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Pompeii in Italy

Tips, tours and tickets for visiting Pompeii near Naples

Pompeii tickets

From Naples, visit the excavations of the Roman city of Pompeii, which was affected by the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius in AD 79. What are the Pompeii sights?

Info & Tickets Pompeii Italy

Location

Archaeological Park of Pompeii, Via Villa dei Misteri, Pompei (This is about 22 kilometers from the center of Naples).

By car: Near the entrance of the park is a large parking lot 'Pompei Scavi Parcheggio' where you can park your car for 3 euros per hour. It is also possible to park your car at private car parks in the town of Pompeii itself. Tip: When booking your ticket, you can also choose to add a parking ticket for only 10 euros as an extra option.

Public transport: From Naples you can visit Pompeii easily by public transport. From the 'Central Station - Piazza Garibaldi', the Circumvesuviana trains depart to Sorrento (Line 1). After 40 minutes, you will stop at the 'Pompeii Scavi - Villa dei Misteri' stop, where you will get off in front of the main entrance of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii. The busy trains run 2 to 3 times an hour and a return ticket will cost you about 6 euros (you can buy your tickets at the station).

Tour from Naples: It is also possible to join a guided tour, sometimes even with a pickup from your hotel in Naples. This guided tour can be booked from 48.45 €. Would you also like to visit Mount Vesuvius? Then this tour or this tour are recommended and you will have a carefree day with an inspiring guide.

Tickets

Attention: Pompeii allows a limited number of visitors per time slot. It is therefore recommended to book your tickets in advance for a time slot so that you can enter immediately upon arrival:

Admission tickets

  • Tickets adults incl. reservation fee 21 € (book online)
  • 18 - 24 years 5.50 € and under 18 years 3 €
  • Audio guide 9 €
  • Tip: The Pompeii entrance ticket is also part of the discounted Naples City Card

Guided tours

Tip: To better understand Pompeii and hear the story behind the stones, I always recommend visiting the archaeological park with an audio guide (can be chosen as an extra option when booking the tickets online) or even better, with an enthusiastic guide. I recommend the following tours in Pompeii:

  • Guided tour with an English speaking guide, from 39 € (My last visit I really enjoyed this tour during which I saw the important highlights in 2 hours. More availability with this tour)
  • Guided tour + transport from hotel in Naples, from 48.45 € (book online)
  • Guided tour + Vesuvius + transport from hotel in Naples, from 90 € (book online or more at this website)

Hours
  • Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 am - 7:00 pm (Last admission 5:30 pm)
  • November to March the park closes at 5:30 pm
  • Closed: Mondays, December 25th, May 1st and January 1st

Pompeii, a city buried under volcanic ash

The Archaeological Sites of Pompeii is located in Italy and 2 kilometers from the center of Naples. The site is located at the foot of the Vesuvius volcano. The city was founded around the 8th century BC by the people of the Osken. Cities in Campania were often built by Greek settlers, Pompeii was not an exception because of the good fertile soil around the volcano. The city has been conquered several times in its history. Etruscans did so in the 6th century BC and in the 5th century BC, like the rest of Campania, by the Samnites. These conquests came to an end when the Romans defeated the Samnites in the 4th century BC.

Pompeii and the fortification by the Romans

Pompeii was fortified by the Romans, although the people of the city did not like the conquest and revolted. The Romans did not let this go unpunished and provoked a war. In the year 89 BC Pompeii was besieged by the Romans and 9 years later Pompeii surrendered. It became an official Roman province. Whether or not the conquest was right for the people of Pompeii, the city prospered and developed into an important trading center due to its location at the mouth of the river and good fertile soil. As a result, the city also attracted many wealthy Romans.

PompeïPompeii, a special voyage of discovery
PompeiiThe Temple of Jupiter with Vesuvius in the background

The volcano Vesuvius destroys Pompeii

Earthquakes were common during this period and not many people were surprised by them. In 62 AD, a major earthquake struck, causing chaos and severe damage to the city. Some of the inhabitants of Pompeii fled, but some stayed in the city to rebuild it. Not knowing that this earthquake was the prelude to a much greater disaster. Pompeii was located at the base of the volcano of Mount Vesuvius and was completely covered in a layer of ash from the volcano in 79 AD. During the eruption, around 20,000 people lived in the area and it was also a much-visited holiday destination for the Romans. Although a large part managed to flee the city, the remaining remnant of the population was attacked just in the following night by the suddenly descending ash cloud. 1000 human remains were found in Pompeii alone.

Pompeii ItalyRemains of the gate of the Macellum, the meat market
Pompeii visitOne of Pompeii's famous mummies

Centuries later, Pompeii is rediscovered

The volcanic eruption pushed cities like Pompeii and Herculaneum into oblivion. The city of Pompeii was completely covered with a meter high layer of ash. Finally, in the year 1599, the city was found during the digging of a canal. Later in the 18th century, efforts were made to remove the two cities from the ash layer. Nowadays, Pompeii is a huge tourist attraction and also a thriving area for historians and archaeologists. Partly because of the ash layer, everything has been well preserved. Compared to the excavations of Herculaneum you will see a big difference as this city was swallowed by the lava flow.

Pompeii, the treasury for archaeologists

In Pompeii you can study the daily life of the Roman period, something that is impossible in many other cities. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius was assumed to have occurred on August 24, 79 AD, but archaeological investigations in 2018 have moved this date to October 24 at 1 pm.

Pompeii NaplesGranai del Foro with a child mummy
Pompeii ticketsRemnants of the Roman baths in Pompeii

What to see in Pompeii?

You probably won't have enough time to visit the entire area of the excavations. The original city contained more than 1500 buildings and houses. Today there are too few financial resources to restore the entire area and some parts are in less good condition or have not yet been excavated. On the website pompeiisite.org you can see which houses and sites are open during your visit, but the most up-to-date information can be found on the information boards on the archaeological site. Of course you can also visit Pompeii without a plan and get lost through the streets and relive the feeling of the Roman period. To get you started, a small list of buildings of Pompeii that are definitely worth visiting and you can find on the map you get at the entrance of the park. Pompeii is divided into several regions which were all surrounded by a city wall. The highlights per region:

Region I

  • Casa e Thermopolium di Vetutius Placidus was a small fast food restaurant. Here you can clearly see the counter and the various old pots in which food was kept.

Region II

  • The Anfiteatro (amphitheatre) was used for gladiatorial games. This site is still fairly intact and shows the place where 20,000 visitors could enjoy the fighting of gladiators.
  • Next to the Anfiteatro you will find Palestra Grande, an old gymnasium. It is believed that young people were playing sports during the eruption of Vesuvius, because bodies have been found at the exit of boys who were probably trying to escape.

Region VI

  • Casa del Fauno: The largest and most luxurious palace in Pompeii. Several floor mosaics can now be admired in the Naples Archaeological Museum.
  • Casa del Poeta Tragico: The landmark of this house is the mosaic, warning for the dangerous dog.
  • Villa dei Misteri: A luxury villa outside the city gates, probably owned by a farming family. The villa has beautifully preserved wall paintings. This villa is a short walk from the other attractions, but the frescoes are definitely worth a look.

Region VII

  • Forum: The main square and meeting point of the city of Pompeii, surrounded by several markets for textiles, meat and grain. On the side of the Vesuvius are some columns of the Tempio di Giove (Temple of Jupiter). The striking bronze statue in the forum is not an original work, but a lasting reminder of an art exhibition in Pompeii.
  • Terme del Foro: The hot water pools heated by a coal stove. The Roman population bathed in these baths.
  • Santuario di Apollo: The Temple of Apollo shows how the Romans adopted Greek traditions. On the temple you can see two bronze replicas of Apollo and Diana.
  • Granai del Foro: Adjacent to the forum is a large storehouse of amphorae and several plaster statues ('mummies') to admire.
  • One of the most beautiful sights of Pompeii is the Lupanare, one of the former brothels of the city. There is a queue to get in. You will find well-preserved erotic frescoes.
  • Casa de Sirico: In this 'domus' of a wealthy baker's family, you can admire the various rooms of a villa as well as a number of plaster mummies.
  • Terme Stabiane: These are the oldest of the four public baths in the city, where the different types of bathing areas are still clearly visible.

Region VIII

  • Teatro Grande: The horseshoe-shaped theater where comedies and mimes were shown.
  • Templo di Iside: In other words, the Temple of Isis, dedicated to the Egyptian goddess of fertility.
Tickets PompeiiVilla dei Misteri, a 2nd century Roman villa with well-preserved frescoes
Pompei excursionGranai del Foro with lots of old pots and tools

Visit Pompeii

The huge size of Pompeii means there is a lot to exlore. You can even take a few days to visit it all, but most visitors will be able to see the main highlights in half a day. The city is easily accessible from Naples with a train connection of only 40 minutes. It is recommended to bring good walking shoes as the cobblestones of the sites are uneven and not easy to walk on. It is highly recommended to opt for a real guide if you are interested in the history and stories of Pompeii, so that the archaeological area will better appeal to the imagination.

Recommended: Many tourists from Naples opt to book an organized day trip (book online or via this provider), including both the Pompeii guide and a visit to the Mount Vesuvius; if you want to visit both spots on your own in one day, a visit to the Vesuvius can be a logistical challenge. The next excursions will make it a carefree day trip. If you only want to visit Pompeii you can also simply book your tickets online.

Video: Documentary about Pompeii

 


Where is Pompeii in Italy?

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