Pompeii’s archaeological excavations extend on a surface of approximately 440.000 square meters. To visit them in one day, the safest is to start with a clear itinerary to follow. Let’s find out how to best organise it!
The old city of Pompeii counts around 2 million visitors per year, and each of them would like to fully enjoy the charming flare, admiring every detail, catching every feature and visiting every villa and site.
If you want, you can visit Pompeii in one day, but only if you have an organised itinerary which allows you not to lose time, as the historical and archaeological treasures to see are plenty.
You need to arrive at the excavations site early in the morning, in order to avoid the pretty big queue at the entrance, and preferably wearing comfortable clothes and shoes.
In summer, don’t forget the sunscreen cream, a hat, sunglasses and a bottle of water, while in winter take an umbrella with you.
Visit Pompeii will be an unforgettable experience, but you need to be equipped for it, as you will have to walk a lot to cover the whole surface of the sites.
In case you will decide to stay inside the archaeological park the entire day, be sure to take with you something to eat, too.
To optimize your visit, I suggest you to rely on a tourist guide, who will transport you inside the ancient life of the city before the eruption of Vesuvius.
The old Pompeii is 2000 years old and it gives you the impression of walking in a city from the ancient Roman empire, kept almost untouched, admiring signs from the daily life of that period.
In 1997, UNESCO declared Pompeii and its excavations site a World Heritage Site.
Its archaeological remains, buried by the eruption of the Vesuvius volcano in 79 A.D., are a unique testimony of the social structure at the time.
Pompei remained hidden under the ash until 1748, when the archaeologist Roque Joaquín de Alcubierre, after randomly discovering the ruins of Ercolano city in 1738 digging the foundations of the summer residence of the king of Naples, decided to start a second round of excavations.
Due to the lack of air and the humidity, the artefacts buried under the cinder and the pumice were very well kept in both the sites.
There are several ways to reach the city and they are all very practical:
• By car: if you come from the north, take the highway A3 Naples-Salerno and exit at “Pompei-Ovest”; if you come from the south, the exit is “Pompei-Est”;
• By train: take the Circumvesuviana (the railway company operating services in the East of the Naples metropolitan area) and catch a train covering the route Napoli-Sorrento. The stop is “Pompei-Scavi”; there is also an alternative with Trenitalia, the national railway company, leaving from Naples and reaching Pompei in 35 minutes;
• By bus: from Naples central station, the bus lines SITA, CSTP and EAVBUS reach Pompeii in approximately 40 minutes.
Pompeii’s excavations sites are full of history and, as you may have understood, you will have a walk in a real Roman old city.
The must-sees are many, and in case you will decide to adventure on your own, you will find even more of them – but in case you don’t want to miss the most important ones, here you have a list to follow:
• Villa dei Misteri (“The mysteries’ Villa”): partially discovered in 1909-1910, probably property of Istacidii family, it is among the most important residences of the Augustan period’s Pompeii. From the living room, through a lateral passage, you will enter the mysteries’ room. The villa takes its name from the frescos decorating the place, a very discussed painting cycle by the experts in this field;
• Casa del Fauno (“The Faun’s home”): it has a surface of around 3000 square meters and takes its name from the bronze statue representing the Faun and put at the centre of the thalweg;
• Anfiteatro romano (“The Roman Amphitheatre”): it could host more than viewers. It was built around 70 A.D. for the gladiators’ fights;
• Il Foro (The Forum): it was the heart of the city, the main square, the political, economic and religious centre. This was the location for the most important activities of the city life; .
• Tempio di Apollo (Apollo’s temple, dedicated to the Roman god son of Zeus): it is the most ancient sanctuary in the city and the two sides of the colonnade host the copies of the statues of Apollo and Diana, represented as archers. The originals are kept at the Archaeological museum in Naples;
• Tempio di Giove (Jupiter’s Temple): a building from the II century BC, with a stairway accessing a high podium on which the cell was raised. Here a statue of Jupiter was guarded, but actually only the head is left;
• Tempio di Iside (Isis’ Temple): fabricated at the end of the II century BC, it has a front entrance stairway. The two side recesses were the location for Anubis and Harpokrates statues, Egyptian gods linked to the Isis’ worship. The name of the temple comes from Isis statue which was found in the portico;
• Casa del Menandro (Menander’s House, from the name of the Greek dramatist): an example of a Pompeian wealthy family domus (residence);
• Casa del Poeta Tragico (The House of the Tragic Poet): typical house with atrium, taking its name from the stage of the theatre rehearsal of a satirical chorus, illustrated on a mosaic frame;
• Casa dei Vetii (Vetii’s House): house attributed to two brothers after the discovery of two of their bronze seals;
• Casa di Sallustio (Sallust’s House): it takes its name from an electoral inscription on the façade, in which a so-called Sallust is mentioned:
• Teatro Grande e Teatro Piccolo (Big Theatre and Small Theatre): the first could host up to 5.000 viewers and was the set for Plautus and Terence’s plays representation, while the second one was destined to musical plays;
• Orto dei Fuggiaschi (The Fugitives’ Garden): this is one of the most charming spot, where you will find the casts of the people who tried to escape from the volcano’s eruption.
Those are the most well-known spots, but Pompeii’s excavations site offers many other interesting locations, such as the other domus - Casa degli Amanti, Casa del Chirurgo, Casa del Giardino di Ercole – but also temples, the Cathedral, typical commercial activities like the bakery.
I hope I persuaded you to book a visit to this appealing city, which will leave you unforgettable memories.