Pompeii is a uniquely ruined city which provides a perfect example of Roman life in the first century CE. The city lies south-east of Mount Vesuvius, alongside the Bay of Naples, in the Italian region of Campani.
The reason for Pompeii’s archaeological importance and popularity amongst tourists is that when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 CE the entire city was frozen in time by the layers of ash which fell. Streets, houses, buildings, people, the entire town city was preserved, allowing future generations to research, analyse and admire life in Pompeii. It was so well preserved that a bakery still had bread in an oven and shops still had bags containing the previous days takings.
It was 1748 CE, some 1600 years later, when Pompeii was rediscovered and excavations began. Through examination of the well preserved building, excavation and analysis, everyday life in a Roman town was revealed. Italian Giuseppe Fiorelli, the first to excavate Pompeii, took plaster casts of some of the remains of people, and animals, caught by the ash. After decomposition, the remains had left lifelike molds from the exact moment tragedy struck. It was these molds that were used to make the casts.
What to do:
There are many parts of Pompeii you should visit, including the great theatre, the forum, the baths, the House of the Faun, the Villa of Mysteries, and the Temple of Apollo. If you have time, you should also visit the archaeological sites of Oplontis, Herculaneum, Stabiae, and Boscoreale, or go for a hike up Mount Vesuvius.
When to go:
1st April – 31st October: Open daily 8.30 am – 7.30 pm. Admission closes at 6 pm.
1st November – 31st March: Open daily 8.30 am – 5 pm. Admission closes at 3.30 pm.
Single for Pompeii – valid for 1 day
Full price: € 11,00
Reduced price: € 5,50
5 sites (Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis, Stabiae, Boscoreale) – valid for 3 consecutive days
Full price: € 20,00
Reduced price: € 10,00
Reduced prices are for European Union citizens aged from 18 to 25 years old, and for European Union state school teachers.
Free tickets for European Union citizens under 18 or over 65 years old.
For the entrance to Porta Marina and Piazza Esedra:
Circumvesuviana Naples-Sorrento (Pompei Villa dei Misteri Stop)
For the entrance to Piazza Anfiteatro:
Circumvesuviana Naples-Poggiomarino (Pompei Santuario Stop)
FS (Italian railways) Naples – Salerno (Pompei Stop)
SITA from Naples or Salerno
CSTP no. 4 from Salerno
CSTP no. 50 from Salerno (fast journey via motorway)
A3 Naples-Salerno Motorway (Pompei Ovest Exit)
Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni archeologici di Pompei Ercolano Stabia website.
The Great Sites of the Mediterranean: Pompeii in Bahn, P. 2008. The Complete Illustrated World Encyclopaedia of Archaeology. London: Hermes House.