Pompeii is the town that almost everybody at least once has seen in the historic books for children. A mysterious place whose population was killed by the volcano eruption in 79 AD. Ironically, the Vesuvius crime is the reason why today we can admire one of the biggest Roman sites of the world in a perfect state. Let’s get in some more details.
So what is it?
Pompeii used to be (technically, still is) a relatively big city in Roman Empire. Since the Greek era, Pompeii had a significant strategic interest by its position allowing the control of the navigation in the Gulf of Naples. Rich and prosperous city, it included all necessary attributes of any Roman city: arena (much older than Coliseum in Rome), stadium, schools and even 5 brothels for 20 000 people.
Well, Roman free sexual moral is wide-known.
The last Vesuvius eruption took place 400 years ago which means that the citizens of Pompeii didn’t see it coming at all. Therefore, when in the year 79 AD they felt the first shakes of the volcano, their instincts didn’t suggest a correct way even though many inhabitants of Pompeii did leave the city before the disaster. When Vesuvius erupted, Pompeii was covered with 26 meters of volcanic ash, which killed instantly the remaining population. Regardless of how tragic the history might be, Pompeii is a priceless archaeological finding, which pushed the interest towards the Antic times.
Why to see it?
Pompeii is an enormous Roman site in a remarkable state – under the volcanic ash it had been well-kept indeed for centuries! It gives an exact idea of how Roman cities were organized, and believe me or not – there is no need to possess great imaginative skills to visualize how everyday life of Pompeii citizens used to look like.
Moreover, you will see… the people of Pompeii, who suddenly met their death in various positions. Scary and sad, but very impressive nevertheless.
And finally… insert here an inspiring text on how beautiful, solemn and majestic this frozen in time city is…
How to go there from Naples?
The easiest and the cheapest way is taking a train Circumvesuviana from the central railway station (piazza Garibaldi) in the direction of Salerno. The ticket costs around 3€, just make sure you validate it before getting on the train (what we didn’t do, aargh!). There are two exists in Pompeii – on in the modern town (8 minutes walk to the site) and another one just in front of the entrance (Pompei Scavi-Villa dei Misteri).
When to go there?
One important thing to know. Pompeii is huge.
By huge I do mean huge. Even if you want to have “a quick look at the highlights”, no chance you can spend there less than 2 hours. The official map of Pompeii proposes an itinerary, which takes seven hours! We went there in the middle of November. This way we avoided massive crowds of tourists (like on this picture taken in summer), admired a gorgeous sunset and enjoyed the site without dying of dehydration or being burnt like the citizens of Pompeii, instead in our case it would have been the merciless sun.
How much does it cost?
13€ per visitor. More information is on pompeiionline.net
We do advice you to take an official guided tour or at least an audio guide. Apparently, there are loads of unofficial tour guides who turn around Pompeii, so mind that the certified tour guide must present his license.