It is one of the most popular Italian destinations for tourists from all over the world and an open-air museum: we are talking about the Archaeological Park of Pompeii. Here’s what not to miss during the visit!
Pompeii is one of the most famous Italian cities in the world thanks to the archaeological findings of the Archaeological Park that “tell” the ancient city.
The Archaeological Park of Pompeii is a collection of civil and private buildings, monuments, sculptures, paintings and mosaics of such importance for the history of archaeology and antiquity to be recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
If you’ve never been, then November may be the right month to make this leap in time and live a unique experience.
Where is the Archaeological Park
The Archaeological Park of Pompeii preserves the remains of the ancient city and is located a few kilometers away from the modern city. We are therefore close to Naples.
The ancient Pompeii kept in the Park was built right on the slopes of Vesuvius in order to be close to both the hinterland and the Sarno. Actually, it was this position that determined the end of the city.
How do you get there? You can reach by car (motorway A3 Naples-Salerno direction Salerno, exit Pompeii West and SS18 if you come from the north and highway A3, exit Pompeii East and SS18 if you come from the south), in Circumvesuviana (train of Naples-Sorrento with stop Pompeii Scavi), by train (Naples-Pompeii or Salerno with stop Portici-Ercolano and then to Pompeii), by bus (bus from Piazza Garibaldi station in Naples) or by taxi.
Pompeii excavations, the history
Pompeii Ancient is still visible for a good part and every building and find tells a bit of the culture and history of the city.
What made the city a target for foreigners and conquerors was its strategic location: the proximity to the navigable river Sarno made it an important commercial hub for the Mediterranean.
It was disputed first by the Grechi and the Etruscan population and then by commercial competitors, including Syracuse.
However, it is under the influence of the Romans that it acquired a certain importance at the territorial and commercial level: palaces, residences, public complexes, temples, fortifications.
The numerous earthquakes that struck it at the time of Nero have not affected its liveliness and importance, but it has not been able to overcome unscathed the eruption of Vesuvius seventy-nine years after Christ.
The eruption was so violent that it buried the city and reached the surrounding areas of Oplonti, Stabia and Ercolano. In fact, the explosion did not deposit lava on the ground, but lapilli and ashes that covered Pompeii sealing it intact.
What to visit at the Archaeological Park of Pompeii
The Archaeological Park of Pompeii is really vast and visiting all the sites in depth would be impossible in just one day.
How long does it take to visit the excavations of Pompeii? You can organize more routes if you are lucky enough to have more days or spend half a day knowing what not to miss.
Among the most important attractions is the Amphitheatre of Pompeii: it is one of the oldest; it is one of the largest; it is well preserved. It is located inside a natural quarry and surprises for its structure characterized by two types of arches.
You can not give up the visit to the Forum, the hub of the entire city: it is there that the local trade came to life. Later the commercial activities were joined by political and religious buildings. In the center are the remains of the Temple of Apollo (one of the most important religious sites of Pompeii). The forty-eight columns form a portico and hide inside an altar where the statue of Apollo was placed.
During the visit you can not miss the stop of the Orto dei Fuggiaschi. Why? Between the sixties and seventies, thirteen intact bodies of people who were reached by lapilli and ashes while trying to get to safety were found there.
In the same area there are the great theater and the small theater: the first is a large structure intended for the representation of Greek and Roman works while the second is smaller and was used to read poetry and give life to performances in music.
Engineering skills, architecture and sculpture: the house of the faun is one of the largest houses and is characterized by a tank designed to collect rainwater and a bronze sculpture depicting a patron deity of the countryside (called faun) dancing.
The immersive journey in Pompeii cannot skip the stage of the Lupanari, that is, the places where you indulged in pleasure. The ancestors of the brothels are presented as buildings on two floors embellished with symbols and frescoes from erotic representations.
Not far from the city walls, there is one of the most famous attractions: the Villa of the Mysteries. The fact that part of the villa is still covered by the ashes exerts a certain charm. Inside you can see various frescoes and you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the Neapolitan Gulf.
Another unmissable attraction is the complex of Terme Stabiane or Terme della Fortuna divided into two sections, one for women and one for men. Each section contains a scheme with compartments having different functions: Frigidarium, Calidarium and Tepidarium. There are also bathrooms, changing rooms, gyms and swimming pools.
How much is the ticket to the archaeological park of Pompeii?
How much does the ticket cost? Who can enter Pompeii for free? The cost of the ticket varies according to the time slot (more expensive in the morning and cheaper in the afternoon) and age (free for children and young people not yet of age and reduced for children between 18 and 25 years). If you choose a guided tour then you must add the cost of the guided tour to that of the ticket.
Best hotels in Pompeii
Solutions for all budgets. Pompeii offers various facilities for travelers who choose to visit the Archaeological Park and surroundings: hotels, B&Bs, guest houses and farmhouses.
What to eat in Pompeii
After visiting the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, you can stop at one of the restaurants and restaurants scattered both in the area near the excavations and in the city.
Pompeii does not have its own kitchen, but offers the best of Campania recipes: impepata of mussels, gnocchi alla sorrentina, soup maritata, zucchini alla scapece, meat pizzaiola, sfogliatella, pastiera, baba and much more.