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How to Explore Pompeii

Pompeii. The city destroyed by a volcano. The bustling resort city with running water and even heat sent through the hollow walls and under floors, was soon to be no more.

The story of Pompeii is a tragic one. The Pompeii community was recovering from a major earthquake that ruined the city’s infrastructure in 63 AD when Mt. Vesuvius erupted killing approximately 16,000 people. Some people were buried alive by falling ash and molten material thrown from the volcano. Others died in a pyroclastic surge, or cloud of toxic gas, that is believed to be so hot that it killed hundreds in a fraction of a second, leaving their bodies frozen in time.

Due to the extensive damage caused by the eruption and the emotional turmoil, the city of Pompeii was frozen in time until explorers found the site in 1748. Looters had raided the area of many of the cities riches. Still, many buildings, skeletons, and remnants of the era were preserved by the volcanic ash. I would recommend a trip to the National Archeological Museum of Naples to make your trip to Pompeii complete.

Our way into the city of Pompeii. It is believed it used to be a tourist town for the Romans.

Our way into the city of Pompeii. It is believed it used to be a tourist town for the Romans.

Chris in Pompeii. It was pretty hot. Thank God for slushies!

A statue on the ground in Pompeii.

A corridor in Pompeii.

Figurines found in Pompeii bath house.

Bath house in Pompeii that had running water. They were for public use. Only the rich could afford  a private bath house. It was also a place for people to meet.

Replica of the Faun statue in what is left of the House of Fauns in Pompeii.

Mosaic floor pattern in Pompeii. It looks 3D but is actually flat.

Pompeii ruins.

Pompeii pottery.

Artwork in Pompeii building. There is a brothel here in Pompeii with some pretty obscene graffiti.

Another statue in Pompeii

This alter in Pompeii was used to sacrifice animals.

Horseman statue.

Another replica statue found in Pompeii. Look at the details within the chest.

Notice the male replica statues behind me.

Male statue in Pompeii.

Why yes, I can balance a naked man on my head.

Chris’s reaction to me balancing a naked man on my head.

Me standing in Pompeii ruins.

Replica face statue in Pompeii.

This is a road in Pompeii. It is necessary to watch your step as some of the rocks are higher than others for water to run through to keep your feet dry.

At this point, our group cannot follow a map. I was desperate to see a major site in Pompeii. Here are ruins that lead to something exciting!

Our group was ready to go. But I wanted to explore just this last road!!!!

You couldn’t believe my excitement when we went through this alley off of the road in the previous picture! To our amazement was one of the Pompeii theaters that holds up to 1500 people for concerts and other shows.


Also in Pompeii, is the oldest surviving Roman amphitheater. Due to being short on time, unfortunately we did not get to see it. It is believed to have held up to 20,000 spectators for big events such as their loved Gladiator games. It was divided up into sections to accommodate the different social classes. The dignitaries were seated at the bottom, and the poor were at the top. The amphitheater was the model for the Colosseum which would be built over a 100 years later.

Tips on Exploring Pompeii

  • Visit Pompeii early in the summer as it gets hot! Or, if the heat doesn’t bother you, go later in the day to avoid the crowds.
  • Hire a guide! There were a few standing around the ticket counter. I cannot stress this enough! Pompeii is big and you will not only get lost, but may not see every thing. A guide can show you the most important places in a timely manner and show you things you wouldn’t know if on your own or with an audio guide (FYI, the audio guide is hard to keep up with when you are lost!). Get to know your guide before hiring him/her as the quality varies.
  • Bring water! You will be thirsty!
  • Watch your step. Those big rocks in the way were actually stepping stones for people to walk on so the water would drain around them allowing a drainage system.
  • Be prepared to be culturally shocked. Life in Pompeii was not what I had expected. There was a brothel and sex was more open than private. The artwork in the Suburban Baths showed many variants on sexual intercourse.
  • Wear sunscreen and/or a hat to protect your skin.
  • Start in the back of the city to avoid the crowds. Or visit the places you want to see in case you run out of time. I would spend a minimum of three hours here, but I suggest a day!
  • If you visit Pompeii on your own, research the sites you want to visit and get to know the map of the city as there is poor signage.

My regrets? I didn’t have enough time to visit. I wish I had hired a tour guide for Pompeii instead of the horrible audio guide. It is easy to get lost and trying to figure out where you are wastes time. I wish I had the chance to visit the amphitheater and spend an afternoon at the museum in Naples. The bodies were not on display during my visit, instead there was a picture in the glass case.

By | 2016-10-20T23:35:32+00:00 September 4th, 2016|

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