What to see in Pompeii ruins?
Get lost in the streets of this archaeological zone of wonderful southern Italy, is to lose yourself in time and knowledge.
Once upon a time there was an ancient city of Rome, next to the imposing Mount Vesuvius, which was completely buried for more than 1500 years, due to a gigantic eruption that killed thousands of people who lived in the commune.
The bad part of the story is that it is real, the good, what comes from the year 1748, a group of archaeologists began the first excavations of the ruins of Pompeii, where an impressive city was discovered.
I’m talking about the Archeological Park of Pompeii, or Pompei, in Italian, which is 25 kilometers from Naples, in the spectacular south of Italy.
Following the cobblestone paths made me feel as if time was returning; also some mystery and total admiration for the culture of those who built the city.
Theaters, temples, houses, places of leisure, Roman forums and frescoes, from religious to erotic themes. That and more I could see and walk in the archaeological site. There will always be more places of interest in this place, because it is a very big city.
Today the streets that witnessed the roaring of Vesuvius Volcano are almost intact, now a dormant volcano that is still present, as if it were watching Pompeii, as if it had not been responsible for burying a whole town. Pompeii ruins were declared by UNESCO as World Heritage Site in 1997.
For me, the most impressive thing about the park is that it exhibits the bodies of men, women and animals that were petrified, in the same positions they were at the time of the eruption (August 24, 79 AD). Petrifaction is the process of converting or transforming something into stone, in this case bodies.
So I could see it in my visit. It seems impossible to believe that these petrified bodies were buried under the ashes and stones that the Vesuvius volcano expelled. Contrary to what some experts believed, today it is known that the victims of the volcano Vesuvius did not suffer long agonies due to suffocation (fortunately!), But they lost their lives at the moment of the eruption, due to exposure to very high temperatures: it is estimated that 300ºC and 600ºC.
➡️ Great Theatre
In my opinion, one of the most impressive ruins. It is preserved almost in perfect condition and, as the name says, it worked as the place of the Roman era where shows were presented. History tells us that it was built in the second century BC, with a capacity for 5,000 people, and, before being buried by the ashes of Vesuvius, it was partially destroyed by an earthquake, in the year 62.
➡️ Pompeii Forum
It was the main square of the city; it is currently one of the best preserved sites in the old Italian cities. Political, economic and religious activities were carried out in the forum.
It was a public building where the market that supplied Pompeii was installed. The Macellum was articulated around an open central courtyard, where the remains of a circular structure were found. It was surrounded by an inner perimeter column of great depth.
➡️ House of the Faun
It is a house where a great variety of decorations with mosaics of great artistic value was found, many of which are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Naples. Inside the House of the Faun, important gold and silver objects were also found, including a snake-shaped bracelet.
➡️ Temple of Jupiter
The temple was built around 250 BC. and it was originally dedicated to Jupiter. It was built during a period of strong urban expansion of the city, and quickly became the main sacred building of Pompeii.
➡️ Temple of Vespasian
The Romans “adored” their gods but also their emperors. The Vespasian Temple was dedicated to Emperor Tito Flavio Vespasiano, who died a few months before the eruption. At the time of the eruption, the temple was in restoration, after the damage caused by the earthquake.
Tips for visiting Pompeii
- Buy tickets only at the official ticket offices, inside the Pompeii Archaeological Park, or online (ticketone.it). The price is 15 euros.
- There are three dates on which the site is closed: January 1, May 1 and December 25.
- I spent one morning in Pompeii, because the city is big. If you do not go with a guide, the best thing is that you organize yourself very well with the help of a map, so you can go through what you find most interesting. You can find the map in this link.
- The park has three entrances and exits, which are Porta Marina, Piazza Esedra and Piazza Anfiteatro. There is one more, Villa dei Misteri, but it only serves to go out. Google maps can guide you.
- If you have more time, you can buy a single ticket to visit the Archaeological Circuit of Vesuvian, with which you can enter Pompeii, Oplontis, and Boscoreale (other archaeological sites). The circuit costs 18 euros and is valid for three days.