Pompeii

Pompeii is in Campania, Italy, not far from Naples. Its major attraction is the ruined ancient Roman city of the same name, which was engulfed by Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A typical street in Pompeii
Annotated map of Pompeii, featuring the main roads, the Cardo Maximus is in Red and the Decumani Maximi are in green and dark blue. The southwest corner features the main forum and is the oldest part of the town.

Understand

See also: Roman Empire

Romans took control of Pompeii around 200 BC. On August 24, 79 AD, Vesuvius erupted, burying the nearby town of Pompeii in ash and soot, killing 20,000 people, and preserving the city in its state from that fateful day. Pompeii is an excavation (It: scavi) site and outdoor museum of the ancient Roman settlement. This site is considered to be one of the few sites where an ancient city has been preserved in detail - everything from jars and tables to paintings and people was frozen in time, yielding, together with neighbouring Herculaneum which suffered the same fate, an unprecedented opportunity to see how the people lived two thousand years ago.

Tickets

One-day tickets are €11 per adult; €5,50 for EU citizens between 18 - 24 and school teachers; EU citizens below 18 or above 65 get in for free (valid proving age document needed). A five-site pass costs €20. This includes Herculaneum and is valid for 3 days. As entrance to Herculaneum is also €11 buying this ticket saves you €2 even if you do not visit any of the other sites. The "Campania ArteCard" , which costs €30 offers free admission to numerous sites in the region if you are planning to be in Campania for several days. The site is open daily from 8:30 to 19:30 (November to March from 8:30 to 17:00) and the last ticket is sold 90 minutes before closing. It is closed on 1st January, 1st May, and 25th December. Telephone: 081-857-5347.

Audioguides are available either at the train station InfoPoint or at the official entrance for €6,50, €10 for two, ID is required. They are not available at the secondary Eastern entrance by the Amphitheatre - which is the entrance nearest the modern day town centre if you are walking. Unofficial audio guides are on offer at one of the market stalls near this entrance. Take note that audioguide maps are not the same and the official audioguide comes with more audio points of interest. It's a good idea to check out both options before deciding. Pompeii may take several hours to explore so make sure to ask about the audioguide battery life before your purchase. Tour guides also cluster near the entrance and offer their services. It's a good idea to talk to one for a couple of minutes before deciding, to make sure you can understand their accent when they speak English. You can join a tour group with the train station InfoPoint for €12 (not including entrance fee) or €10 at the official entrance.

Get in

For transport in the area see Campania

By train

On the Circumvesuviana Napoli-Sorrento line it takes 30 to 40 minutes to get to Pompeii from either Naples or Sorrento. Click on the station where you want to get the train in this timetable . It should cost €1,80 to €3,20. Get off at "Pompei Scavi". At the station, you can leave your bags for €1,50 (collect by 7:00 PM in summer, 6:00 PM October to February), or leave them for free at the ruins (pick up by 7:20 PM). The entrance to Pompeii is about 50 m away from the station and there's a Tourist Information office further down the street. If you get off at "Pompei Sanctuario," instead of "Pompei Scavi," the walk through town is not very far; it's tiring but worthwhile.

By bus

SITA runs buses from Naples. The cost is the same as the train.

By boat

If you are on a cruise, you can set up an excursion to explore the ruins (bus transfer) and tickets and tour will be included. From the cruise boat a hydrofoil travels around the Bay of Naples to Capri, Sorrento and Pompeii (from Naples). A bus-shuttle will take you to the ruins.

Disability

Disabled travelers should aim for the entrance at the Piazza Anfiteatro, where an itinerary has been designed to meet the needs of visitors with reduced mobility (and of parents with strollers, too!). Beware of the main entrance at Porte Marina, for it has plenty of stairs.

Get around

This is a walking site only. There are a few bicycles for rent, but the surfaces make them rather impractical. Note that walking the old Roman stone roads can be quite exhausting, especially in the heat of summer with loads of fellow tourists about. Everyone will be walking on cobblestones and uneven ground. The temperature is between 32 and 35c in the summer. Make sure to take plenty of water and watch your step as the old roads have grooves in them where the carts ran. It is advisable to wear good footwear, sunscreen and hats. There is a lot to look at and it could take all day to see everything.

On buying your ticket you should receive a map of the site and a booklet listing the main attractions. However, these can be sometimes out of print or you may find that the only booklet available is in Italian. A map of the site is essential if you want to see a lot in as short a time as possible. Even with a map visiting Pompeii is a bit like a trip to a maze. Many of the roads, apparently open according to the map, turn out to be blocked off for excavations or repairs, or, as happened in 2010, because a building collapsed. You might think you are heading for the exit but then have to turn around and retrace your steps to find another route.

See

Someone who did not escape the eruption
Storage of Artifacts
Another victim of the eruption
Forum
Oven
Bar
A sleeping feral dog

Other things to look for when walking around are:

Outside of the city walls:

In the modern town of Pompei:

Do

Tour

PompeiIn info@pompeiin.com +39 3284134719 offers several itineraries at the ancient Pompeii lasting from 1 hour to 6 hours. The guides are locals, are licensed and are graduated in archaeology; they are able to provide kids and disabled friendly tours, and with their vast knowledge of ancient history and society are capable of making the ancient Pompeii come to life. The highlights of the city are covered, such as the Forum, the Baths, the Brothel, the Bakeries, the House of The Faun and the House of the Tragic Poet, the Amphitheatre, the Theaters, the Villa of Mysteries, the Cemeteries and the City Fortifications.

Buy

Eat

Drink

Sleep

Stay safe

Mt Vesuvius is an active volcano and can erupt at any time. Scientists have devised a system to detect impending eruptions, though, so feel free to browse Pompeii's ruins without fear of falling ash and lapilli (pumice)! It's more likely that you should be trying to protect yourself from pickpockets. The site attracts a huge array of international visitors every day, and this money attracts some thieves, so keep your valuables protected, particularly near the entrances and the train station.

If you come by car, be aware not to park at the parking place near the entrance to the archaeological site. It is a tourist trap! Though there is no price displayed at the entrance of the parking, you'll be surprised when finding out that it costs €2 per hour when trying to leave, and you cannot leave unless you pay. This means that if your visit to Pompeii lasts a whole day (which a site like this certainly deserves) you may end up paying as much as €20 or more. There are much cheaper parking places just a few hundred meters down the hill in the town, and if you stay at one of Pompeii's hotels they normally offer free parking at one of these.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, December 18, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.