A 35 minute train journey on the Circumvesuviana from Naples to Pompei-Scavi takes you to the world famous site of Pompeii. It’s a further 15 minutes away from Herculaneum on the same line, so you could visit both sites in one [very long] day if you wanted.

Pompeii was destroyed by a pyroclastic flow from Vesuvius in AD 79. The whole city was buried under burning hot ash killing nearly 2000 inhabitants. The site is huge and new discoveries are still being unearthed. We decided to join another family at the entrance and share a guide which was very worthwhile. Many exhibits are in the Museo Archeoligico Nazionale in Naples, but don’t worry there is plenty to see. There is so much take in, this page is only just a small taster of what is on offer.

The Forum was where the inhabitants would congregate for social and religious meetings. The Temple of Apollo is on the East side of the square. Vesuvius can be seen clearly from the Forum, which is the highest spot in Pompeii. Not far from the Forum is The Macellum which was the old meat and fish market.

It’s a wonderful feeling just walking along the streets and pedestrian crossings that the inhabitants used nearly 2000 years ago. You can still see the furrows made by carriages and our guide told us the small pieces of marble embedded in the road were the original ‘cats eyes’ to help show the way in the dark.

Pompeii was a thriving city in its day so there are theatres, barracks for gladiators, temples, baths, shops, houses and villas and so much more on view. The three pictures below are of The Temple of Apollo.

Pompeii was a prosperous trading town and therefore needed certain services for the traders and travellers. The red light district is clearly sign posted on the pavement. Just follow the phallus’ !

It’s fairly obvious when you actually enter a brothel as the wall paintings are pretty graphic!

The House of the Faun is well known for its mosaics. The large mosaic of The Battle of Alexander now resides in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale as does the original bronze statue in the picture below.

The plaster casts of dead or dying residents of Pompeii are of course well known. Viewing them is a still a harrowing experience. It wasn’t just humans that perished in the eruption.

The Forum Baths were exquisitly decorated and had several rooms for bathing in different temperatures.

At the far end of the site there are two theatres adjacent to each other- The Great Theatre and Small Theatre. Stray dogs seem to like to congregate here but do not approach them.

So much to see, so little time. A revisit is on the cards.

QUICK LINKS:

Naples Homepage

Eating and Drinking

Decumano Maggiore

Spaccanopoli

Toledo and Castel Nuovo

Vomero

Excursion to Herculaneum