A Day In The Life Of Pompeii

Exploring the Ancient City of Pompeii

Pompeii is an ancient city located in the south of Italy and was famously buried in ash following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Until the 18th century, it was largely forgotten and hidden beneath the debris of lava and lapilli, the Latin word for pebbles. Over the centuries, due to prolonged excavation, the city has been brought back to life, allowing us to explore and marvel over the preserved streets, monuments, art and civilisation that are almost two thousand years old. A day in Pompeii is an opportunity to uncover a unique slice of ancient history, through what survives of its artifacts, structures, and resident’s remains.

The vibrant city was part of the Roman empire and was originally founded around the 8th century BC by a group of Osci people. It was home to about 20,000 inhabitants, who were known for their wealthy lifestyle, as evidenced by their finely preserved frescoes and ornate villas. It was also an important trading hub that connected nearby coasts to the Bay of Naples. The city centre was organised around five major roads: The Via dell’Abondanza, the Via Fori, the Via Stabiana, the Via degli Augustali, and the Via della Fortuna.

The abundant attractions of the city provide a glimpse into the daily life of its citizens. Many of the buildings have fared remarkably well and you can still see the preserved streets lined with houses, shops, and public baths. Some of the more prominent attractions include: the Casa del Fauno, a lavish two-story home of one of Pompeii’s most influential families, the Teatro Grande, Pompei’s large theater, and the Thermopolium, a bar that served a range of hot and cold snacks. The city was also home to public baths, a public fountain, a public latrine and a large amphitheater.

The city is filled with reminders of the fateful day that brought its life to a halt. The famous plaster casts of the victims lying in their death throes are a hauntingly tangible reminder of how suddenly the eruption occurred. As the city was engulfed by ash and lava, the hot air filled with sulphur, the sound of explosions and the shaking of the ground coupled with a darkness brought on by the volcanic ash served as a warning that was too late for many to heed. This tragedy has left many unanswered questions behind and is a reminder of the unpredictable nature of volcanic eruptions.

Apart from the volcano, the city was in many ways, a testament to the ways of life of the Roman Empire two thousand years ago. The impressive ruins of the buildings, the daily life evidenced by the Human figures and their belongings that have been left behind, and the astonishing frescoes highlight the fine attention to detail of the Pompeii inhabitants.

The city itself is a living museum and a vivid reminder of what once was. For both historians and non-specialists alike, A day in Pompeii is an opportunity to explore and uncover a unique time capsule of the past and immerse yourself in the stories behind the ruins.

Additional Information

Today, the site of Pompeii is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been under excavation since the 18th century. It is open to the public and encircled by a high wall that shields it from modern day settlement and intrusion. Over two million people visit Pompeii annually and the city is an important part of what the region has to offer.

A visit to the city will give you an unparalleled insight into the past, but it’s also important to be mindful of the area’s environment and cultural significance. As with any archaeological ruin, it is essential to respect the site and protect its preservation. The concrete pathways and roped-off walkways are there to ensure that the ruins remain intact, so try to stay away from restricted areas, as they contain fragile ruins or can be unstable. To protect the frescoes and the delicate walls of the ruins, take care when handling the artefacts and use your own flashlight when exploring at night.


The items that remain in Pompeii are an intriguing reminder of the city’s past. From fine vases and crockery, to wall art and clothing, the variety of objects that have been uncovered reveal how life looked two-thousand years ago.

Plaster casts of the victims were created by Fiorelli in 1863. He poured a mixture of clay and liquid plaster onto the cavities left by decomposed bodies and a human figure was created in a moment frozen in time. These casts hold so much power and meaning that it is easy to feel overwhelmed when in their presence.

Walls and floors of the buildings were covered in paintings and mesmerising frescoes that depicted a range of visuals from godly deities to mythical creatures and of everyday life. Many buildings were painted entirely in bright colours, transforming them into a vibrant masterpiece.

The city was filled with colourful pottery, figurines and statues that depicted the various gods and goddesses of the Greco-Roman world, with prized possessions such as coins, keys and jewellery that have been found.


The preservation of the city has been long and arduous. Throughout history, various disasters including fire, earthquakes and theft presented a great challenge to the maintenance of the city. Despite these, the wonders of Pompeii have remained surprisingly intact through contemporary conservation and excavation efforts.

A vast amount of the Pompeiian structures have been painstakingly reconstructed and restored to their former greatness. For example, around two-thirds of the Forum has been restored and it’s an impressive sight. The ancient city is also cared for on an ongoing basis by a complex network of researchers, archaeologists, restorers and volunteers.

Health and safety is also a priority and the city is monitored throughout the year by gas sensors, volcano event forecasts and more to ensure the safety of visitors.


Pompeii is incredibly easy to access and can be visited by train, bus or even by car. Once there, you can take part in guided tours or, if you would prefer, explore at your own pace. The city is well-connected and signposted, and the Park office at the entrance offers detailed maps for visitors. The train station is conveniently located directly opposite the entrance.

Your ticket will offer you access to some of the city’s most iconic attractions such as the Villa dei Misteri, the Basilica and the Temple of Apollo, and the infamous Plaster of the Workers. The duration of your visit can last anywhere between a few hours to a full day.

Either way, no matter how long you are there, a day in Pompeii is an unforgettable experience, one that will stay with you for years to come.

Herman Shaw is a passionate traveler and avid photographer who has seen many of the world's most awe-inspiring monuments. He has developed expertise in various aspects of world architecture and culture which he enjoys sharing with his readers. With deep historical knowledge and insight, Herman's writing brings life to these remarkable artifacts and highlights their importance in the grand scheme of human history.

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