From everywhere in Pompeii, the uncovered Roman ruins, or the modern city of Pompei you can see and feel the presence of Mt. Vesuvius. It is a backdrop to the entire city old and new and has played an important part in the history of the region. We spent two days on the archaeological site of Pompeii and enjoyed very moment…almost.

Some important things to know: if you are spending a few days in the Napoli area do invest in the Compagnia Arte Card. We purchased the year long card which allowed us two visits at each of the listed venues. We spent two days in Pompeii alone. The cards are very cost effective and our two days of admission to Pompeii almost paid for the card. When we visit Herculaneum, Paestum, Napoli, etc. you are definitely in the black. It also allows you easier access into the site of each place as you have an access code which you show at the entrance. You have to purchase the card on-line but it is pretty easy to do. On to Pompeii.

The park has three entrances and the nicest one to enter is the Amphitheater entrance. It is far less crowded and has some lovely homes to see as well as the gladiator arena. The crowds are much less intense and early in the morning you can actually take pictures with no one in them.

Here’s where the audience sat and cheered on their favorites. There were rooms on the side of the entrances for the dead gladiators and for the wounded.

Beautiful carved cornices survived the two-day deluge of ash that covered the city.

Frescoes showing Roman architecture remain to chronicle life in Roman times.

Baths were very important in Roman life and every larger home had access to baths indoors and out. Fountains were a large presence in the architecture of the town and the individual homes. Artists were much in demand and classical art (the center picture is a depiction of Venus) was found in homes at every level. Gardens were grown in central courtyards and were important to the household.

Formal gardens were found in many large homes and sometimes small vineyards. Household gods were a part of daily worship and had special places in the home. Mosaic floors were elaborately and painstakingly produced by skilled artisans. The tiles in the picture on the right were extremely tiny and we saw them everywhere.

I loved finding portrayals of guard dogs in several of the homes. This dog led visitors to the garden which was surrounded by large pillars making an impressive statement. It is important to remember that many citizens of Pompeii lost their lives when the volcano erupted. They are preserved by plaster castings made by the original archaeologists. Their last moments are heart rendering.

A mosaic floor was centuries ahead of Escher. Maybe he learned from them?

They depicted their history on the walls and remembered their past as they dined. I think this is Hercules besting the serpents.

Everyday occurrences were depicted as well. Buying horses, boats in the bay and many other parts of life were painted in every room of their homes. They loved color and the rooms were amazing portrayals of life, of the gods and of history.

Pompeii is truly a wonderful place to visit. You can certainly see some of the highlights in a three or four hour tour but how much more satisfying to wander for a couple of days discovering the amazing artistry of these ancient people.

They loved the theater and often attended productions of plays and music in theaters like this one. They were not so different in their appreciation and enjoyment of life than we are today. Hope you enjoyed this tiny look at the archaeological wonders of Pompeii.


5 thoughts on “Navigating Pompeii

  1. I have been fascinated with Pompeii since I was a little girl. One day I plan on seeing it. Thank you for sharing this!

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