In 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted and covered the city of Pompeii in an unimaginable layer of ash and pumice. Due to the sheer force of the eruption, the debris shot 16 miles vertically into the air, and as it fell it covered ground at astonishing rate of 8 inches per hour, killing up to 20,000 people. Pompeii remained undiscovered until the 16th century, and excavations began in the 17th century. The city spans over 66 hectares of land, with only 49 hectares of which have already been excavated.
Whilst Adam and I were staying in Sorrento last month, we decided to include a half day trip to Pompeii whilst we were so close. In this post i’m going to share a few pieces of info regarding prices and travel, and then share some of my snaps to give you a better view of what Pompeii looks like today.
How Much Does Entry Cost?
I was pleasantly surprised that the entry fee to Pompeii only cost €13 pp, however multiple entry tickets to other sites were also available. For example, you could also purchase a joint ticket to both Pompeii and Herculaneum, which would cost a little less than buying separate entry tickets, therefore saving you a few euro’s (we like saving our euros!!).
How To Get There
We were staying in the historical centre of Sorrento, a short walk from the station, so this was super easy for us. You can take a direct train from Sorrento to Pompeii in 30 minutes, and the entrance to the site is literally just opposite the train station exit. Couldn’t have been easier!
If you are staying along the Amalfi Coast, then you’ll need to head to Sorrento to take the train as this was the last stop along the train line. There were actually two different trains you could take, the regular train as we did (tickets cost €4 pp) or there was an express non-stop train from Sorrento to Pompeii which cost a few extra euros, but departed less frequently.
From Naples you can also take the train down to Pompeii, otherwise you could drive or arrange a private taxi. With public transport costing so little and being so easy to arrange, you’d be nuts to think otherwise!
So, What Does Pompeii Really Look Like?
I’m going to keep this post brief and just share the highlights of our trip. Hope you enjoy!
Marina Gate and Walls – The most impressive gate into Pompeii is also used as the main entrance for visitors upon entering the Pompeii site.
Basilica – One of the oldest examples of this type of building in the Roman world, this space was used for both business and justice.
The Forum – The hub of the city, this large expanse of land was the focal point for markets, business, worship, public buildings and justice.
Mensa Ponderaria – Used to check the capacity measurements during trade, for both solid and liquid items. Although this is a replica, the original is kept in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples.
Forum Granary – A former fruit and vegetable market that now houses over 9000 excavated artefacts including tables, carts, jugs, a water fountain, and the cast of a victim.
Forum Baths – The baths date back to 80 BC. Separate quarters were built for men and women, both of which had their own entrances.
Honorary Arches – Excavated in 1816, this honorary arch was made of brick and adorned with marble.
Residential Street – In this part of Pompeii you can walk down old residential streets among the ruins.
Herculaneum Gate and Walls – Named accordingly, as the road from Pompeii to Herculaeum emerged from here.
Water Trough – Several former water troughs can be seen along the streets like this one here.
House of Small Fountain – Recently restored, this is one of the best examples of colourful mosaics and shells that decorate the fountain.
Thermopolium – Mainly used by the lower class citizens, these small cook shops were used to sell hot food.
House of the Faun – One of the larger wealthier houses excavated, this house covers roughly 3000 sqm of land.
Bakery of Popidio Prisco – The large oven and five lava millstones (used to grind wheat) can be seen in this former bakery.
Lupanar – Pompeii had a brothel. Who would have thought? Walking through the Lupanar, you’ll see five rooms with fitted beds, each with a small painting above the door letting customers know what services were available.
Triangular Forum – Overlooking the mouth of the river Sarno, this forum was named in accordance to its unique shape.
Large Theatre – Built in the 2nd century. this circular Grand Theatre is split into five seating areas that face the main stage.
Small Theatre – Known as the Odeon, this smaller theatre dates back to 79 BC, and was used for musical, singing and miming performances.
Quadriporticus of the theatres & The Gladiators Barracks – Located behind the Large Theatre and surrounded by 74 columns, this space was once used by spectators during theatre interverals. Later, the space was used as barracks for the gladiators.
Fullery of Stephanus – This building was used as a production house for washing dirty laundry and included a large bath in the centre of the atrium.
Fullery of Stephanus
Fullery of Stephanus
House of the Menander – Another example of one of the larger home that belonged to one of the wealthier families.
Caligraphy – Original inscriptions can be found like this example here
Garden of the Fugitives – Fascinating yet heartbreaking. Here you can see the casts of 13 victims, including adults and children, who were covering in layers of pumice whilst trying to escape Pompeii,
Garden of the Fugitives
Nocera Gate and Walls – This gate provided access to the road that led to Nocera, and was therefore named accordingly.
Necropolis of Nocera Gate – Burial monuments were discovered just outside of the city walls here. Today, you can see a small shrine displaying statues of the deceased.