Imagining Pompeii as it was

{ Pompeii, Italy - May 2011 }

Walking around the huge and well-preserved archeological site that was once Pompeii, it was easy to imagine the city that it once was...

Pompeii was an important port, and must have been a well-to-do city. The temples and the forum must have been a lively place where the Pompeiians met, traded and socialised with their family and friends. There were shops selling everyday items, such as wine and bread, with graffiti on the walls. There were brothels with erotic frescoes and public baths. The large amphitheatre must have provided entertainments to the residents.

The houses and villas were large, with many rooms and even gardens with water features. Some of the houses were right in the middle of the city, while others were further away, probably some holiday villas of rich Pompeiians. The rich pompeiian red that coloured the walls and the beautiful paintings showed that the houses must have been colourful. The bright gardens and water features, would have completed the homes. Some houses even have guard dogs, with mosaic signs to warn unwanted intruders!

Then came the eruption of Mount Vesuvius on 24 August 79 AD. The huge cloud of volcanic ash and the heat, caused many Pompeiians to run away from the city. Unfortunately, many did not manage to leave and perished when the thick layer of ashes buried them and their city. With the city covered and destroyed, the city was abandoned, and the names and locations forgotten.

::: Footnotes :::

{ Getting there from Naples } There are trains every half an hour for the 35 minutes journey from Circumvesuviana Napoli-Sorrento to Pompei Scavi-Villa dei Misteri. The entrance at Porta Marina is only a few minutes walk away. To go back to Naples, take the Circumvesuviana train from the Pompei Scavi-Villa dei Misteri stop to Naples Garibaldi station (direction Napoli). Note that there are two stops marked Napoli – you want the first one if you’re aiming for Garibaldi, the city’s main train station.

{ Pompeii } Pompeii is open everyday from 8.30 am to 7.30 pm, with the last admission at 6 pm. A single ticket is valid for one day, and costs €11. You can also buy the ticket that gives you access to five sites (Herculaneum, Pompeii, Oplontis, Stabiae, Boscoreale) for €20, and is valid for 3 days. The ticket price includes a map and small pocket guide, A Brief Guide to Pompeii. The guide is good, and remember to pick them up at the information window. Audio guide is also available, but we read that it is a recording of the pocket guide, and so we did not get it. It costs €6.50 for one, or €10 for 2 people.

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