The Pompeii ruins

Via Villa dei Misteri 2, 80045, Pompei
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Archaeological Site

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Parking available

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Pets allowed

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Suitable for children

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Supports in English or French

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About this activity

The Pompeii Ruins are one of the cornerstones of the collective imagination about ancient Rome: the history of the rich and flourishing commercial city suddenly buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD has fascinated all Roman history enthusiasts for centuries. Maybe you can recall the heartfelt story that Pliny the Younger handed down to us about that tragic event that inspired novels and films. 

The presence of Pompeii and its dramatic fate in mass culture is still extremely relevant, so much so that the Pompeii Ruins are still one of the main museums in Italy for number of visits. With their 17 square miles and their exceptional state of preservation, the Pompeii Ruins undoubtedly represent the ideal place to visit if you want to fully understand what life was like 2000 years ago.

History of the Pompeii Ruins

Pompeii was founded in the 8th century BC by the Osci, an ancient Italic people. The city grew and gained prestige over the centuries, thanks also to the various influences exerted by several peoples: firstly the Greeks, later the Etruscans, and finally the Samnites, who gave Pompeii its status as a commercial town. In the 3rd century BC it was the turn of the final conquest by the Romans, who supported the further development of Pompeii as a strategic port for trade routes.

As we have seen, the history of Pompeii ended within a single day, traditionally fixed on August 24, 79 AD. On that day a violent eruption of Mount Vesuvius covered the entire city with a thick layer of ashes and lapilli, and left behind a desolate landscape that would not have been repopulated for a very long time.

We’ll have to wait until 1748 to see the first archaeological excavations in this area, which took place at the behest of King Charles III of Spain and continued also under the French domination of Joachim Murat, a Napoleonic marshal who had been proclaimed King of Naples. It was during this period that Pompeii’s fame spread throughout Europe, making it one of the obligatory destinations of the Grand Tour, the customary educational trip made by young European intellectuals.

The excavations continued even after the Italian Unification and beyond, experiencing a setback only in 1960s. Especially after the 1980 Irpinia earthquake, which significantly damaged the archaeological site, it was decided to concentrate all the resources on restoring the buildings already discovered rather than continuing the excavations. To further ensure this protection, in 1997 the Pompeii Ruins became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Why you should visit the Pompeii Ruins

A visit to the Pompeii Ruins will allow you to fully immerse yourself in the daily life of the ancient inhabitants of this flourishing port town. The thick layer of ash and lapilli that covered the city following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius has in fact allowed an exceptional preservation of the entire city, protecting it from the outside world. This is the reason why the Pompeii Ruins still show us the entire urban structure of the ancient city: public buildings, private dwellings of every social level, places of worship, thermal baths, arenas.

There are many must-see attractions in this extraordinary archaeological site, but for the sake of brevity we will only mention a few of them. As for the areas reserved for the shows, you can visit the impressive Pompeii Amphitheatre, an arena that could hold up to 20,000 spectators, and the Large Theatre, which still nowadays hosts classic dramas for special events. You can also admire the Pompeii’s Forum, focal point of the daily life of the ancient inhabitants, and the Stabian Baths where they went to relax. As for private homes, you can’t miss the House of the Faun, a majestic and richly decorated villa of about 32000 ft², and the Villa of the Mysteries with its enigmatic frescoes. Particularly noteworthy is also the House of the Menander, which is believed to have belonged to the relatives of Poppea (Nero’s second wife), and the elegant House of the Tragic Poet. Extremely suggestive are also the Temple of Apollo (probably built by the Etruscans), the Temple of Isis and the Necropolis located near the city gates.

Some facts you absolutely need to know about the Pompeii Ruins

  • Among the most distinguished visitors to the Pompeii Ruins was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It is said that the great composer was so impressed by the beauty of the Temple of Isis that he drew from it the inspiration to compose one of his most famous works, The Magic Flute.
  • The Pompeii Ruins have been chosen as a main source of inspiration also by music geniuses closer to our times. In fact, in 1971 Pink Floyd played in the Pompeii Amphitheatre for a concert without an audience. The shooting of this concert would have constituted the Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii documentary.
  • The city of Pompeii and its tragic fate have also greatly influenced cinema, especially in its early days. In fact, between 1900 and 1959 there are no less than 6 films under the title The Last Days of Pompeii, all inspired by the novel of the same name published by Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1834. The same goes for cult TV series: Doctor Who dedicated an entire episode to the Pompeii events, and even the Simpsons visited the excavations in the seventeenth season.

Tips for your visitnnCOST: Full price: € 15 / Full price with the addition of Boscoreale and Oplontis: € 18. / Free admission for minors, disabled and teachers. / Reduced (€ 2) for citizens between 18 and 25 years of age.nnPARKING: There are several fee-paying car parks (both guarded and not) near the three entrances to the Pompeii Ruins.nnCONTACTS: Telephone: +39 081 8575347. Email: HOURS: From April 1st to October 31st the archaeological site is open from 9:00 am to 7:30 pm, with last admission at 6:00 pm. From November 1st to March 31st the site is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, with last admission at 3:30 pm. Throughout the year the site opens at 8:30 am on Saturday and Sunday.nnCLOSING DAY: None.nnAverage time spent: A visit that includes all the main attractions of the Pompeii Ruins should take no less than 6 hours.nnImportant tips: To visit the Pompeii Ruins you will have to walk a lot and for a long time, so don't forget to stock up on fresh water and wear comfortable shoes. Remember to take the map of the city that you will find at the entrance to the Ruins, so that you can easily orient yourself and optimize your time. We also recommend buying the audio guides available at the ticket office, which will allow you to have a full visit experience. Information boards inside the Ruins are unfortunately very scarce, and by relying only on those you would risk missing a lot of interesting information.n

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Getting to the Pompeii Ruins

  • To reach the Pompeii ruins follow the indication or push the button 'Get indications'.
  • How to reach the Pompeii ruins with public transports
  • It should be noted that the Pompeii Ruins are accessible from three different entrances: Porta Marina (located in Via Villa dei Misteri), Piazza Esedra (located in Piazza Porta Marina Inferiore) and Piazza Anfiteatro (located in Piazza Immacolata).
  • All of these three entrances are accessible thanks to the Circumvesuviana railway: if you want to enter from Porta Marina or Piazza Esedra you will have to take the L1 Naples-Sorrento and get off at the Pompei Villa dei Misteri station. If you want to access the Pompeii Ruins from Piazza Anfiteatro you will have to take the L4 Naples-Poggiomarino and get off at the Pompei Santuario station.
  • Alternatively, the Pompeii Ruins can also be reached thanks to the Italian State Railways on the Naples-Salerno route, with a stop in Pompeii.
  • Finally, if you prefer to take the bus, you can count on those of the SITA SUD that cover the Naples-Salerno route.
  • How to reach the Pompeii ruins by car
  • Take the A3 Naples-Salerno motorway and take the exit number 14, Pompei Ovest.n

Activity's Location

Via Villa dei Misteri 2, 80045, Pompei
From: €21.00

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