Ancient Sites in Pompeii

Pompeii, in the Italian state of Campania, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site not far from Naples. The ancient city was buried on the fateful day of August 24, 79 AD, when Mount Vesuvius erupted burying it in ash and soot, killing about 20,000 people and preserving the city in the same state from that fateful day. The city has now been excavated and it serves as an outdoor museum of the ancient Roman settlement. It is one of the few sites in the world where nearly everything has been preserved in detail- from paintings and people to tables and jars- all frozen in time. Pompeii gives visitors an unprecedented opportunity to see how people lived some two thousand years ago.

What to see

The amphitheatre: Located near the Sarno Gate entrance, the amphitheatre dates back to 80 BC. Measuring 135 x 104 metres it could house about 20,000 people and was used for gladiator battles and other sports and spectacles.

The Great Palaestra (Gymnasium): Set opposite the amphitheatre, the area was used for sporting activities. It has a pool in the middle with three lengthy internal porticos or colonnades.

House of the Vettii: It is widely believed that the house belonged to two brothers who were originally slaves but became affluent when they were freed. The house contains several frescoes including that of Priapus, God of Fertility. Then there are other frescoes on display illustrating cupids, couple making love and many other mythological characters.

House of the Faun: The house is named after a statue of a dancing faun found on the site. The house also represents an interesting fusion of Greek and Italian architecture.

Forum: Though located to the southwest of the excavated area, it was the centre of public life. It was surrounded by religious and government buildings.

Temple of Apollo: Set near the Basilica and the Forum, the temple is the oldest remains found on the site. It contains Etruscan items dating back to 575 BC.

Theatre: The Theatre which can seat about 5000 people was built in the hollow of a hill for acoustic advantage.

The Garden of the Fugitives: The site has reopened to the public after it was closed for restoration work. It contains the plaster cast of 13 of Pompeii's residents who had tried to flee to safety when Mount Vesuvius erupted. They were trapped in lava; however, their bodies decayed and left hollow spaces in the hardened ash. They were later filled with plaster to make statues of the victims.


Pompeii is a popular tourist site and attracts a fair share of visitors every year. The region has all amenities to cater to the visitors from luxury Italy villas to budget hotels and guesthouses. You can set base near Pompeii and explore nearby Naples also.

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