Welcome to ancient Pompeii
Pompeii is one of the most significant proofs of Roman civilization
and, like an open book, provides outstanding information on the art,
customs, trades and everyday life of the past.
The city has re-emerged from the darkness of centuries precisely as it would have been when it was unexpectedly buried in the thick layer of ash and lava which poured down from the devastating eruption of Vesuvius. It was the year 79 A.D. The scale of the tragedy was appalling: in what had been one of the most active and splendid Roman centres, life came to a permanent standstill.
The thick layer of volcanic material which submerged it, made up to a large extent of ash and lapilli - non-hard material, unlike that which covered Herculaneum and which solidified into extremely hard stone -has meant that the city has remained intact until the present day, not only as far as its buildings are concerned, but also as regards the contents inside the houses and shops, providing an absolutely fascinating picture of "daily" life.
The walls of the houses are covered with electoral propaganda messages or risque jokes aimed at particular citizens. The signs on the shop doorways indicate the activity carried out there or the name of the owner. Alongside the elegant villas belonging to the nobility and the luxurious residences of the middle class, stand modest houses where several families lived.
The peasant dwellings on the other hand are situated around vegetable gardens or small plots of land. On the edge of the city stood the brothels, squalid rooms intended as places of pleasure for sailors and travellers passing through, in the narrow lanes, the workshops and utility rooms provide further evidence of the daily routine performed by workmen and slaves as well as the women of the house. The houses still contain furniture, ornaments, gold and silverware, work tools, kitchenware, bronze and terracotta lamps, foodstuffs of all kinds, counters for serving drinks, grain mills and grindstones, workshops for manufacturing cloth, smithies and outlets selling groceries, fruit and vegetables.
There is a remarkable record of Roman painting, of which, without the finds made in Pompeii, virtually nothing would be known.
The architecture and development of the various types of houses is also amply documented. Thus the excavated city provides outstanding historical evidence of Roman civilization: these reminders of the past, which are so vivid and tangible in the remains brought to light, contribute to the fascination of the present.
Skip The Line
No waiting to explore an ancient civilization
Show the ticket on your smartphone at the Porta Marina entrance and take the skip-the-line lane
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|Tickets for Pompeii:
Skip The Line + Bus Roundtrip
Day trip back in time - from Rome to Pompeii
Enjoy air-conditioned comfort - with free WiFi - from Rome to Pompeii
NOTE: This trip runs from 1 March to November 30th every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
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Pompeii shows the typical topography of a Roman city with its decuman and cardinal roads which intersect at right angles creating an orthogonal grid: the cardo follows a north-south direction, the decumanus lies eastwest.
House Locator | Street Locator | Google map by Pompeionline
Pompeii, unlike the other towns in Campania founded for the most part by Greek colonists, was built by the Oscans, probably around the 9-8th century B.C., even if the evidence now available does not go back beyond the 6th century >>>
There is ample documentation of the Roman house in Pompeii, from modest dwellings to large and magnificent villas with sumptuous decorations, from simple workmen's houses to the elegant residences of the noble class >>>
Roman temples - the ones in Pompeii in particular - do not diverge in any way from the great Hellenistic models known through the colonies of Magna Graecia >>>
The "thermae" were the city's public baths. There were relatively few private baths and these were limited to the most well-to-do families, given that the latter were the only ones who could afford to build rooms suited to the purpose>>>
The theatre was the place where performances of comedies and tragedies were held.
It included a semi-circular cavea from which led the series of steps divided into sections on which the spectators sat >>>
It is presumed that the amphitheatre in Pompeii, the oldest known to us, must have provided the basic model for the subsequent buildings >>
Before the discovery of Pompeii, information about Roman painting was scarce and fragmentary with rare examples limited to fragments of frescos found in isolated cases >>
Mosaic ornamentation was widely used in the decoration of the houses in Pompeii and saw various stages of development >>>
The sculptures which have survived show that in Pompeii there was a preference for statues of a small size, given that they were designed for ornamental purposes >>>
Iscriptions and Graffiti:
The walls of the houses in Pompeii are frequently covered with inscriptions: these are electoral propaganda messages >>>
Images of Pompeii:
So many photos of the archaeological area >>>