana, Cardo Maximus, with the Forum, after which the street continued under the name of Via Marina or Sea Street. The first segment of Via delle Abbondanza belongs to the very early stage of development of Pompeii, which grew up around the Forum. As the city continued to expand, the street was expanded beyond the Via Stabiana until it reached the Sarno Gate.

This long street linked the most important areas of the city from the Forum in the west to the Stabina Banya and the amphitheater with the Great Palestra in the east. The intersection with Via Stabiana was known as the intersection of Holconius, in honor of the statue of M. Holconius Rufus, who once stood here. Not far away was the Holconius Rufus House itself.

Via Stabiana (Cardo Maximus)
Via Stabiana or Cardo Maximus as it was called by the ancient Romans, is one of the three main roads of Pompeii, which were oriented from north to south. The rest of the cardo roads were Via di Mercurio, Via del Foro, Via delle Scula and Via di Nozera.

The Via Stabiana road in antiquity was one of the oldest. It led outside the city to the neighboring city of Stabia and Sorrentum in the South. Hence the modern name of the street itself. As the city developed, the road became the main artery with the axis from north to south. The road ran from the Vesuvian Gate in the north and united the parallel streets of Decumani Via dell Abbondanza and Via di Noli. These streets thus form the pattern of the street grid.

Pay attention to the stones on the roads. These are pedestrian crossings. During the rains, the drainage system could not cope with all the water and the streets often flooded. Pedestrians could cross the roads on these stones without wetting their feet. At the same time, carts and carriages could pass between the stones.

Via Consolare (Via Consolare)
Via Consolare forms the northwestern boundary of the street network of Pompeii. Part of the street runs parallel to the city walls. It was one of the most ancient roads of the city. She led to the nearby city of Kuma. Its obvious cultural and commercial significance was complemented by the fact that it led to Salina Hercules or the salty lagoon. This region was located on the coast near the town of Torre Annunziata. Here salt was mined for citizens. Hence the ancient name of the street Via Sarina or Salt Road. By the way, the Gerkulan’s Gate, through which Via Consolare passes, was also called Vera Sarina or the Salt Gate.

Around the middle of the 2nd century BC Via Consolare, like other city streets, was paved with polygonal basalt blocks. The road stones (cippi), written in Oscan, testify to this and say that the aedils of the Samnite period paved this road.


Country Villas in Pompeii

Outside the city of Pompeii (in the north-west) you can see several villas that belonged to the richest and most influential people in the city. People who lived here did not want to hustle and walk through the narrow streets of the city. They preferred to live in nature. Pax Romana or the Roman world, begun by Emperor Octavian Augustus, convinced the Romans that their empire was invincible and that power over the conquered nations and tribes was unshakable. They were not afraid to settle outside of the defensive walls of the city of Pompeii. Here you can see the most beautiful frescoes, which in many ways became a symbol of ancient Roman art. In order to get here you need to get out of the Gate of Herculanum. On the left were the Villas of Diomedes and then Villa Cicero.

Villa Imperiale

Villa of Cicero

Villa of Diomedes

Villa of the Figured Capitals

Villa of the Mysteries


Pompeii and the Coliseum

It would seem strange that destruction of Pompeii have anything to do with the construction of the main arena in Rome and the whole empire. However, the connection is quite straightforward. New Roman Emperor Titus ascended (23 June 79) throne just two months before the eruption. The death of a large city and many small settlements severely hit the image of the new emperor. Of course, he did his best to help the surviving inhabitants of Pompeii and other citizens of the region financially. He also visited the region twice. The lunar landscape he saw made a heavy impression on him.

To improve his personal popularity, he ordered the construction of the Coliseum to be accelerated. Many private businesses were invited to complete the lining of the amphitheater. Due to the great haste, these groups began working without checking their rulers and measurement units. As a result some layers are uneven. You can see where these layers meet. These are exactly the places where the groups of workers met. But the Romans were pragmatic people. They were concerned about function, not accuracy. Moreover, these irregularities are not very significant.


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.


More on Pompeii victims


Christianity and Judaism in Pompeii

Christians lived in Pompeii and one of the graffiti on the wall of the House of Christians tells us about it. This is the oldest mention of Christians and Christianity in the Roman Empire. You can read more in the article at the link above (Christianity). Therefore, the Christian priest in the picture of Karl Bryullov "Last Day of Pompeii" is quite realistic. The first Christians in this region apparently appeared after the preaching of the Apostle Paul, who visited the neighboring town of Puteoli at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples.

The Jews also lived in Pompeii. At least the history has kept us the name of Drusilla, who died with her son Mark Antony Agrippa. Herod Agrippa’s daughter and wife of Judea’s prosecutor Anthony Felix, she was the granddaughter of Herod the Great himself. That same Herod, who tried to find and execute Jesus Christ shortly after his birth. Herod also restored the Second Temple. By the way Drusilla herself is also mentioned in the Bible.

Acts of the Holy Apostles (24:24): "Several days later, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and listened to him on the subject of faith in Christ Jesus."

However, archeologists have not yet found any artifacts associated with Judaism. This is quite understandable. At the time of the eruption only 9 years have passed since the destruction of Jerusalem. Therefore, local Jews (if they really were free people, not slaves) hid and did not flaunt the signs of their religion.


Public Buildings and Crafts of Pompeii

The houses of the ancient Romans did not differ in diversity. It cannot be said that they were built under one carbon copy, but in general they followed the same plan. For more information about everyday life and Roman houses, see the links above (House and Street) to learn about Roman architecture and general city planning. Many aspects of the city will become clearer.

Under the Romans, Pompeii underwent an extensive process of urban development, especially during the period of Augustus. Public buildings include an amphitheater, a palestra with central sodium (cella natatoria) or a swimming pool and an aqueduct providing water for more than 25 street fountains, at least four public baths, and a large number of private houses (houses) and businesses. Modern scholars have called the amphitheater a model of sophisticated design, especially in the area of ​​crowd control.

In addition to the forum, many other service areas were found: Makellum (excellent grocery market), Pistrinum (mill), Thermopolium (fast food place serving hot and cold dishes and drinks) and cauponae (small cafes) with a bad reputation, habitat for thieves and prostitution services. An amphitheater and two theaters were found, along with Palestra or the gymnasium (sports complex). Hotel (1000 square meters) was found near the city; It is now called the Grand Hotel Muretsin. Geothermal energy is supplied with channel heating for baths and houses. At least one building, Lupanar, was dedicated to prostitution. First floor had small rooms for common citizens. While the second floor was more open and held lavish sex orgies. Unfortunately second floor is usually closed to tourists.

Modern archaeologists excavated gardens and urban areas to identify the main agricultural products in the economy of Pompeii. Pompeii was fortunate to have a fertile, fertile patch of soil for collecting various crops. It was found that the soil around Vesuvius, prior to its eruption, has good water-holding properties, which means access to productive agriculture. Winds from the Tyrrhenian Sea provided soil moisture, despite the hot and dry climate. Barley, wheat and millet were produced together with wine and olive oil, abundant for export to other regions.

Evidence of the importation of wine from Pompeii at the national level in the most prosperous years can be found from artifacts found, such as wine bottles in Rome. For this reason, the vineyards were of great importance for the economy of Pompeii. The agricultural politician Columella suggested that every vineyard in Rome should produce a quota of three sorts of wine per yagerum, otherwise the vineyard would be uprooted. Nutrient-rich lands near Pompeii were extremely effective in this regard and could often exceed these requirements by a wide margin, thus creating incentives for local wineries. While wine was exported for the economy of Pompeii, most other agricultural commodities were probably produced in quantities corresponding to the consumption of the city.

The remnants of large formations built wineries were found in the forum Boarium, covered with cemented casts from the eruption of Vesuvius. It is assumed that these historic vineyards are strikingly similar in structure to modern vineyards throughout Italy.

Charred remains of food plants, roots, seeds and pollen have been found in the gardens of Pompeii, Herculaneum and the Roman villa in Torre Annunziata. They found that wheat, Italian millet, common millet, walnuts, pine nuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, olives, figs, pears, onions, garlic, peaches, carob, grapes, dates, and more were consumed here.


Water supply

For centuries, the water supply for the people of Pompeii was one of the biggest problems. Water was freely accessible only from the Sarno or from springs on Vesuvius. If you wanted to get water in the city, you had to build cisterns or - because of the location on a plateau - dig very deep wells. These wells represented a remarkable feat of engineering. A well found at one of the highest points at the Herculanean Gate was 35 meters deep. Several fountains were found in the city area, mostly located centrally at street crossings. An even larger number, however, existed on property or, especially in later times, even inside buildings. However, it is unclear whether these wells were only used for private supply. After the construction of the aqueduct, the wells were abandoned and – partly used as waste pits – filled up over time. It is believed that before the aqueduct was built, most of the buildings also had a cistern. It can be assumed that this water was primarily used as industrial water – for example for washing, for watering the gardens or for watering livestock. So far, however, there have been no more detailed investigations of the cisterns, since these are usually very unstable and the risk for the archaeologists of being buried during the investigation is too great. Examining the Insula Arriana Polliana, the excavators found a huge cistern that ran the full width of the building (30 meters). Holes through which water could be drawn from the cistern were found in four of the six shops (tabernae) located there.

In the 1st century B.C. an aqueduct was built, which greatly improved the supply of fresh water to the city. To the east of Vesuvius, a line branched off from the existing Serino line. The Pompeian Aqueduct, which ran mostly underground as far as Pompeii, met the city at its highest point at the Vesuvius Gate. A castellum (Latin for "water castle" in this context) was erected there as a distribution building, in which the water was cleaned through two large lead screens - first a coarse screen and then a fine screen - and distributed to three inlets via three weirs. From here it flowed into the city in lead pipes that could have a diameter of up to 30 centimeters. The first inflow fed the public water supply, the second the thermal baths and the third the private connections in the houses. The latter two connections could be closed in the event of water shortages.

The water was distributed via a network of elevated tanks (13 known so far), which could be up to six meters high and like the pipes were made of lead. Their most important function was to equalize pressure. There seems to have been water damage due to the high water pressure in the lead pipes, which is evidenced by various repair marks on the pipes.

Despite many connections in private households, public fountains were the most important for supplying the population with water. These fountains were mostly positioned at crossings. So far 42 wells have been located, indicating a fairly high density in the water supply. Due to the distribution of these public fountains, a radius of approx. 50 meters is assumed as the area of use.

As much as the city went to great lengths to supply water, it paid little attention to its disposal. Since there was a natural gradient in the city, the sewage was simply discharged via the streets.


Toilets, pipes and everything related to water and sewage

Undoubtedly, the Romans were gods of engineering. They managed to build entire underground labyrinths to supply water to the city, as well as the drainage system (pictured above) in order to drain this water from the city. Surprisingly, the system of Pompeii still works. It is also almost surprising that Roman roads have been used for over 2000 years and there are no potholes in them, but Roman roads are a separate topic.

If you go home to private shops in Pompeii, you will notice that there is a small room in all of them. It is usually far away at home or under the stairs. They did their business in the toilets in the houses. Separate underground system brought these impurities out of the city. By the way, these moves became an interesting source of knowledge about the diet among the inhabitants of Pompeii.


Roman toilets Pompeii

The largest public toilets on the Pompeii Forum.



Although Pompeii is the most important and meaningful source for the economic history of antiquity, the evaluation of the finds in this context is not always easy. Academics have long debated whether Pompeii was a producer or consumer city. According to current knowledge, a mixed form must be assumed.


Food supply

The city's food supply seems to have been provided, at least in part, by external suppliers from the surrounding area, such as the villae rusticae in Boscoreale. These companies were probably specialized in the production of certain products. In Boscoreale, for example, 18 clay barrels (dolia) were found buried in the ground, a large wine press and an underground reservoir that could hold 10,000 liters of wine. Wine cultivation had been around since the 1st century BC. one of the most important economic sectors in the area. It is also known that the Eumachians and the Holconians had wineries outside the city and made a considerable profit from them. The Campanian wine was also exported, not least a considerable part of the supply of the city of Rome (20 to 25) came from the Vesuvius area. But even in Pompeii itself viticulture is proven. On the almost completely undeveloped Insula II 5, which borders directly on the eastern city wall and on the south of the end section of the Via dell'Abbondanza, there was a wine plantation. The holes in the vines could be detected.

The city was also supplied with goods via the river port at the mouth of the Sarno. Last but not least fish came from here. The fish sauce garum, which was an important food of the time, was made here in larger production facilities for the city. The supply of meat can only have come from outside, since it was not possible to keep a large number of animals within the city. Smaller numbers of small animals could certainly be kept inside the houses, but proof of this is difficult to provide.

The supply of fruit and vegetables, on the other hand, could take place at least on a small scale within the city in the gardens belonging to the houses. Vegetable gardens are also proven in many houses at the time of the sinking in 79 AD. In some cases there were even larger inner-city areas under cultivation. It cannot be said whether this was enough to fully supply the city, but it is unlikely to be assumed.

Unlike with fruit and vegetables, there was hardly any self-sufficiency with pasta. While hand mills were usually found in the villas outside the city, which speak for self-sufficiency with flour, these were hardly found in the city. However, it is noticeable that there were many bakeries within the city, interestingly some with and others without mills. As a result, smaller bakeries in particular in the old town and in obvious metropolitan areas of the city, which had neither space for mills nor for storing larger quantities of grain, had to be supplied with flour externally. It is possible that these smaller bakeries were branches of the larger ones, which usually had three mills, and occasionally more.


Crafts and handicrafts

In the Roman Empire, most handicraft products were produced for the local trade market in small businesses (officina), in which members of the family and often also some wage laborers and slaves worked. These companies or craftsmen usually made their goods to order. The workshops they ran (tabernae) were mostly located on the ground floor of tenement blocks (insulae) in the cities. The evidence in Pompeii is particularly numerous, with around 650 workshops, most of them for the sale of food, but also 25 tanneries and fulling workshops, two clothing and one linen dealers, ten metalworking workshops, three potteries, including a small lamp factory, and some carpentry shops, (Flick) cobblers and perfume manufacturers.

Durable goods, raw materials, building materials and semi-finished metal products had to be imported from outside the city. Clay pits were needed for the manufacture of bricks or pottery such as amphorae, for example. Both the Eumachians and the Holconians are known to have mined clay. Lucius Eumachius' brickworks also supplied Boscoreale, for example, as can be seen from the stamps. Depending on the season, amphorae were produced in the summer and the pre-harvest months, and bricks the rest of the year. Further production and service companies could be occupied. A painting and a pottery workshop (figuli) - whose owner was called Zosimus -, perfumeries and a clay lamp workshop were found.

The longstanding assumption that Pompeii was a local center of the wool industry can no longer be maintained today. For much more than self-sufficiency in the city, the capacities found so far for wool processing - work surfaces, boilers for heating liquids, basins and troughs for dyeing, for example - were not sufficient. The further processing with home looms could only be proven by the finds of about 50 loom weights in a single house. This is far too little for a larger production. Occupations such as cloth fullers (fullones), dyers (tinctores) and felters (coactiliarii) are documented through graffiti. However, statements about the number can no longer be made today, since the mostly thin-walled equipment required by them can no longer be traced in many workshops due to the earlier excavation methods. It is likely that the city will supply itself with these goods. The same can be assumed for other industries such as tanneries and metalworking.

The assumption that Capua, as a regional center, supplied the other cities with tools, agricultural implements, chains, scales, weapons, bronze goods, etcetera, can now be regarded as wrong, especially in the metalworking workshops. In Pompeii, for example, workshops for forging trades were found, such as armorers or tool smiths (fabri ferrarii), coppersmiths or bronze smiths (fabri aerarii) - who were responsible for forging vases, amphorae, kettles, pans, lamps or artistic reliefs - or silver - and goldsmiths. The divisions should not be narrowly classified here, because at that time work was often "interdisciplinary" and both everyday needs and goods of the higher standard were produced. One would recognize parallels here in today's blacksmith. Some of the smiths from Pompeii are still known by name from unearthed recommendations, such as Iunianus, the ironsmith, or Verus, who made bronze works and smaller candelabra. In addition, a workshop could be proven in which statuettes and even life-size statues were cast in bronze. There were also jewelers (gemmarii) and chiselers (caelatores).

There were rows of shops on many public buildings and also on numerous large private houses. The city used this to finance projects or the homeowners had an additional income that should not be underestimated. The house of the Postumiers is an example of this interplay of living and living. There were tabernae on three sides of the building, which occupied a large area. Some of these shops had connections to the actual house. It can be assumed that slaves or freedmen worked here on behalf of the owner. Other shops had no connection to the inside of the building, but a false ceiling. The operators of the shops could have lived here with their families. There is also access to the second floor. This may also have been rented out by the owner. Some of the shops could be identified. There was a food stall and a metal workshop. The food stall may have been supplied by a large kitchen belonging to the building.



Another trade documented for Pompeii was prostitution. Of particular note is that the only ancient building that can be identified with certainty as a lupanar (brothel) has ever been found in the city. The earlier assumption that there were many more brothels in the city has not yet been confirmed by research. Places were often wrongly named as brothels because erotic or sexual depictions or graffiti of obscene content or related to prostitution were found here. However, these were omnipresent and cannot be taken as an indication of such establishments. However, it can be assumed that prostitution did not only take place in this one building. Prostitutes probably went about their business in their own apartments or in rented rooms (often directly on the street with direct access). In addition, many waitresses also worked in this profession on the side, so that many dining rooms were used in this way. Even in more prestigious areas, graffiti can be used to identify prostitutes who apparently had their quarters on the upper floors of the houses, which no longer exist. Thanks to this graffiti, hundreds of which have survived, many names of prostitutes, often from the east of the empire and who were slaves, and the pricing are also known. For example, you can find out: Athenais 2 As, Sabina 2 As, the house slave Logas, 8 As or Maritimus licks the shame for 4 As. He also receives virgins. The amounts range from one to two ass to high amounts in the sesterce range. In the lower price segment, the service cost no more than a loaf of bread or a liter of wine.


Evidence of long-distance trade and cultural exchange with Asia

Another trade documented for Pompeii was prostitution. Of particular note is that the only ancient building that can be identified with certainty as a lupanar (brothel) has ever been found in the city. The earlier assumption that there were many more brothels in the city has not yet been confirmed by research. Places were often wrongly named as brothels because erotic or sexual depictions or graffiti of obscene content or related to prostitution were found here. However, these were omnipresent and cannot be taken as an indication of such establishments. However, it can be assumed that prostitution did not only take place in this one building. Prostitutes probably went about their business in their own apartments or in rented rooms (often directly on the street with direct access). In addition, many waitresses also worked in this profession on the side, so that many dining rooms were used in this way. Even in more prestigious areas, graffiti can be used to identify prostitutes who apparently had their quarters on the upper floors of the houses, which no longer exist. Thanks to this graffiti, hundreds of which have survived, many names of prostitutes, often from the east of the empire and who were slaves, and the pricing are also known. For example, you can find out: Athenais 2 As, Sabina 2 As, the house slave Logas, 8 As or Maritimus licks the shame for 4 As. He also receives virgins. The amounts range from one to two ass to high amounts in the sesterce range. In the lower price segment, the service cost no more than a loaf of bread or a liter of wine.

Evidence of long-distance trade and cultural exchange with Asia
Among other things, an ivory statuette from India was discovered in the ruins of Pompeii. The Pompeii Lakshmi statuette was produced in the century of the city's fall. It is 25 centimeters long and was probably a mirror handle. The shipments of nard, ivory and textiles are evidenced by archaeological finds and that Roman trade with the East reached its peak in the first and second centuries. The statuette is quite an unusual representation of Lakshmi or Yashis in Indian art.



Inscriptions (dipinti) in Latin painted in red and black have been preserved on the walls of the city. The facades of houses in other cities in the Roman world may also have had similar "graffiti", but nowhere were they as well preserved as in Pompeii. Those that can best be interpreted as political election calls are archeological sources that provide insight into the city's political mentality and everyday life. Usually the inscriptions were whitewashed over again after the re-appointment of the city council to make room for the next ballot. At the time of its demise, however, the city was in the midst of an election campaign. The candidates had to form support committees, which put up calls and recommendations on as many walls as possible in order to be noticed as such. Especially on the facades of buildings on the main traffic arteries, on public squares and shopping streets was painted. For example, neighborhood groups or entire professional associations could support someone. Thus the Pompeian fruit traders supported a certain Sallustius Capito. Surprisingly, women also campaigned intensively, although they were neither allowed nor able to be elected. One of the voting recommendations was: "Pollia requests that Marcus Cerrinius be elected". Another outright: "Choose Gaius Rufus!"

It is striking that the calls did not refer to anything like a party or election program. Election promises were also rarely found. Apparently, most of the candidates did not want to be determined. You voted more for a personality than for a political program. There were no parties as we know them today. For one of the candidates, the Pompeian Helvius Sabinus, the distribution pattern of his campaign advertising in the city could be mapped. Over 100 appeals in his favor had been painted in the city. Helvius received support from a wide variety of groups, which should be an indication of its high profile.

The advertising slogans were very different, at one point there is a mere abbreviation: "OVF" (written out: oro vos faciatis, in English "Please choose him"). Friends and drinking buddies promoted their candidates, as did “collegia”, the ancient associations. But there are also examples of bakers, innkeepers, dice players, animators as petitioners and teachers who advertised "with their students". Advertising on billboards was still unusual. In Rome, however, legal texts or white wooden panels (albae) were already attached to public places in pre-Christian times. Official notices were written on them. They were forerunners of what is now referred to as a poster.

The election procedure for the approximately 5,000 to 10,000 Pompeian men entitled to vote can be traced on coin reliefs and with contemporary text sources. They met at the forum as well as at the urban political center and voted in fenced-off areas with wax tablets. In connection with the ancient election campaigns, there is talk of patronage politics, nepotism and even open corruption. There was certainly support from well-meaning professional groups in the expectation of something in return. A lot of money was put into the election campaign back then, even Julius Caesar once had to fear personal over-indebtedness for his high election campaign costs in Rome. A Bruttius Balbius promoted this in Pompeii by “sparing the city treasury”, and thus forms an exception to the election campaign by conveying at least vague political content. It can generally be read from the finds that in antiquity advertising was not based on innovative politics, but rather on everyday problems and enduring traditions as themes. And there was also macabre anti-advertising: a Marcus Cerrinius, for whom even "the assassins would supposedly vote". At least once, something like economic competence of a candidate should be expressed in terms of content: "Bonum panem fert" (he brings good bread).

When the imperial period in January 27 B.C. By the time the Roman Senate relinquished power, elections were more or less suspended. The emperor determined more or less everything and the offices were distributed in a small circle. Local self-government only prevailed in the approximately 2,000 rural towns of the Roman Empire, and there there were lively and authentic election campaigns even in the imperial era.

By the time of the Roman Republic, political elections were commonly held in the cities to fill the local self-government, the City Council, which was modeled in some ways on the Senate in Rome. Only a small part of the city council consisting of 100 so-called decuriones was elected. The majority bought their political office with a certain amount. The process, which is questionable and undemocratic from our point of view today, was typical of antiquity, because the population was of the opinion that people who had wealth should also make decisions in politics. Elections were also held in Pompeii for two other offices - one of which was that of the duumviri, a college composed of two men. The officers exercised great influence on city politics, chaired the city council and exercised city rights. The term of office here was one year. Every five years, two special duumvirs, the duumviri quinquennales, were elected to take care of administrative tasks such as updating the lists of citizens as part of the census. The actions of these duumvirs were reviewed by the city council.

In addition, candidates for administrative posts were also elected. The so-called aediles, who were subordinate to the duumvirs, formed the top of the administration. Their tasks were, for example, road construction management, aligning games and maintaining public buildings.

All people with Roman citizenship who were over 30 years old were allowed to vote. Women, slaves and foreigners were not allowed to participate.


Private homes

Living in pre-Roman Pompeii
Much of the city's homes were simple living quarters, often with an attached workshop or shop. However, Pompeii has its outstanding reputation mainly because of its luxurious houses of the upper class. Many of these palatial complexes were already laid out in Samnite times and were far ahead of the Roman buildings of that time. Some buildings, such as the House of the Faun, had a floor area of 3000 m² and a second floor above it. Thus, these houses could even compete with the palaces of the Hellenistic rulers in the eastern Mediterranean. Only with the Roman expansion in the 2nd century BC. This living luxury came to the Roman capital.

A sign of the houses of this time was that attempts were made to build a peristyle or at least a portico even in smaller properties. The construction of the buildings was quite austere. For example, an attempt was made to arrange the doors of the rooms adjacent to the atrium symmetrically and at equal intervals. Many doors meant the house was large and its owner wealthy. For this reason, false doors were often painted on the walls in smaller buildings. Individual components such as certain masonry techniques were adopted from magnificent public buildings. In addition to the paintings, the walls were elaborately stuccoed. Researchers call this type of wall decoration the First Pompeian style.

Unlike the larger buildings, the simple houses saw little development. Many of them were designed as terraced houses. Small, open courtyards were normal, but atria were absent. The courtyard was probably used for little more than growing a few vegetables and keeping small domestic animals such as chickens or possibly a pig or a sheep. The finds for the simple houses are still inadequate and partly because of the lack of interest on the part of archaeologists and the negligent excavations of earlier times.


Living in republican Pompeii

After the Roman veterans and their families were settled in Pompeii, there was almost certainly massive upheaval in the city. One of the questions that is often asked when exploring the city is whether this can be proven on the basis of the archaeological findings.

Parallel to the new settlers, a new form of wall decoration, the second Pompeian style, also made its appearance: the sculptural stucco work of the first style was abandoned in favor of large-scale frescoes. Nevertheless, the goal of creating an architecturally as plastic, elaborately structured wall as possible remained. Walls were divided into three: in front there was a protruding pillar, in the middle half-height shear walls, and third, framed vistas that were illusionistic and naturalistic at the same time. For example, sanctuary precincts or simply beautiful, fantastic landscapes were depicted. An important stylistic device was the work with optical illusions and foreshortening, which only worked because the dimensions and proportions of the first style were retained.

The demolition of the city wall freed up space in the south-west and west, and the location on the steep slope made it possible to build terraced houses. On the sea side, porticoes or large salons were built with large windows offering fantastic views of the gulf, island and mountains.

Within the city, the construction of larger building complexes was more difficult, since several adjacent plots had to be bought. When this happened, mostly new living quarters and peristyle were built on the new land. The most impressive example of a building that has grown in this way is the Labyrinth House. To the south was the old atrium building, in the middle was the garden wing, and far from the entrance to the north was an area of newly built salons. Accordingly, guests had to go through the entire house and should certainly be impressed by the richness of the furnishings and the associated wealth of the master of the house.

In many houses, smaller and larger conversions can be made in the course of the 1st century BC. prove. However, it has not been researched to what extent this also applies to the residents of smaller properties because, as is so often the case, there are insufficient findings.


Living in imperial Pompeii

Although no real new construction of a large house is known from the imperial period, it is still the houses from the imperial period that shape the idea of ​​living in Pompeii. Most striking is the attempt by the owners to accommodate modern, innovative elements alongside the remains of the older architecture and decoration. One often finds the interplay of small vestibules and extensive gardens and frescoes in bright colors next to old architectural elements.

A recognizable innovation in the early imperial period was, for example, the upgrading of the atrium. However, this was not uniformly renovated, but special emphasis was placed on the eye-catcher (the impluvium). The floors and edging of the rainwater tanks were often renewed, and water features were also built, in which water fountains shot into a collecting basin, preferably from openings in figures (mouths, beaks). These water features were set up in such a way that they acted as eye-catchers for visitors. Behind it there was often a marble table - in simpler houses a brick, stuccoed table. Its function is not entirely clear, certain valuables may have been presented on it. The atrium was often also transformed into a garden landscape. All of this was an important process, because it required major modifications, pressure lines had to be laid to supply the water features, and permission had to be obtained from the aedile. During this time, the dining rooms were designed to be more spacious and, if possible, with a view of the peristyle.

There was also a renewal in the wall painting. The third Pompeian style differed greatly from the first and second. Basically, everything became more symmetrical. The pictorial elements were now framed in one color and structured by a miniaturized stud frame. The walls were always divided into three, with the central part, which was the focal point, often depicting landscapes with sanctuary scenes, but increasingly also mythological scenes. Dionysian themes and erotic depictions were particularly popular.

A trend towards symmetrical geometry was also discernible in the planting in the garden wing. New research has shown that mainly low flowers and shrubs as well as hedges trimmed like a border were planted. Even the planting of fruit trees followed predetermined patterns that suggest that show garden effects were to be achieved here. There were no paths that invited you to walk; the gardens should only be viewed from the outside. Smaller, below-life-size statuettes and herms were intended to convey an enraptured impression.

This abundance of elements compressed into a small space was also the main feature of the paintings of the Fourth Pompeian style. The painting appears dainty, often fragile, and mostly erotic, mythical scenes are depicted. The figures are depicted in current fashion, so it can be assumed that the homeowners have indirectly allowed themselves to be portrayed.

See List of Buildings in Pompeii for more detailed descriptions of various houses.



In front of almost all city gates there were larger and smaller necropolises that every newcomer had to cross. The largest of these systems were in front of the Noceraner and especially the Herculaner Tor. The more important the buried were, the closer the grave was to the city. The city council reserved the right to award graves of honor in an area about 30 meters from the city.

The places in front of the Herculaner Tor must have been particularly popular. The buildings here were very close together. The tombs were not only a place of remembrance and a status symbol, but also a place of political and social propaganda. There are various conspicuous, sometimes very idiosyncratic grave structures - often from respected families in the city - which were still fighting for attention with the dead members of the family.

To make room for new buildings, old tombs were often demolished, which is why older buildings are hard to find today. However, there are a few examples that also testify to the care taken of the graves of old, honored city dignitaries. A large cubic tomb was found where Marcus Porcius, one of the first notables of the newly founded colony, was buried. This grave was maintained more than a hundred years after his death, although no descendants are known of him.

Next to this old tomb, two new structures were built at the beginning of the imperial period, the tombs for Aulus Veius and the Venus priestess Mamia. Both were built in the form of semi-circular benches facing the sea and inviting people to linger and talk. In order to be closer to the city wall, some builders even refrained from digging their graves on the street and moved to the second row. Directly behind the tombs already mentioned was the two-story monument of the Istacidians. In front of the Noceran Gate, the Eumachiers also erected a particularly large building, which, however, was wide and not tall. The building served as a mausoleum for members of the family for several generations.

In the post-Augustan period, however, this competition seems to have come to an end. The grave precincts were now more of a uniform construction. They were delimited with low walls and corner towers. In the middle was a plinth for the urns. These burial areas were only entered by relatives on certain occasions. The most important thing now was the grave altar, which was elaborately designed with precious marble. The inscriptions that praised the merits and piety (Pietas) of the deceased were also found here. In the Republican and Augustan times there were mainly graves of the notables of the city, later there are also graves of freedmen.

Apparently, tombs were often misused as latrine. We know from Trimalchio's banquet that he even wanted to post a guard at his grave to prevent this. An inscription from a tomb in front of the walls of Pompeii also provides eloquent testimony to this:

"Stranger, the bones beg you not to pee on this burial mound
and, if you want to please this one even more, don't poop!
You can see Nettle's grave here. Go away, poop!
It's not safe for you to open your butt here."


Restaurants in Pompeii

Citizens of Pompeii lived in a large metropolis for its time. Unlike rich families, poor people huddled in small houses in which there were no kitchens. Fires were frequent, and homeowners sometimes simply did not want to risk their homes for the sake of the comfort of those who “had come.” Therefore, they did not allow anything to be fried or cooked at home.

The Romans were an enterprising people and many taverns or thermopoly (Greek: "warm city") prepared cheap food for the citizens of Pompeii. The food was cooked in large kitchens, and stored in large amphoras, which kept warm. When visitors came, the host put out a meal on the "tavolta calda" or a hot table in front of the guest.


Pompeian paintings

In more detail you can get acquainted if you pass to the detailed description of these or those buildings.

Before the discovery of Pompeii, information about Roman painting was scarce and fragmented, and rare examples were limited to fragments of frescoes found in isolated cases. However, the discovery of the city with its rich, picturesque heritage made it possible to begin a new discussion on the whole question of Roman art. Based on the research and classification made by Vitruvio, the paintings are usually divided into 4 styles:
1 style: known as "inlay" or "structural" style. This was a common occurrence between the 2nd century and the middle of the 1st century BC. This is a simple and modest painting style: thanks to the use of plaster and colors, which are dominated by black, yellow and red, it tends to imitate marble panels.
2 style: it existed until the middle of I century AD. It is known as perspective architecture or simply architectural because, in addition to artificial marble facings, it reproduces colonnades, arches and buildings that are visible in perspective. The result is an imaginary space with increasing or decreasing effects. The great cycle of the Mysteries in the eponymous villa belongs to this period. At its most advanced stage, glimpses of the countryside are drawn between imaginary buildings.
3 style: called "real painting" and refers to the I century AD. He sees a return to a simpler style. The background becomes flat and displayed in one color: the figures are decorated, and the decorative elements are underlined. Painting III style is also known as "Egyptian", as the ornament often resembles the ancient Egyptian motifs.
4 style: known as “architectural illusionism” or “ornamental”. Its characteristics resemble a picture of the second period, but the composition is becoming increasingly exaggerated and unreal. It was an attempt to expand the walls by creating imaginary spaces.


Mosaic in Pompeii

Mosaic ornaments were widely used in decorating houses in Pompeii and saw different stages of development. The oldest examples are works made with simple motifs, using a tesser from coarse work and modest material; on the other hand, those that were in later eras demonstrate sophistication in their composition, taste, color and jewelry used by tesser. In the first period, the works are characterized by repetition of simple geometric motifs or repetition of pictorial drawings of the second, third and fourth stages. Mosaics are often used as floor coverings. There are several remarkable examples: the famous Canum Canem, installed at the entrance to many houses, is perhaps the most famous of many that survived. Literally, it means "beware of the dog." Sometimes it was written simply "hello" in Latin. The panel depicting the Battle of Alexander, located in the Archaeological Museum in Naples and originating from the House of the Faun, is, however, one of the most important and magnificent examples.


Sculpture in Pompeii

The sculptures that have been preserved show that in Pompeii there was a preference for small statues, given that they were designed for decorative purposes in order to be built into rooms and gardens, for the decoration of fountains, atriums or table-rails. Large statues, those that had a memorable function, were mainly located on the Forum. The favorite material was bronze, although there are many small masterpieces of marble, tuff and terracotta. “Dancing Faun”, “Drunk Silen” and “Wild Boar Under Attack” are some of them that combine refined craftsmanship with the freshness and immediacy of their design. Particular mention should be made of "Dorifor", an excellent copy of the magnificent Greek sculpture. There are various fragments of statues originating mostly from the Forum area and from the temples dedicated to the Capitoline Triad.

Unlike our statues, the Romans painted their statues in bright colors. Just over time, the colors were erased so that our imitation of Roman culture turned out to be somewhat inaccurate.


Graffiti in Pompeii

Around 10,000 wall inscriptions, known today as graffiti and dipino, were uncovered in Pompeii. They still represent a common form of everyday communication. Early scratches were already found in large numbers in ancient Egypt. This does not mean the richly decorated wall paintings in the temples and tombs, but according to the definition private scratched inscriptions found on temples, in tombs, on rocks and statues. The Romans rarely used charcoal or chalk to make them. A stylus, a pointed stylus used to write on wax tablets, was usually used. The blackboards were in everyday use to be able to write something down quickly. The metal pen penetrated into any plaster without any problems. In order to discover the fine scratches, you usually have to look very closely. This means that they have a completely different look and feel than today's graffiti, which is often unmistakably colorful and large. This is probably why they were mostly judged relatively generously and they were at least tolerated. Entire gladiator graffiti was even found carved into temple pillars or the walls of amphitheaters. These carvings were even colored, which suggests that they were made without fear of being discovered.

It was found that the number of carvings was primarily related to sexuality and eroticism – in very different forms, from obscene to almost elegiacly romantic. The gladiator fights came second. Because there were many fans who used such line drawings to keep records at the same time, for example how many victories their favorite fighter had won. Depictions of a defeated man lying on the ground were also scratched on the walls, and this too was sometimes counted with dashes. There was also a large group with inscriptions on people. It is often everyday things that have been scratched relatively small into the walls, such as food prices. The walls were told that one's slave had run away, or that a donkey had been born, that an actor who was particularly impressive had been in town, and wished that he would come back soon. Although the incised drawings were widespread, they did not play a major role in antiquity and usually had no artistic claim, but today they offer good information on many issues. Large amounts of carvings and scribblings were added by tourism.


Documentation and reception

Especially in the early days of documentation and cartography, the creations from these areas were to be regarded as independent works of art, which is why they are viewed from the point of view of reception.



In later research, it was often criticized that the scientific documentation before Fiorelli's time was insufficient. On the other hand, it is true that the documentation was irregular, but in part was already at a high visual level. The main problem is that earlier documentation can now almost only be found in sources that are very difficult to access.

Since the 1760s, not only frescoes, but entire walls have been documented to scale and very carefully. Unfortunately, many of these works have never been published. There were engravings of the villa of Diomedes, which were never published. Since the 1920s, excavation draughtsmen have always been employed. Since today many excavation findings - especially wall paintings - are falsified or even lost, these precise documentations are an important source for today's science. A cork model of the city made since 1806 on a scale of 1:48, which shows all wall techniques, wall decorations, etc., is of inestimable value among the remains today.

The establishment of an excavation diary and the justification of the first regular publication, Giornale degli Scavi di Pompei (1868-1879), made the documentation scientific and detailed. Under Fiorelli, the new medium of photography was used for the first time to document the excavations. Built in London's Crystal Palace, Pompeian Court was an idealized structure rather than a recreation of Pompeian architecture.



Archaeological cartography was new territory in Pompeii. Even today, old maps are an important tool for archaeologists in order to be able to reconstruct destroyed or falsified finds. Francesco La Vega already drew up a first plan, which is extremely incorrect in its depiction of the overall situation, but which reproduces details very precisely. It was the same with Francesco Piranesi's map of the city, the only map that was commercially available for a long time. It was published in three different versions between 1785 and 1793.

Geodetically accurate plans created in the 1820s were not published. However, they were the template for many maps of the city, mostly published on a scale of 1:3000, which often accompanied descriptive literature. In 1885, at Fiorelli's request, Giacomo Tascone drew up a new, precise plan on a scale of 1:1000. The basics of this are still valid today and form the basis of most of the more recent plans. Another plan on a scale of 1:1000, the Corpus Topographicum Pompeianum, was made on the basis of photogrammetry, but only parts of it have been published so far.



In architecture, models from Pompeii were rarely used. A big exception is the Pompejanum in Aschaffenburg, built by Friedrich von Gärtner. It is modeled on the Casa dei Dioscuri. Individual set pieces of architecture were also used elsewhere, such as the Palais de Prince Napoleon in Paris, which is now destroyed.

The idea of rebuilding one of the houses in Naples, true to the original, has repeatedly failed. In consideration were the Casa di Pansa and the House of the Faun.

Ornamentation and minor arts were reproduced much more frequently, albeit often in a modified form. Nevertheless, the furnishing of Pompeian rooms was the first step in reception in the living area. This fashion lasted until the middle of the 19th century. The Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades was built in the middle of the 20th century as a free recreation of the Villa dei Papiri from Herculaneum, with architectural borrowings from other ancient buildings from Pompeii and Stabiae.


Visual arts

A problem for the presentation in the Bourbon period were the restrictive regulations. Not only were the visits regulated, but the ban on drawing in the ruins for guests prevented further representations. Pietro Fabris contributed drawings for British Ambassador William Hamilton's travelogue. Giovanni Battista Piranesi created plans and views of the city shortly before his death in 1778, which were only published by his son Francesco in 1804. Towards the end of the 18th century, small series of colored vedute based on models by Louis Jean Desprez and Philipp Hackert were created, which were sold to visitors to the excavation site.

François Mazois worked for several years on a monumental depiction of Pompeii, which primarily took into account the architecture and was published in four volumes by 1838. In the second half of the 19th century, the first photo series - such as those by Brogi and Alinari - came onto the market. Over time, the depiction changed more and more from the picturesque depiction of individual finds to the documentation and partial reconstruction of the ancient world. Above all, the eleven-volume series Pompei stands out here. Pitture e Mosaici and the German project Houses in Pompeii, which lavishly illustrate the parts of the city that have already been excavated.

Apart from a few early exceptions, Pompeii only became a subject for painting in the course of the 19th century. Of particular impact was the painting The Last Day of Pompeii (1827-1833) by the Russian Karl Pavlovich Bryullov, which after its completion was exhibited with great success in several European cities. Bryullow's painting, which is designed as a family drama, impresses not only with its intense depiction, but also with the detailed and accurate depiction of the archaeological findings. The influence of the picture was so great that it was even a model for later magic lanterns. The Bulwer-Lytton novel (see below) was also inspired by the painting.

Later painters, according to Théodore Chassériau, located historical genre scenes in the backdrops of the city. The emerging photography was also dedicated to Pompeii, both in a documentary (see above) and in an artistic way. Lawrence Alma-Tadema, for example, supplemented his own sketches with photographs. Historical costume scenes were also re-enacted in the city.

The last day of Pompeii. Karl Brullov



The excavations in Pompeii found their expression in the literature only with some delay. One of the first to take up the subject was Friedrich Schiller in 1796 with his Elegy Pompeii and Herculaneum. Here, as with Johann Isaak von Gerning (with the Ode Pompeii, 1802) and Johann Jakob Jägle (with the Elegy Pompeii, 1797), the excavations in Pompeii (and also in Herculaneum) were a symbol of the revival of Graeco-Roman antiquity. Jägle was also the first to interpret the city's resurrection in a Christian-religious sense of resurrection. Most of the works of this period relating to Pompeii were inspired by the author's visit, including poems by Friederike Brun, Gustav von Ingenheim, Giacomo Leopardi and Wilhelm Waiblinger.

The impressions of the visitors were often different than expected, and the ruins could not stand up to the idea of a high classic. In his book Italian Journey, Goethe mentions the "strange, half-unpleasant impression of this mummified city" that he visited in March 1787. He was particularly struck by the "narrowness and smallness" of streets and houses, "more models and doll's closets than buildings", but whose "cheerily painted" walls indicated "an entire people's love of art and pictures". Above all, the windowless buildings and the paintings, which often appear obscene to visitors, ensured that something wicked attached to Pompeii over time. The erroneous assumption that the name Colonia Cornelia Veneria Pompeianorum, given by Sulla, suggested that Pompeii was a city of the goddess Venus, did the rest. So it is not surprising that Karl Ludwig Nicolai was the first to use Pompeii as a backdrop for wicked goings-on in his epistolary novel Das Grab am Vesuvius (1816).

Over time, four main themes emerged in the literature:
Pompeii as a place of historical reflection;
Pompeii as the city of Venus;
Pompeii as a Christian resurrection motif;
Pompeii as a contrast between high art and normal everyday life.

Edward Bulwer-Lytton's work The Last Days of Pompeii (1834) established the genre of the historical-archaeological novel. He was inspired by the painting by Bryullov. Shortly after its publication, the work was translated into several languages and developed into an influential bestseller that set the style for all similar novels. The success can be explained by the combination of secured archaeological knowledge, the very detailed reconstruction of the remains and, last but not least, elements of the Gothic novel. The constructed conflict between the long-established priesthood and a Christian community - which has not been proven to this day - which culminated in the fall of the sinful city and the salvation of the Christians, was described by many authors, such as Woldemar Kaden (In der Morgenrote, 1882) and Gustav Adolf Müller (The Dying Pompeii, 1910). More rarely, as in Thomas Gray's novel The Vestal or a Tale of Pompeii (1830), Pompeii also became a tomb for Christians. The plaster casts of the suffering and dying Pompeiians made since Fiorelli could only reinforce the impression of the criminal court. This Christian view of the immoral city was particularly evident in children's and youth literature. Books like Eduard Alberti's Marcus Charinus, the young Christian in Pompeii only described the conflict between good Christians and immoral heathens.

In the literature of the 20th century, Pompeii was no longer a topic that often. On the one hand, many people were able to get to know the city themselves through the emerging mass tourism, on the other hand, the novels had meanwhile sunk into moralizing clichés and could no longer reach a large audience. Only towards the end of the century did Pompeii become a more frequent setting again, thanks to a flourishing of the historical novel. Philipp Vandenberg's Der Pompejaner (1986) and Pompeii by the British author Robert Harris (2003) are particularly well known.



On November 19, 1825, the first opera about Pompeii and the eruption of Mount Vesuvius was performed at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples: Giovanni Pacini's L'ultimo giorno di Pompei (The Last Day of Pompeii), based on ideas by Antonio Niccolini and a libretto by Andrea Leone Tottola. The exquisite sets were directly inspired by the archaeological sites and publications on Pompeii and Herculaneum. The opera was an enormous success and was also one of the sources of inspiration for Karl Bryullov's painting mentioned above.

Errico Petrella's 1858 opera Jone o L'ultimo giorno di Pompei (Ione, or The Last Day of Pompeii) was among the few successful works by this now forgotten composer. Its plot followed Edward Bulwer-Lytton's well-known novel and it continued to see performances into the early 20th century.

A particular clash between modern pop culture and the ancient setting came in 1971 when the rock band Pink Floyd performed a concert in the ruins of Pompeii. The concert took place in the amphitheater without an audience, but was recorded for the musical film Live at Pompeii.

Herbert Grönemeyer dedicated a song to the city on his first album, which was released in 1979.



Very soon after its invention, the new medium of film also turned to the subject of Pompeii. The first filming was done in Pompeii as early as 1898, when a dance performance was filmed on the forum (Neapolitan Dance at the Ancient Forum of Pompeii). Another recording was made in 1900, when the British Robert W. Paul realized a first version of the sinking of Pompeii (The Last Days of Pompeii). Further film adaptations - often based on Bulwer-Lytton's novel The Last Days of Pompeii - followed in 1906, 1908, 1913, 1935, directed by the animation specialists Ernest B. Schoedsack and Merian C. Cooper, 1950 and 1962. Particularly popular The film adaptation by Mario Bonnard and Sergio Leone with Steve Reeves, Christine Kaufmann and Fernando Rey from the year 1959 as well as the US television mini-series of the station ABC by director Peter R. Hunt from the year 1984. Here Bulwer- Lytton's novel rendered in detail with a great cast of stars. In many cases, however, Pompeii served only as a well-known shell for any plot that had nothing to do with Pompeii or the literary models. For example, the film Warrior Queen (1987) from the workshop of trash filmmaker Joe D'Amato was set in Pompeii, but it is in no way found there. The same is true of a number of comedies set in Pompeii. The British Up film series, in particular, repeatedly used the incorrectly rendered setting of Pompeii as a literally familiar background for its rustic humour. The Polish filmmaker Roman Polański planned to film the bestseller by Robert Harris, but this film project was not implemented due to cost reasons. In 2014, the topic was taken up again in the disaster film Pompeii.


Meaning, present and future

In recent years, many assumptions about Pompeii have been proven wrong by recent research. So the often spread statement that Pompeii is a representative Roman city that was "sealed" in the middle of life is not tenable. Already since Roman times, archaeological excavations have altered archaeological finds and removed finds. This has contributed to the falsification of the findings, as has the distribution of the overburden from the excavations of the first hundred years in the surrounding area or even in the previously excavated houses. Since initially only representative pieces were sought, finds are found in places to which they do not originally belong. The inhabitants of Pompeii were not suddenly surprised by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The outbreak had been announced for days, and many Pompeians had left the city with their families and belongings. After all, the city was not yet rebuilt after the earthquake of AD 62. Atypical finds, such as living quarters used as storage rooms, half-finished reconstructed buildings or ruins, bear witness to this condition.

The now 44-hectare excavated urban area is the largest known continuous urban ruins in the world. It poses seemingly unsolvable problems for today's archaeologists. Many of the buildings are in poor condition, some of them dilapidated. The ruins can only be saved with international cooperation. The Italian state reacted to this and granted the administration of Pompeii great autonomy and financial autonomy. Pompeii has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1997. The current most important task for archaeologists, building researchers, monument conservators and restorers is to stop the city's decay and still allow public access to the city. Despite many efforts, this can only be achieved to a limited extent, and large parts of the city are closed to the public.

Among other things, due to drastic cuts in the culture budget, the decline is increasing rapidly. In the early hours of November 6, 2010, the Schola Armaturarum collapsed after rainfall and despite prior warnings from local archaeologists. The building (III.3.6) on Via dell'Abbondanza, which had already been damaged in World War II, was completely destroyed. Further collapses occurred in the Casa di Trebio Valente on the same day and in the Casa del Moralista on November 30, 2010. The state of Pompeii is increasingly being discussed in the Italian public as a symbol of a failed cultural policy. A wall was also damaged after heavy rains in October 2011. In 2011, the European Union provided 105 million euros for urgent restoration work in Pompeii.[68] About two million people visit the city every year; the Pompeii tourists are an important economic factor in the region.

In connection with the neighboring city of Herculaneum, the name Pompeii became well known and initially became a synonym for the catastrophe of the year 79. However, the synonym Pompeii is later also used in the media for very different types of catastrophes and events. In addition, the city name Pompeii is used as a metaphor in connection with traditional or modern archeology.


Pompeii conservation

The objects of Pompeii, buried underground, have been well preserved for nearly 2,000 years. The lack of air and moisture allowed objects to remain underground with virtually no damage. After the excavations, the site provided a variety of source materials and evidence for analysis, detailing the life of Pompeians. However, after exposure, Pompeii is exposed to both natural and man-made forces, which are quickly aggravated. For example, during the war, American planes bombed the ancient city.

Weathering, erosion, exposure to light, water damage, poor excavation and reconstruction methods, introduced plants and animals, tourism, vandalism and theft - all of this somehow damaged the object. Two thirds of the city was excavated, but the remains of the city are deteriorating rapidly.

Concern for the preservation of constantly troubled archaeologists. The ancient city was incorporated in 1996 by the World Monuments Observation World Monuments Fund, and again in 1998 and 2000. In 1996, the organization declared that Pompeii "is in desperate need of repair," and called for a general plan for restoration and interpretation. The organization supported the preservation in Pompeii with the financial support of American Express and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.

Today financing is mainly aimed at preserving Pompeii; however, due to the magnitude of Pompeii and the magnitude of the problems, this is not enough to stop the slow decay of materials. An estimated $ 335 million is needed for all the work needed on Pompeii. A recent study recommended an improved strategy for interpreting and presenting an object as a cost-effective method for improving its conservation and preservation in the short term.

In June 2013, UNESCO stated: “If restoration and conservation work does not bring significant progress over the next two years,” Pompeii may be included on the List of World Heritage in Danger.


Tourism in Pompeii



Information  about Pompeii
PompeiIn info@pompeiin.com +39 3284134719 offers several itineraries in ancient Pompeii lasting from 1 hour to 6 hours. The guides are local, licensed and graduated in archeology; they are able to provide children and visits adapted for the disabled, and with their vast knowledge of ancient history and society they are able to make ancient Pompeii come to life. The most outstanding aspects of the city are covered, such as the Forum, the Baths, the brothel, the bakeries, the House of the Faun and the House of the Tragic Poet, the amphitheater, the theaters, the Villa of the Mysteries, the cemeteries and The fortifications of the city.


Geographical overview of Pompeii
The city of Pompei rises on a volcanic plateau 30 meters above sea level, on the southern side of Vesuvius, and a short distance from the mouth of the river Sarno.


The excavations in Pompeii
Pompeii was first discovered between 1592 and 1600 during the construction of the Sarno Canal that had to bring the river's waters to the nearby Torre Annunziata. However, the official beginning of the excavations took place only in 1748, under the reign of Charles of Bourbon, ten years after the first investigations in the soil of Herculaneum. Initially the excavations were carried out in a non-systematic way, with the simple objective of recovering valuable objects and decorations. It was only in 1763, when an inscription bearing its name was found in Porta Ercolano, that it was certain that those remains belonged to the ancient Pompeii and not, as some hypothesized, to Stabia. With the French domination, in the middle of the Enlightenment period, the research was aimed at reconstructing the topography of the city through extensive excavations. With the return of the Bourbons, the excavations continued especially in the north-western part of the city, where there were sensational discoveries such as the House of Faun.


With the Unity of Italy Giuseppe Fiorelli was appointed superintendent, and the excavation works had a fundamental change. The city was divided into regiones and insulae, the cast technique was introduced that allowed, pouring liquid plaster into the voids of the ground, to fix the last moments of life of men and animals. In the twentieth century with Amedeo Maiuri the extension of the excavations reached 44 hectares, and numerous facilities were built to facilitate the tourist use of the site. Following the terrible earthquake of 1980, the cataloging of the decorative heritage intensified,

Costume and society
The peculiarity of the site of Pompeii lies in the possibility of reconstructing with certainty the life in Roman times, along roads, visiting public buildings and private homes, entering the markets, and magnificent paintings, mosaics and everyday objects.

The rhythm of the sun marked the daily actions of the inhabitants of ancient Pompeii, the shops opened at dawn, and the Forum was filled with travelers and buyers, we went to the baths, also accessible to slaves, and frequented taverns, very numerous, for a hot meal or a game of dice. The amphitheater was the major attraction in the city, although fights between residents of Pompeii and their neigbours was a source of civil unrest. Widespread were also the lupanari, places dedicated to sexual pleasure, located in different parts of the city, to satisfy both the inhabitants and foreigners passing through. The cosmopolitan environment dictated by the presence of an active commercial port, led to the mixture of different religious beliefs, from oriental cults to Jews and even first Christians.


Permits / Rates

from 1 November to 31 March: every day from 8.30 am to 5.00 pm (last admission at 3.30 pm)
from 1 April to 31 October: every day from 8.30 to 19.30 (last entry at 18.00)

Entrances to Pompeii
Port Marina (Marine gate)
Piazza Anfiteatro
Piazza Esedra

Tickets  to Pompeii
Single (valid for 1 day)
Full € 11.00
Reduced € 5.50
With access to 5 sites (Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplonti, Stabia, Boscoreale) - (valid for 3 days)
Full price: € 20.00
Reduced: € 10.00

Free admission for citizens of the European Union, and of states subject to conditions of reciprocity, under 18 (not completed) and over 65 years (already completed) of age.

Reduced admission (50%) for citizens of the European Union and of states subject to conditions of reciprocity between the ages of 18 and 25 years.

Reduced admission (50%) for teachers and presidents of the European Union (when they do not accompany school groups) with permanent assignments of state schools. Free admission for principals, teachers and students of the Faculties of Architecture, Conservation of Cultural Heritage, Education Sciences and degree courses in Literature or literary subjects with archaeological or historical-artistic address of the Faculties of Literature and Philosophy of the Universities and of the Academies of Fine EU Arts + ERASMUS in the aforementioned subjects.

Free admission for MIBAC staff, ICCROM Members, ICR, ICOM, ISIA, Mosaic Restoration School of Ravenna, Pietre Dure Opificio of Florence + Central Institute of Restoration of Rome. Disabled people UE + guide. Journalists registered in the Italian national register. Citizens of states with special agreements of reciprocity (Law 27.6.1985, No. 332) as indicated by the agreement itself.

Free and reduced tickets can only be issued upon presentation of a valid identity document.

For the visit to the Archaeological Excavations of Pompeii it is advisable to rely on an authorized guide info@pompeiin.com +39 3284134719


Audio guides available either at the InfoPoint train station or at the official entrance of € 6.50, € 10 for two people, ID is required. They are not available at the east side entrance of the Amphitheater - which is the entrance closest to the center of the city today, if you are walking. Unofficial audio guides offered at one of the market stalls near the entrance. Take into account that the audio guide maps are not the same and the official audio guide comes with more audio points of interest. It is a good idea to review the two options before deciding. Pompeii can take several hours to explore, so be sure to ask about the duration of the audio guide's battery before your purchase. Tour guides are also grouped near the entrance and offer their services. It is a good idea to speak with one for a couple of minutes before deciding, to make sure that you can understand their accent when they speak English. You can join a group of tourists with the InfoPoint train station for € 12 (ticket not included) or € 10 at the official ticket.


How to get 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.



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 arrangements.


Mobility inside the Archaeological site of Pompeii

Pompeii is assessible by foot. However, walking on the ancient Roman roads is tiring, especially in the heat of summer.
For strollers and wheelchair users, as well as people with mobility problems, the visit of Pompeii is only partially suitable. Disabled travelers should aim to enter the Piazza Anfiteatro, where the entrance has been designed to meet the needs of visitors with reduced mobility (and parents with strollers, too). Be careful with the main entrance to the Marine Gate, as it has a lot of stairs.


There are some bikes to rent, but surfaces that are very impractical. Keep in mind that walking the ancient Roman stone roads can be very tiring, especially in the summer heat with a lot of other tourists around. Everyone is going to walk on cobbled and irregular streets. The temperature ranges between 32 and 35 ° C in the summer. Be sure to drink plenty of water and watch your step as the old roads have slots in them where the cars ran. It is advisable to wear good shoes, sunscreen and a hat. There is a lot to see and I could take all day to see everything.

When buying your ticket, you should receive a map of Pompeii and a brochure that lists the main places of interest. However, these can sometimes be out of print or you may find that the only book available is in Italian. A site map is essential if you want to see a large amount in the shortest possible time. Even with a map visiting Pompeii is a bit like a trip to a labyrinth. Many of the roads, apparently open according to the map, become blocked by excavations or repairs, or, as happened in 2010, because a building collapsed. You might think that it is heading towards the exit, but then they have to turn around and retrace their steps to find another path.



Information about Pompeii is available at the entrances Porta Marina, Piazza Esedra and Piazza Anfiteatro .
The wild running dogs belong to the excavation area of ​​Pompeii, they can be sponsored, but the dogs are not abandoned.
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.
Plan your visit in advance in Google Maps or Google Earth, or relive it later. There is Streetview coverage of part of the city and there are 3D models of many of the buildings. Bing Maps also offers very detailed oblique views of the city.
Buy a guide. Get the official guide (Pompeii: guide for the site, edited by Electa Napoli) in the bookstore on the site next to the box office. A lot of guides and maps are available, but this one perfectly combines the two.
Visit also the National Museum of Naples, where most of the best preserved mosaics and found elements of Pompeii are kept.
Visit also the site of sister Herculaneum, is that only a Circumvesuviana set aside and suffered a fate similar to Pompeii. Although it is a smaller site that was covered by a pyroclastic surge (instead of the ash and lapilli that covered Pompeii). This allowed some second plants to survive.
Take a look at random villas outside of Pompeii, as sometimes even small side rooms have incredible frescoes (wall paintings).
Do not miss the "Garden of the Fugitives" in the south-east part in plaster casts of several victims (unfortunately, including children) are on display in which they sank The plants in this garden have been reconstructed to match with the ancient growth, based on the study of gypsum models of the roots of plants.
Walk outside the gates of the city to the Villa of the Mysteries, one of the largest houses to come to us since ancient times. Even on a very hot day, it's worth the walk.
Insert a large memory card into your camera. There are hundreds of opportunities to take photos in Pompeii.


Food and Restaurants near Pompeii, Italy

On the way to the station, the official store entry charges try to sell things at very expensive prices, but the food is not exceptional. Drinks, especially freshly pressed orange and lemon juice, however, are fantastic, especially in the heat, although a bit expensive (€ 3.00 for a glass)
You can get a very good panino (stuffed bread bun) in some of the stands. The one on the closest end of the Porta Marina has fantastic ones.
There is also a cafeteria and a restaurant in the excavation area, north of the Forum. Not surprisingly, this is quite expensive and not very good. However, it is a good place to take a break and recover, especially with your air conditioning. If you do not have time to rest you can grab € 3 ice cream from a service window that faces the street. The restaurant has toilets, apparently the only ones on the site.

Al Gamberone
Location: Via Piave 36
Tel. 081 850 6814
Open: Wed- Mon


Location: Via di Mercurio


Location: Piazza Schettini 12
Tel. 081 850 7245
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


Go out and drink
Remember to bring enough water to drink as it is quite hot in the dusty streets. Keep the bottles empty to fill, as there are occasional water taps from the entire dispensing site instead of strange-smelling water that, however, appears to be drinkable.
Lemon and granita orange purchased from outside the site are a tasty way to cool off.


Hotels near Pompeii

Hotel Maiuri (4 stars), Via Acquasalsa, 20 A few minutes walk from the excavations and the center of the city. Free parking. € 65 - € 130.

Hotel Forum, Via Roma 99 (Very close to the easternmost entrance to the excavations.), ☏ +39 081 850 11 70, fax: +39 081 850 61 32, ✉ info@hotelforum.it. A quiet and comfortable hotel set back from the road. Good breakfast. Free parking close to the hotel. €90 for a double or twin. Check the web site for discounts.

B&B villa Rocla, Via S. Antonio, 15, ☎ +39 0815365544, info@villarocla.it 50 €. Check-in: Flexible hours, check-out: 11:00
B&B Eco, Via Sacra, 29, ☎ +39 327 1368348 , info@bbecopompei.it 50 €. Check-in: Flexible hours, check-out: 10:00.
B&B Elena, Via Minutella, 41, ☎ +39 3667425068 , bandbelena@outlook.com 50 €. Check-in: Flexible, check-out: 10.30.
Hotel Amleto, Via Bartolo Longo, 10,☎ +39 081 8631004 , info@hotelamleto.it. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 10:00

Camping Zeus, Villa dei Misteri. Tel .: +39 081 8615320, fax: +39 081 8617536, email: info@campingzeus.it. Near the west entrance to Porta Marina.


Stay safe

Mount Vesuvius is an active volcano and can explode at any time. Scientists have devised a system to detect impending eruptions, though, so feel free to navigate the ruins of Pompeii and fearlessly see falling ash and lapilli (pumice). It is more likely that you should be trying to protect yourself from pickpockets. The site attracts a large number of international visitors every day, and this money attracts thieves, in order to keep their valuables protected, especially near the entrances and the train station.

If you come by car, bear in mind not to park in the parking lot near the entrance to the archaeological zone. It's a trap for tourists! Although there is no price that appears at the entrance of the parking, you will be surprised to learn that it costs € 2 per hour when it comes to leaving, and you can not leave unless you pay. This means that if your visit to Pompeii lasts a whole day (which a site like this undoubtedly deserves) you may end up paying up to € 20 or more. You do much cheaper parking a few hundred meters up the hill in the city, and if you stay in one of the Pompeii hotels that usually have free parking.